Karl Fairburne must be the most hated man in the entirety of Nazi Germany. In the company of the husky-voiced American sniper we've killed Hitler (more than once), taken out countless soldiers, blown up vehicles galore, and watched more x-ray killcams than we care to remember. This is an unapologetically violent game that revels in the act of murder, to a degree that some people no doubt find obscene, but it's also a series that has been steadily improving over time, with Rebellion refining the long-range-stealth formula with each new iteration.
Perhaps in spite of the graphic violence, we enjoyed the base game plenty. Thanks largely to the mix of expansive campaign maps, co-op missions, and fun multiplayer modes, it was the most well-rounded and polished entry in the series to date. Now we've returned to scope it out for a second time following the conclusion of the Season Pass, to consider this third-person shooter as a whole now that it's content complete, and sum up the value that has been added across the new mini-campaign.
On top of a new three mission story there's also the small matter of the one-time pre-order incentive, Target: Fuhrer, which lets you put a bullet between the eyes of one of history's most notorious villains. Set on the most southern of European islands, Crete, you must sneak into a heavily fortified base to take out its resident commander, only to find that Hitler is there and he has done the job for you. At least he was kind enough to provide us with a new target.
In general terms, the four maps carry on in the same vein as the rest of the game. They're big, there are lots of ways to move around, they're full of different enemy types, and there are multiple objectives that can be satisfied as you move through every sandbox. The Deathstorm campaign starts in a naval base, takes us to an Italian town full of twisting streets, before ending up in a provincial German village where we squared up against the latest dastardly threat cooked up by the Nazis to take down the Allies. It offers a ridiculous plot if you stop to think about it long enough, so perhaps it's best that you don't and just get on with the task at hand.
As mentioned, there are multiple objectives to be found in each mission, elongating each level considerably if you take care of them all. Some of them can be a little fiddly or vague, for example in the second mission we struggled to find one objective despite searching the area for a considerable period of time. We got there eventually, but it wasn't the only time we felt it took too long to find an objective, incentivising us to play more aggressively as stealth can be so painstaking. In the same level, which otherwise was very interesting thanks to the mixture of environments that it offered, there was also a noticeable lack of polish in places, with flickering textures catching the eye on several occasions.
All of the maps offer potential long-range shots for those looking to enjoy the game's impressive bullet physics, but the terrain also ensures plenty of opportunity for players looking to get a bit closer to the enemy. You've once again got an extensive bag of tricks at your disposal, with traps, explosives, and different ammo types ensuring player choice as you advance. Certain areas did feel over-populated, making stealth much more challenging and encouraging an aggressive playstyle, but the range of routes elsewhere did keep things fresh and ensured potential replayability for those thinking of going back and playing the new maps again in co-op. While overall the new three-mission campaign didn't feel quite as polished as the levels from the base game, otherwise they were all decent, each one offering something distinct from the last, strung together as they were by a slightly flimsy plot that at the very least incentivises you to push forward until the end.
What is a concern, though, is the pricing of the season pass. The mini-campaign and the Target: Fuhrer mission (unless you grabbed the latter as a pre-order bonus, in which case you already have it, further diluting the value proposition) combine to make four new missions, but together they come to the princely sum of £30. There are some new weapons, and a handful of new playable characters to use in co-op and multiplayer, but in terms of new missions, there are but four. It should be noted that since the game launched earlier this year, Rebellion has been adding free content for all players, in particular, new multiplayer maps (whether you can get a well-populated match is a different matter, and often comes down to timing), so the game has grown beyond the new content included herein.
The hardest of the hardcore will no doubt like the new tactical options opened up by the new weapons, maybe even the new character skins, but many players thinking about picking up this season pass will be more interested in the new missions, and on this front Rebellion hasn't really delivered. At half the price then maybe we'd be singing a different tune, but right now, despite the fact that the new three-part campaign is solid and the Target: Fuhrer mission is a welcome addition for those that don't already have it, it's not a clear cut recommendation. If you're a fully invested Sniper Elite 4 player then it's worth picking up (it might help you get all the way up to level 250, after all), otherwise maybe consider pulling the trigger when the price has come down a notch.
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