The Sniper Elite series is one of gaming’s most quiet, under-the-radar shooter franchises. It is generally underrated. With a unique slow-motion kill cam and a high focus on sniping versus run-and-gun, Sniper Elite 3 is a flower among a genre overflowing with weeds.
THERE WON’T BE SNOW IN AFRIKA
The story of Sniper Elite 3 is a bare bones plot that features Karl, a gruffly voiced American Sniper whose primary task is taking out the Afrika Korps during World War II. The United States has discovered a secret weapon being built by the Nazis. After seeing so many modern shooters take place in the near or far-off future, going back to World War II is a refreshing change of pace and I believe that we will witness this trend cycle around again. The story falls kind of flat, but the 8 missions in the campaign feature different maps that are large in scale. You aren’t focused on a linear path like most Call of Duty or Battlefield campaigns but rather you have multiple possible paths that you can choose in order to complete your objectives. Most of your main objectives result in assassinations of high ranking officials but secondary objectives can lead to a variety of things, such as stealing plans or sabotaging explosives. The scope of each mission is compelling, as each battlefield encompasses lots of barriers to hide behind and lots of winding paths.
The true star of Sniper Elite 3 is the kill cam, which is similar to its predecessor from Sniper Elite V2. A perfectly aimed shot will result in a slow motion cutscene in which your bullet is shown leaving the barrel of your riffle and its descent through your enemy’s head/chest/place body part here__________. While incredibly graphic, there are few things more satisfying than seeing the fruits of your precisely executed shot. You can also garner kill cams from hitting the ignite-point on a gas tank or barrel.
As exciting and rewarding as the kill cam is, the fun begins when you try to line up multiple enemies and eliminate them with one bullet. Though more challenging in Sniper 3, I was still able to find a few portions of the game where I could frequently line up 2 enemies and sometimes, the rare 3 enemy shot. If you go on Youtube, you can find loads of wicked kill cams. The kill cam is something that I’m surprised we don’t see in more games, however it does make sense because most games don’t place an emphasis on sniping.
The game is intended to be played via the stealthy approach. New to Sniper 3, enemies are much more aware of you. If you let a shot go in the open, they will quickly flock to your location. Sometimes you need to wait until you are hidden in a group of bushes, others you need to wait for the cover of noise, such as a horn or an explosion. If you do get spotted, you can take the run-and-gun approach, but the gameplay is not as tight and can result in a decrease in the overall quality. “Sniper” is in the title, after all.
With numerous approaches and objectives, missions can actually take a few hours to complete. Going into the campaign, I assumed I would be done in 4-5 hours, not 9-10. I like that it was stretched out, but possibly too much and made it feel slightly repetitive and tedious during flashes of my experience. I enjoyed Sniper 2’s shorter campaign and story more. Sniper 3 tends to focus on an alternative approach, shining the spotlight on more options-based objectives rather than a point a-to-point-b strategy.
The visuals and graphics seen in the game are certainly new-gen, giving that extra coat of polish. It’s definitely not the prettiest game I’ve ever seen, though 505 Games gets the job done here.
There are a few multiplayer game modes to tackle, but I don’t recommend them unless you have exhausted the campaign. The DLC for the game is the same exact premise as Sniper 2’s and that is fine with me – kill Adolf Hitler. Remember what I said about satisfaction? Putting a bullet through one of history’s worst villains is the cream of the crop.
Sniper Elite 3 is not for everyone. Some serious skill is needed, especially on the harder modes. You might be good in the world of Call of Duty online, but I implore you to try Sniper. It is a totally different mindset, one that includes precision, stealth, and a whole lot of patience. Sniper can be frustrating at times, however rewarding if you stick with it.
Sniper Elite 3 is a solid entry in the franchise and I hope it provides the gateway to a 4th game. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. If nothing else, you could enjoy the change of pace.
+ Kill-cam is as satisfying as ever.
+ Tight shooting mechanics while sniping.
+ Varied level design and large maps give the player multiple ways to complete their objectives.
– Campaign is a touch too long.
– Poor handling during run-and-gun shootouts.
– Lackluster story is shallow.
What is a hindsight review? It’s an article in which a Geekiverse writer reviews a game that they have never played before and is outside its launch window. It offers a fresh perspective and shows which games in your backlog are worth playing through.
Sniper Elite 3 was reviewed on the Xbox One. It is also available for Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, and PC.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s Senior Editor. You can catch him sniping on Playstation 4 and Xbox One via JosiahIsLegend.
<sources: xboxlive.com & game-debate.com>