Sniper Elite 4 Beginner's Guide: 10 Things to Know Before You Start
Sniper Elite 4 is the most refined, mechanically sound entry in Rebellion's long-running sniper-sim series. It's also one of the most complex entries in the series: key mechanics are more robust, roving enemies are smarter, and maps are (much) bigger.
It's not just about sniping anymore. If you want to survive World War II and make it out of Italy alive, you're going to have scout, sneak, and slay your way through SE4's eight missions. But before you start your tour of duty, there's some intel you should have.
So gear up soldier. Here are our 10 things to know about Sniper Elite 4 before you start.
1. Hone Your Skills on the Shooting Range
Like any soldier running off to war in some unknown land, it's best to get in some basic training before you ship out. That's where the shooting range comes into play for SE4 -- it gets you up to speed with all the game's core mechanics and helps you learn in a (semi) relaxed environment. You won't have enemies shooting at you, but you will have to contend with moving targets and targets on timers.
Whether you want to better understand windage and bullet drop, test out your submachine gun, or get a few head shots in with your pistol, there are three separate ranges where you can do all of that. What's more, you're also graded on your performance for each range (bronze, silver, and gold).
Doing well and achieving a high score on each range gives you ribbons and experience points, that latter of which helps you rank up and unlock more branches of your skill tree.
2. Pay Attention to Your Load-Out
Although it's debatable if any one weapon is better than another on SE4's lower difficulty settings, it's clear that your loadout matters for the balls-hard "Authentic" mode, which incorporates real bullet physics, realistic magazine sizes, and more. Keeping that in mind, you'll definitely want to get used to checking your loadout before each mission, if you're playing that mode.
However, if you're not a masochist, your loadout is still important because it's where you upgrade your weaponry. Whether you're looking for more accuracy for your Thompson machine gun or increased muzzle velocity on your Carcano M91/41 sniper rifle, your loadout is where you'll look to find what in-game feats you have to perform to get those coveted upgrades and new skins for your weapons.
What's more, alongside nifty (and super helpful) upgrade and skin progress trackers, you can also buy new weapons and supplies in your loadout. Depending on your playstyle, you may want to take along suppressed rifle ammo to help silence your shots, or you may want to take extra bandages and medikits if you know you're probably going to get shot a lot.
3. Use Your Binoculars -- Copiously
Binoculars are a soldier's best friend, especially a sniper behind enemy lines. And unlike some games where binoculars are simply getting an up-close look of both your enemies and the terrain, Sniper Elite 4's binoculars serve a greater purpose: they help you truly learn about your enemy before you engage them.
There's a big difference in AI tendencies between a Jager trooper and a regular Nazi foot soldier. By scanning enemies, you're able to tell what weapons they're carrying, if they're nervous or calm (which affects their patrols routes and belligerence), what items they're carrying (such as medikits), and even if they've got family back home.
Additionally, you can use your binoculars to tag enemies and environmental objects, helping you easily pick them out in a bind or follow them through the map. The latter is especially helpful because once enemies are highlighted, you're able to follow their white silhouettes as they move about, even behind buildings, doors, and walls.
Unfortunately, and as you may have already guessed, tagging enemies doesn't work in "Authentic" mode -- because reality.
Sniper Elite 4 is a game of stealth and subterfuge, but realistically, there are times when shit hits the fan. It's inevitable. However, the more you stay in the shadows, the better off your SE4 experience is going to be. The game just isn't built for running and gunning.
Instead, use the environment to help you stay hidden as much as possible. Hide in bushes, crawl along walls, and shoot out bright lights. Create distractions and sneak by unsuspecting (albeit nervous) Nazi soldiers by blowing up generators or trucks -- or even by throwing rocks or using a whistle. The possibilities and methods of approach are nearly endless, only bound by your awareness and your imagination.
5. Plan Your Approach
Sniper Elite 4's biggest map is three times as big as the largest Sniper Elite 3 map. That means that while you can go about completing your objectives in any order you'd like, doing so may take you much longer than necessary. Consequently, planning your route through each of SE4's gigantic "open world maps" is right up there with being stealthy.
