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Previous sniper games have struggled with cramming the tension of sniping into the traditional mechanics of frenetic first person shooters. Does Sniper Elite 3 get it right?

Posted by Staff on Jul 6, 2014 16:04 (16 days ago)

Written by: Ian
Right on target?
Previous sniper games have struggled with cramming the tension of sniping into the traditional mechanics of frenetic first person shooters. Does "Sniper Elite 3" get it right?
Rebellion have obviously had a few bites of the cherry previously, and have promised much larger levels, choosing your own way to progress, and making a game that also works as a competent shooter.
Sniping has never been my favourite part of shooters, but that’s mainly because the mechanics have been disappointing – can Rebellion finally get the mix right?
In Sniper Elite, you (perhaps unsurprisingly) take on the role of an elite sniper, Karl Fairburne. This time, the action is focused squarely on the African conflict of World War Two, where Montgomery took on Rommel, the Desert Fox.
Despite taking the unusual approach (albeit almost refreshing, given the wild, globe-trotting plots of other shooters) of a single setting, Rebellion have managed to craft a tight tale that has plenty of variety, with the eight standard missions taking place over several large areas, including night missions, sneaking into buildings as well as the more traditional sniper nest sections.
Sniper Elite 3 XO screenshot #1
Sniper Elite manages to pull together the setting very well, creating a cohesive campaign that has a decent amount of replayability. I wouldn’t describe the game as an out-and-out stealth game, because arousing suspicion doesn’t always lead to you failing. You can carry a machine gun, and are competent at using it.
Obviously, going up against large groups, or playing like it’s Call of Duty will lead to a swift demise, but that’s a start. It’s also not a puzzle game, because you can choose your route through the level, chose the position to snipe in, and take on many objectives in whichever order suits you. It’s a welcome change from the many linear sniper games of the past. But at the same time, it is a game that encourages you to be quiet and to take your time. If you find your way to a place where you can mask your shots through noise, or make an explosion look like an accident, then you can unlock more achievements and get bonus XP, making these things worthwhile. A nice touch is that many of the secondary objectives don’t even show up until you stumble across them or find some collectable with vital evidence.
When you are shooting, there’s a variety of difficulty levels, which go right from having no bullet ballistics whatsoever, right down to a pretty accurate simulation of bullet drop etc. And when you make a kill, you’re often rewarded with the ‘bullet cam’, whereby you see a sickening slow-mo of which organs and bones the bullet destroys from an internal perspective. The animation here is fantastic, with teeth shattering, eyes exploding and kidneys bursting (the list goes on), and it’s something that takes a while to get bored of, given the sheer variety of shots you can line up. It’s certainly very satisfying.
Sniper Elite 3 XO screenshot #2
8 missions doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but the levels are genuinely expansive, and unless you’re really running and gunning, most will take an hour or two to crawl through, giving you a pretty generous amount of content, especially when one takes into account that there are multiple paths through and all the optional objectives and collectibles to pick up for the completionists out there.
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Sniper Elite 3
Xbox One

ESRB - Mature 17+: Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
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PlayStation 4
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Sniper Elite 3
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