Welcome to Best of Xbox Game Pass where each week I’m going to pick out a game available on Game Pass and explain why I think it is worth playing. While I’ll certainly include some of the bigger titles available on the service, I’ll focus more on other games that you might have overlooked in the hope of leading you to a hidden gem
Look, I’m like 60% certain that I’m not a psychopath with a lust for extreme violence, but I also can’t die that something about brutal X-ray views of innards becoming outtards and spleens being exploded gives me a warm, tingly sensation. It’s for that reason that the manic action of the new Mortal Kombat games is so engaging to me, and it’s at least partially why this week I’m recommending to you Sniper Elite 4, a game that delivers glorious slot-motion shots of bullets obliterating testicles and intestines alike. But, y’know, the rest of the game is pretty good, too.
You’re a sniper named Karl Fairbourne and the fact that Karl has been in three previous adventures doesn’t matter one bit. Sniper Elite is not about story and I couldn’t even begin to tell you what the first three games were about despite having played them all. What I can tell you is this one takes place in luscious Italy and features reasonably open levels in which to ply your long-range trade of delivering small metal objects into squishy objects at high velocity. How easy or realistic you want the act of sniping to be is up to you, as is whether you’d like to see the slow-motion X-ray shots of your bullets reducing Nazi muscles and bone into mush. Regardless of those choices the act of picking off foes from a distance is satisfying and fun, as is timing your shots to a misfiring engine or a plane flying overhead.
As a sniper, there’s a natural encouragement to be stealthy and while the sneaking in Sniper Elite 4 isn’t anything special it is enjoyable. The A.I. are fairly stupid, so you get to feel pretty awesome while bumbling around the cool locations and laying down traps. Of course, you can just whip out an MP40 and pretend to be Rambo for a while. The cover based shooting is the game’s weakest point so I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you absolutely have to, which you will because inevitably you’ll slip up or get cocky, but it isn’t so bad as to be a chore.
Really, this is the kind of game for people who just like to mess about and have fun. It’s a good laugh to abuse the poor A.I. perhaps gunning down a Nazi from hundreds of meters away to draw their attention and then sneak around behind them while they’re all still looking at the source of the noise. You can lure them into your traps, tackle the various objectives in whatever order you fancy or focus on ghosting the whole level like Agent 47 with a bit more hair.
Or you could fire up the co-op. Everything is better with friends (assuming you have those) and since Sniper Elite 4 is on Game Pass it’s reasonably easy to convince a fellow fool to tag along. There’s competitive modes and a Horde-style mode, too, but the real co-op gem is the campaign. There’s no specific co-op mechanics and you’ll want to ramp up the difficulty, but the maps are big enough to support two people running around and the multiple objectives mean you can split-up to handle everything or stick together and just have some fun by trying to sync up your shots to obliterate someone’s testicles and their head at the same time. And let’s be clear here, shooting a Nazi in the balls is like 50% of Sniper Elite 4’s appeal.
And if you maybe want a few more players tagging along with you and the idea of shooting Zombies instead of Nazis sounds good then you could go with Zombie Army 4 which uses the same mechanics as Sniper Elite 4 but has…well, Zombies. Obviously. It’s one Game Pass, too, and is a fun spin-off of the mainline series, even if the actual patient sniping takes more of a backseat.
So go grab a friend and enjoy some sniping. You’ve earned it. And if you need some more convincing, here’s my full review of Sniper Elite 4.