Sniper Elite 3 Review
In essence, Sniper Elite 3 sets a strong example for other games, particularly those franchises that churn out a derivative sequel year after year.
What Rebellion has done with Sniper Elite 3 is turn a floundering, forgettable series with an awesome gimmick into a strong, unique experience.
The vast improvements that Rebellion has orchestrated when making Sniper Elite 3 correlate directly with all of the things that made Sniper Elite V2 something of a disappointment back in 2012, with its linear level design and its inconsistent combat formula.
Improvements In Sniper Elite 3
Now we see corridor-type levels on the Western front replaced by sprawling maps set in northern Africa. They are well designed, with multiple routes and hidden pathways becoming as much of a weapon as the rifle in your hands.
It’s nothing to write home about in terms of graphics (considering other stunning examples available on PS4), but draw distances and minute details hold up well under the baking sun of the African continent.
With Sniper Elite 3, Rebellion has taken great care in implementing far stronger shooting mechanics; both when sniping and when running riot with a Panzerschreck.
Everything just feels far tighter, with the use of sub-machine guns and pistols no longer feeling like you’re wielding a garden hose and bullet physics playing a large part in every long-range shot you fire.
As before, Sniper Elite 3 has a unique approach to shooting people with a big gun, as most kill shots will initiate a gruesome, yet perpetually satisfying killcam that shows the round entering whomever it has been fired at in sickening detail.
An X-ray style cross section of your hapless victim reveals the internal damage being done by the bullet, everything from a headshot to a testicle shot earning you bonus XP for the kill.
It’s very much a guilty pleasure, sure, but being presented with the fruits of your labour in such a way does give the game a boost, pulling it away from the mundanity that can be found in this genre at times.
It’s worth mentioning that testicle shots are very much as horrible as they sound.
Levelling Up In Sniper Elite 3
And speaking of XP, Sniper Elite 3 implements a levelling-up system that sees you unlock different weapons and items throughout your playthrough.
It’s a basic system, but certainly not superfluous. XP is awarded for kills, with extra points dished out for those who prefer a more considered brand of murder.
This ties neatly into the stealth mechanics in Sniper Elite 3, which, for the most part, function very well.
Although sneaking was a part of its predecessor, in Sniper Elite 3 taking your time to remain in the shadows and relocating after firing any unsuppressed shots is key to success and is heavily rewarded in the XP you earn.
It makes a nice change, and further adds to the more open nature of the game.
Relocation – wherein you are required to change position regularly to avoid being discovered and overwhelmed – is a huge part of Sniper Elite 3, and functions as quite an elegant system overall.
There were still a few instances where we were unable to counteract the enemy’s alerted status due to slightly wonky AI, but they rarely spoiled our experience.
Sniper Elite 3 Review
Overall, though, we did find that by the end of our sub eight-hour playthrough we were very much doing the same thing over and over again – sneak, shoot, relocate, rinse and repeat.
Whether this is through laziness and incompetence on our part or poor design on Rebellion’s part is hard to tell, but proceedings really started to stagnate towards the end.
Nine times out of ten stealth was the only true option available as it proffers you more XP and generally makes things easier.
Eight hours of sneaking around in the desert completing the same steal this document, sabotage this generator, shoot this nasty prick objectives began to wear thin, and it’ll be a while before we jump back into the single-player component.
We were also disappointed – though unsurprised – to discover a fair few bugs in the game, although none of them were game breaking.
Shooting someone in the knackers caused all sorts of model problems, with limbs wobbling all over the place and the victim’s body flying about ten feet in the air. That said, maybe that’s what really happens…
Still, Sniper Elite 3 provides a fun and rather unique experience.
If a sequel were to appear in the next few years, then by building upon the drastic improvements that have already been made and just spending a little more time on diversifying mission types then this franchise could be a force to be reckoned with.
Version tested: PS4