Thursday 22 June 2017

Games: Sniping saga hits the target

Sniper Elite 4, (XO/PS4/PC), 5 Stars, Age: 18+

Sniper Elite 4
Sniper Elite 4
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Uncomfortable truth as it may be, killing forms the core of much videogame entertainment. But few fetishise it to the same degree as Sniper Elite and its notorious kill-cam.

SE4 persists with this half-amusing, half-disturbing USP, a vignette played out each time you assassinate a Nazi from afar with a sniper's bullet. The camera lovingly follows the trajectory of the projectile before switching to X-ray mode as the slug crashes home, shattering bones, piercing organs and severing arteries.

Yet there's far more to SE4 than the forensic, clinical money shot. Following a US sniper on secret missions criss-crossing 1943 Italy under Hitler's jackboot, this fourth instalment has been emboldened by the leap to new consoles. Satisfyingly diverse levels, from a bayside village to a hillside monastery, teem with objectives and thrum with activity.

The name of the game remains a relentless parade of Nazi assassinations, but SE4 smartly broadens your move-set, such that your sniper is far more agile than of yore. Creeping stealth forms the spine of the game but your options for taking out the enemy range from rifles to mines to knives.

When it all goes to hell, as inevitably it will, even going loud with a machine-gun delivers gratifying gunplay.

Sniper Elite 4 breaks little new ground but, barring some graphical glitches, it's a slickly assembled package that constantly whets the appetite for just one more killing. Oh dear, what have we become?

For Honor

(XO/PS4/PC), 4 Stars,  Age: 18+

There's precious little room for subtlety in For Honor, a sword-fighting brawler. Or so it first appears anyway. A campaign mode that teaches you the basics hardly scratches the surface of this slash-em-up, in which every beat of the story is answered by a swing from a pointy weapon.

Put in the hard yards of learning, however, and For Honor's multiplayer springs to life, a marvellous medieval stew of beautifully animated fighters, dangerous blades and weighty combat.

Whether its 1-v-1, 2-v-2 or 4-v-4, multiplayer lifts the combat out of the stodgy torpor experienced in the campaign. One on one feels best, the most frantic battles having a Street Fighter-style ebb and flow.

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