With a new era of gaming brought to us by the fantastic machines bestowed upon us by two of the biggest gaming corporations on the planet, we are able to be even more immersed into video games thanks to enhanced graphics and game-play we once never thought possible. Developers Rebellion have created Sniper Elite 3, a third person shooter published by 505 Games which is the successor to Sniper Elite V2 which was a strong competitor in the market as it was a decent game however it was heavily criticized for its dumb AI. Sniper Elite 3 promises to fix that as well as bring new features and an enhanced version of the famous X-Ray killcam.
The Axis forces have took to the desert lands of North Africa to research and produce a super weapon to help them turn the tides of World War 2 in their favour. You are American Office of Strategic Service Officer Karl Fairburne, a professional sniper brought in to find out what the Germans are up to. Most missions are sole missions requiring Karl to go in on his own as he utilizes stealth to dispatch his enemies and cunning to achieve his goals. The pacing of the story is just right however Karl has the personality of an ironing board. That said though, it doesn’t ruin the narrative which is surprisingly intriguing and makes you want to play on as the German secrets are slowly uncovered. Karl simply tells the story as he backdrops the games cut scenes which are nicely designed and moves the story along nicely.
The game-play has been tweaked from Sniper Elite V2 significantly. Levels are more open giving Sniper Elite 3 a feeling similar to playing a Hitman game as you are given an objective and it’s up to you on how you complete it. This level of freedom keeps you thinking with engines to sabotage to help mask your shots. Once again your sniper rifle is your best friend however you can have a sidearm and a sub-machine gun to help you in tough, hectic situations and close encounters. You can set traps using trip wire explosives, dynamite and land mines as well as anti-tank mines to help with the heavier armoured enemy variety.
Stealth has been reworked with a squinting eye symbol at the bottom of the screen displaying how well hidden you are, this will become your most reliable source for survival in missions as it shows whether you can be easily seen or not. I found the enemies are smarter this time around as even though i was pretty well hidden in long grass and plants, i was still able to be spotted by a patrolling soldier, i couldn’t decide whether this was smarter enemies or a faulty stealth mechanic. Being seen causes enemies in the immediate area to come looking for you as a white outline shows your last position and where the enemies are coming to; this feels ripped straight from the latest Splinter Cell games. Sniping is the name of the game however as sounds which mask your shots are displayed by a pulsating symbol at the top of the screen. This means you can snipe without worrying about being heard. Successful shots enable the infamous returning bullet cam seen in V2. It also has been improved with not only the internal damage made at the point of impact being shown but now the internal organs can now be destroyed and you are awarded more point depending on which body part you hit. This makes sniping satisfying and it feels good every time you strike the heart however after two or three missions of this, it becomes a bit cumbersome with you finding yourself skipping them more and more often.
Online multiplayer comes in the form or traditional Team Death match and Free for All and also sniper friendly Distance varieties like Distance King and No Cross which players only get points for kills from afar with maps that cater for this as they are impressively large and filled with hiding places. There are also Co-op challenges like Overwatch which requires one player to spot and tag and the other to pick off. These modes are much more rewarding and play nice and smooth with next to no lag.
Sniper Elite 3 looks nice and bright with sunny Africa beautifully rendered. Environments are sharply detailed and the kill cams are awesome to watch as your bullet shatters ribs, livers, kidneys and hearts. Some missions require destroying equipment, buildings or vehicles; the ensuing explosions look amazingly realistic and certainly carry force as nearby enemies fly in all directions. Some graphical glitches i encountered however, once i died and reloaded my last save only to find an enemy floating up in the air to what seemed like forever and on more than one occasion, a soldier spotted me but the circular icon which displays their suspicion status never appeared enabling an easy dispatch.
Sniper Elite 3 is a great game with huge wide open levels which are also nicely designed and rendered, good stealth mechanics, satisfying kills thanks to the morbidly brilliant X ray kill cams and an intricate storyline. The bland protagonist, a few graphical glitches and some gameplay ticks do nothing to hinder the experience this game offers. A fabulous entry in the next gen library.
Story - 4/5
Graphics - 4/5
Gameplay - 5/5
Overall - 4/5
Version reviewed - PlayStation 4