Sniper Elite 3 Review
Reviewed on PS4 Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 Developer : Rebellion Publisher : 505 Games
Shooting someone in the head is a common occurrence in modern day video games, and Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series is synonymous with doing just that, but has the third installment, and Sniper Elites first foray into the new generation of consoles expanded on the tried and tested formulae you may ask. In short it yes it has, but not without it shortcomings.
Following on from the somewhat cult hit in Sniper Elite V2, which was available free on Steam not so long ago, left Rebellion with a pretty tricky task, but it’s one that they have took to well. The narrative is a basic one, you take on the role of Karl Fairburne, who in your capable hands, will almost single handedly take on the Nazi forces based in Northern Africa, on the hunt for a Nazi super weapon. That’s pretty much all you have to go on, and to be honest, this is one type of game where you really don’t need to get any further information, the game is about being alone, and using your wits to take out enemy areas against the odds, in a way, how you play the game gives you your own unique narrative.
Each mission you get sent on, and you will find 8 in total here, has set waypoints that it wants you to achieve, but quite how you get to each one is your own choice. Whilst not open world by any stretch of the imagination, the areas you get dropped in are vast, and there are a whole host of different directions and methods that you can take on as you hunt your target. As with most stealth based games, there is a certain amount of trial and error in each mission, and it can take a few tries for you to achieve your optimum path, fortunately the ability to save regularly is available, and should be used when you can.
There is obviously a heavy influence on areas to use your sniper rifle throughout each mission as you would expect from a Sniper Elite game, with snipers’ nests aplenty as well as many ways of covering the noise of your shots as you go about taking each enemy out one by one. Sniping isn’t the only method at your arsenal though, knife kills, grenades and your side arms are also efficient methods of taking enemies out in certain circumstances, but ammunition for your other weapons is limited and this helps you to concentrate on finding the right area and taking that perfect shot. This also helps deflect away from one of the games deficiencies, which is unfortunately the general gun play in the game. Sniping is the star of the show, and each shot you take feels right (more on that later), but should you need to use your silenced pistol, or if your best laid plans go awry and you need to pull out your machine gun, and everything starts to feel a bit floaty. This is a shame, because there are parts of each mission where using your sniper rifle just isn’t the best option, and it would have been nice to feel some more response from your handgun or other weapons, there just isn’t the level of care in this part of the game than there is in the sniping section.
But lets not take away from the sniping. If you have ever played a Sniper Elite game before, you will know what to expect when you pull off a kill. The camera angle switches, and starts following the path of your well placed bullet, utilizing slow motion to emphasise its journey as it hurtles towards the unsuspecting victim. And the boom, as the bullet approaches the poor bloke, you get an x ray view of their insides, and the bullet as it smashes through wherever you placed it. Skulls explode, intestines are torn about, testicles turn to mush, yup however you want to take out your man is up to you, but the end results are always graphically and gorily satisfying. At one point I lined up a double kill, one Nazi bloke standing up, another tending a fire and kneeling down, unluckily for both, but probably more for the guy standing, the shot lined up perfectly, and testicle was followed by head as my bullet ripped through them. Initially, it might start to tire, every shot turning to slow motion, but that’s because you’ll be aiming solely for the head, trying to be a crack shot in the way that you think you should, but as soon as you start experimenting with body parts, you’ll think yourself foolish for ever doubting the kill cam.
But not everything is all rosey. Along with the slightly loose general gun play, the AI suffers occasionally. Too often I bodged a shot, and started panicking that the Nazi search party would find me and ruin my fun, only to watch them run into walls, or get really close to where I was, and then stop and turn around, completely ignoring the bodies that they were looking so desperately for in the first place. It makes the game a little bit too easy, find a good enough hiding spot, and you can mess up, and then watch the AI look for a short while before just returning back to what they were doing. I appreciate it’s a game, but when so much effort has been put into making the maps so expansive, it wouldn’t have harmed to have the AI work a little harder. There are also some graphical disappointments here as well, the main game looks good enough, not jaw droppingly beautiful, but not awful, but it’s a little disheartening to have made the perfect shot, watch the bullet destroy the enemies skull and then walk past the character model later on to see the body, dead on the ground, but without so much as a scratch on his face. That and there is a terrible amount of clipping, with bodies falling clumsily through walls, and I lost count of the amount of Nazi bodies that must have been full of helium, as the floated above steps, or off the edges of buildings.
Rebellion have also added a few multiplayer modes for those that want to take their sniping skills with them online. Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are present as you would expect, as are Distance King, which as you’d expect rates your shot on the distance it went over, and deals points out accordingly, and No-Cross which essentially forces snipers only, with a safe zone in between enemy areas effectively forcing you to stick to your side and deal with the distance. There have been some matchmaking bugs, and this makes it difficult to get games, but there are bulletins ensuring it’s being worked on, and all the modes act as a decent diversion from the rest of the game, but it’s not going to be nor is it trying to be the meat of this meal.
Rebellion have a good solid game with Sniper Elite 3, and although it has its problems, both with AI and graphically, they shouldn’t take away from the core mechanics of the game which are sound. If you want to have the best example of a sniping game to date, and want to be able to see the benefits of all your hard work in making and taking the shots, then this is definitely worth a go.