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Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition review
Boom, headshot! Recently I got a chance to take a look Rebellion Development’s Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edtion. The game is the third title in the franchise, complete with all the DLC missions and extra weapons included. Having played Sniper Elite V2, I was interested to see how the developer improved on some of the aspects of the game that I thought didn’t work well on a game that is supposed to focus on you being a sniper. In the previous titles, I felt the game was too much of a typical war shooter when it should be a game about stealth. There have been more than enough reality TV shows and movies that have shown that being a sniper is all about stealth and waiting for the opportune moment for that perfect kill. I am glad to say that it seems that Rebellion has gotten the memo.
Sniper Elite 3 is actually a prequel to the second game and focuses on the African Front of World War 2. Returning is series protagonist and all-American hero Karl Fishburne. As Karl you must traverse the jungles and deserts of Africa to aid of the Allied Forces in their war against the Axis Powers. In Sniper Elite 3 players get to hunt down generals and officers as well as intercept key intel and battle Tiger Tanks with an assortment of different weapons.
Sniper rifles this time around come with a whole list of customization options. Players will be able to unlock new rifles and find new parts during the course of a missions. These new parts can be used to improve certain aspects of the rifle like range, sway and damage. Prior to embarking on missions, you will be allowed to completely customized your loadouts with submachine guns, pistols, med kits, badges, grenades and cluster bomb. All of these items can be found throughout the map, but certain mission may call for items to be used more than others. So strategic planning is crucial.
The maps and mission are laid out in a more sandbox manner, where players can choose different ways to approach the missions. With stealth now being key element to the game, you will more often than not find yourself crouching and using your binoculars to look ahead to identify enemies. Binoculars are essential to find key targets and predict soldier movements. Knowing a soldier’s route will allow you to setup mines and tripwires, but the best weapon in the game aside from the sniper rifle is the silenced Welrod pistol. I probably killed more enemies with my silenced pistol and any other weapon in the game. I’m not entirely sure why the game even allows you the option to use shotguns or submachine guns, as they are unsilenced and will get you noticed by enemies immediately, and the weapons themselves are not the most accurate. The few times I did use them I usually immediately regretted it and swore to never use them again.
Positioning is also another key element to gameplay. As a sniper, the position of where you shoot from is very important to your shot. With the sandbox-like environment, there were a few times that I found out I was in the wrong area to be shooting from. This is why it is crucial to listen to the intro before the match begins. The narrator will give you key details of the layout of the map and where it would be best to shoot from. There are sniper nests that you can find in the maps, but sometime these are not the best location to shoot from. Being able to mask you shot is important aspect of using a sniper rifle. You can usually find generator that can be sabotaged or use artillery fire to hide your shot. Sometimes even the planes that fly over head can cause enough noise to mask a quick kill.
As for the sniper shots themselves, they are no different than the previous games. A well placed shot will reward in a gruesome x-ray kill screen and even better one can kill more than one target. Battling tanks is interesting. Players must now break through the tanks protective haul before their bullets can reach the gas tank. The only thing I dislike about this is after the first initial shot, the tank will automatically know you position. This is a problem that I had with the game’s A.I. and it is not just the tank, but the soldiers as well. About the only problem I had gameplay wise was with how dumb down the A.I. was. For example, if you killed an enemy, his fellow comrade would discover his body, do a small search and then afterwards completely forget about the whole thing.
Aside from killing people there is little to no story in Sniper Elite 3. Ultimate Edition comes with extra missions where you are supposed to stop the plot to assassinate Winston Churchill, but it is less than memorable. There is one part of the game where you meet a Brauer, a fellow sniper from the British Army. After rescuing him from the Nazis, the two soldiers form a friendship and Brauer even assist you in the next mission. Aside from this, there is not much going on in the game storywise besides the war. This can also be particularly boring during some parts game where you are only sneaking around and there is little to no dialogue being spoken. It may not be historically accurate, but I feel like the game would greatly benefit from someone talking in Karl’s ear from headquarters as it would help with a lot of the dead air in the game.
Aside from the main campaign, Sniper Elite 3 is the first in the franchise to try its hand at multiplayer. Thanks to the Ultimate Edition, players get all the additional weapons and DLC maps. Combat in the multiplayer is not much different from the game. There is a 6-on-6 Team Death as well as co-op where you can play a majority of the campaign with another player. One player acts as the spotter and the other the sniper. This probably the more preferred method of playing the game, but it does mean only one of you gets to be the sniper which kind of seems unfair. I did have a problem with the multiplayer matches and matchmaking. Sometimes it would take awhile before I could see my body even after it had respawned into the match. There is definitely a problem with lag in the servers, but once the game finally started working right, I found it quite fun and unique.
With Sniper Elite 3, I can say that the franchise seems to be moving in the right direction. The game does a better job making gameplay revolve more around stealth than your average fps. With a better story and better A.I., the Sniper Elite series could be a sure contender in the FPS market. Overall the core of the gameplay is still fun and is still one of a kind.
Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms