After suffering through Sniper Elite 3's six hour campaign, it's clear changes need to be changed to its overarching systems. Over the past few years, other series have made adjustments to their gameplay by introducing new mechanics, changing core philosophies. Much like its setting and stories, Sniper Elite is resolutely stuck in the past. Below are the titles that Rebellion should learn from for Sniper Elite 4.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
Sniper Elite 3 never knows what it wants to be. At times, it wants you to focus on stealth. Others, it will ask you to kill anything that moves. If Rebellion wants to make stealth the more important element of the game, then it could do a lot worse than looking at the latest Metal Gear Solid.
What Ground Zeroes did better than previous games in the series was drop you into an open area and tell the player to find the objective on their own. With only a brief opening cutscene to help you locate the prisoner, you have to interrogate guards and use both your tech and the environment to gather information.
Camp Omega felt more alive than any of the locations in Sniper Elite 3, resembling a large puzzle to be solved and daring the player to do it as quickly - and as cleanly - as possible. Guards that patrol larger areas and change shifts as you play make it feel all that more believable. Introducing this lets the player decide when the best time to make their move is, whether they want to get in and out unseen, or kill everyone that they can.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Modern Warfare's All Ghillied Up mission is a better sniper game than Sniper Elite 3.
Every moment was entertaining. That second you realise that you're in an exposed area, and a tank rolls over the hill in front of you. Or having to move to avoid being spotted by a soldier, but not being able to move with any pace.
Or watching a massive patrol come sauntering inches past you. Sniper Elite has none of these moments. It relies too heavily on the final shot, and leaves the rest of the level being a tedious trudge through empty environments and static guards.
The Call of Duty's of old used to give you memorable characters. While the more recent games don't do this as much, everyone still remembers Captain Price and Soap. They were never deep or meaningful, but they didn't have to be. They were catalysts to help you follow the story and make it worthwhile. Sniper Elite has a main character's name I can't remember, and a story that was about a big tank...
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
While I've gone for the latest entry in the series, any of them could apply. What I think Splinter Cell has done so well over the years is provide you with secondary weapons and equipment that's actually useful. Saying that, a snake cam and sticky camera would be a little out of place in a World War 2 shooter. But you know what I mean.
In Sniper Elite 3 you're given a selection of mines, but when I was playing, I never had to use them. Having something to cover your back when you're sniping makes logical sense, but I only ever needed to use two things in my playthrough: grenades and rocks... If a rock is more useful than a land mine, then something is very wrong with your game.
Sam Fisher's ability to climb anything he sees would also transfer across well to Sniper Elite 4. Being able to clamber over a wall or hang from a ledge has been used in many games of this sort, and feels strangely absent in Sniper Elite 3.
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
Lush, exotic environments. That's what I wanted to see after six hours of sand and stone. Setting Sniper Elite 3 in Africa has made me think Rebellion has dug itself into a bit of a hole. I appreciate that the African campaign hasn't been seen in games for years, but did it really need to come back?
I imagine Sniper Elite 4 would return to the familiar World War 2 setting, and if it wants to stay in that era then something like the Burma campaign would be a good choice. Large, open areas could still feature, and the jungle terrain allows for new mechanics. A Sniper Elite game where you're choosing your own camouflage and sneaking through thick foliage is already a better one.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
General Deathshead was a bastard. I would happily stick a bullet through any organ in that man's body. Wolfenstein: The New Order constructed this character in such a way that I truly hated him. I wanted to play through to the end just so I could get my hands on him. Press X to kill Deathshead? Happily...
Sniper Elite 3 tried to create a similar character, but failed miserably. General Vahlen only shows up in the last mission, and you don't even get to fight him. For the next game, introduce the villain at the start. Show me why I should hate him. I'm not going to want to chase him down for the entire game if I have no motivation to blow him away.