Over the weekend I put a decent amount of time into Sniper Elite 3, Rebellion’s latest foray into the realm of shooting a lot of Nazis (and Italian soldiers!) in the face and testicles in slow motion, and I have to say I’m digging it quite a bit.
I’d describe Sniper Elite 3 as a “rough diamond” of sorts. The folks at Rebellion have done a great job of making a fun stealth title and if you like sniping then this is definitely the game for you. Just be aware that there are a few hiccups that might detract from your experience.
I’ve never played a Sniper Elite game before (aside from Nazi Zombie Army 2, which got me interested in the series) so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew of the series from the x-ray kill cam, but other than that I was unfamiliar with it. I’m given to understand that v2 was a linear experience compared to the first game and 3 seems to strike a balance between linearity and open level design quite nicely.
During missions, you’re helped along ably by a lot of the standard modern stealth game tools like tagging enemies through your binoculars or having your last known position highlighted so you can outflank the soldiers trying to locate you. It also helps that the AI isn’t very diligent in their search for you, but that’s what happens when you try to make a game that promotes being stealthy: every enemy soldier has to have a very short attention span.
The real meat of Sniper Elite 3 is, of course, the sniping, although you could probably guess that for yourself. Sniping dudes is by far the most efficient way of killing, especially if you hold your breath which steadies your scope and adds a distinctive reticle that will allow you to see where your bullet will land. You can turn the frequency of the special kill-cam lower or higher depending on your preference. Personally I like to turn it up all the way to get as many x-ray kills as I can.
I rarely like sniping in any game, but the way it’s done in Sniper Elite 3 makes me feel like an incredible bad-ass. Sneaking up into a sniper nest and messing with a generator so the sound of it backfiring covers your shots while you pick off targets is very rewarding, exponentially so if almost every kill is greeted with the sight of your bullet pulverizing rib-cages and disintegrating brain matter. Yes, it’s pretty gory, but it’s so over the top and well designed that it’s an enjoyable sight. The new vehicle destruction is great too, allowing you to see just how much damage a couple .30 rounds will do to a truck’s engine. Oh, and making it blow up.
There are a couple bugs and other weird things I’ve run across, like the aforementioned dim-witted AI and the propensity the game has to chuck you over a ledge if you try to pick up a corpse that happens to be near or dangling over a precipice (this has happened to me a couple times, each time resulting in my death). There are still some of the control issues I experienced with Nazi Zombie Army 2, mostly around how my character interacts with cover. It’s not very clear when I’m “stuck” behind an object and some actions will leave you exposed with little warning (like using your binoculars) so if you’re near an enemy this can be bad news.
Those are minor gripes, though. Sniper Elite 3 has some great co-op options, ranging from Overwatch (one guy with a rifle covers a man on the ground) to your classic survival mode and campaign co-op. Campaign co-op is a lot of fun whether you’re being stealthy and playing sniper/spotter or just tearing through Nazis and throwing caution to the wind. I also have to give a little shout out to the animator or whoever that gave the main character trigger discipline when he’s sneaking around and not shooting anyone. Proper firearms safety is important!
I’d recommend Sniper Elite 3 if you’ve been on the fence.. Has anyone else played Sniper Elite 3? What did you think of it?