Before each mission, pull up your map to get a lay of the land. You'll be able to see your objectives and the terrain that lies in your way, making sure to account for wide open fields, cramped city streets, or a single point of entry that's sure to be heavily guarded.
Also keep in mind that you can hover over each objective on the map and get a rundown of what you're looking for in that region. You'll also be able to find out how far away that objective is from your current position, while also having the ability to track that particular objective until you've completed it.
Again, as with many other Sniper Elite 4's systems, you're not able to take advantage of the aforementioned feature in the game's "Authentic" mode. There, your map acts only as a traditional map, showing you the lay of the land.
Nazis are smarter than ever before in Sniper Elite 4. In SE3, Rebellion upgraded their fascist AI to make them more cunning and ruthless. But here, in SE4, these mobs are cut from a different cloth.
Sure, on the easiest difficulty setting, Nazi soldiers are mindless automatons that can't tell up from right, but raise the difficulty even one level and it becomes apparent that the new triangulation feature allows soldiers to find you really (really) quickly.
To avoid easy detection and a firefight, make sure that each of your shots is masked or that you move positions after each kill. If you move, make sure it is a good distance away from your previous shot -- you can't just move 20-30 feet and expect the AI to be clueless.
Make sure to keep an eye on your radar.
- If a yellow ring appears around your radar and the white dots representing soldiers also turn yellow, that means those specific soldiers (those colored yellow) are actively searching for you in the immediate area, but don't know your exact location.
- If a red ring appears around your radar and the white (or yellow) dots representing soldiers also turn red, that means your cover has been blown and those specific soldiers know your exact location.
- A red triangle will also appear around the player's icon on the radar. As long as this triangle remains on the player's icon, Nazi soldiers know the player's position. If that triangle moves off of the player's icon on the radar, that means those soldiers have lost sight of the player and will investigate his last known location.
7. Be a Modern Day Ezio Auditore
Sniper Elite 4 has brand new traversals to help you sneak and assassinate better than ever before. You're able to jump gaps, hang from walls, shimmy alongside buildings, and more. That also means you've got plenty of options for taking soldiers down outside of sniping.
Take advantage of this to score some truly brutal silent kills. These kills not only help you conserve ammunition, but they also net you some pretty solid experience points.
Pro tip: If you're sneaking up behind a soldier and he sees you, run directly at him and initiate a melee kill before he raises his gun. This automatically resets suspicion and cover -- unless another soldier also sees you.
8. Don't Leave Bodies Lying Around
Keep suspicion low by hiding bodies in bushes, throwing them in the ocean, or storing them in anywhere else out of sight. When a soldier sees a body, suspicion is automatically raised and enemies begin to search the immediate area. If you're going full stealth commando, this is one of the first things you're going to want to take care of.
However, a fun trick is to booby trap bodies. This can be fun and efficient. Strap some TNT on a body or place mine underneath it and leave it for others to find -- then blow it sky high.
But before you do hide a body, make sure to search it for important items and documents. Scavenging is a big part of Sniper Elite 4's meta game. Without searching bodies, you'll most likely run out of ammunition, bandages, mines, and other useful items.
Secondly, you'll also come across collectibles, like "Last Letters" and other "Miscellaneous Documents." But one of the best reasons to loot bodies, specifically officers, is to find "Duty Rosters." These have the locations of all the soldiers in a particular area, and immediately tag everyone for easy snipping.
You can also find safe codes on officers. This keeps you from having to rouse attention by blasting safes open with satchel charges.
10. Mask Your Sound
Some maps in SE4 have environmental objects or vehicles that create loud sounds. These will mask your shots, making it difficult for soldiers to triangulate your position. But that's not it. There are also ways to create sound if you need to, like sabotaging a generator to mask sniper fire.
You'll know when your sound is masked when a white, pulsating sound meter appears at the top of your screen (shown above). Fire then to stay hidden.
Being the world's deadliest sniper isn't a walk in the park. It's dangerous business. But with these tips, you'll have the drop on Italy's unwelcome guests -- and on step closer to bringing World War II to and end.
Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more guides on Sniper Elite 4.