Sniper Elite 3 Review

It would be all to easy to just label developer Rebellion Oxford’s Sniper Elite 3 just another largely linear third-person adventure that’s more or less marred with intense violence and little else.  While it’s certainly true that the game offers a front row seat to some stunningly crazy carnage (delivered courtesy of the bullet cam which also provides real-time x-ray damage to enemy bodies), but it tempers this with a range of other gameplay nuances to bring the player back ‘round to reality.  The real question in the end is whether or not you like the concept.  Assuming that you can dig the long range, sniper-centric direction of the title then you’ll certainly find plenty to keep you occupied throughout.

The Story and Set-up

Yes, the game does possess a basic plot structure, but for all intents and purposes it’s really not about delivering a compelling narrative here – the action is the main course, so to speak.  Basically, you’re in Africa during WWII and you’re killing Nazi’s, need we say more?  You assume the role of OSS sniper Karl Fairburne, who is by all accounts a very dangerous fellow who’s clearly not to be trifled with.  Although this is in fact a sequel in terms of numbered lineage, it is in fact a prequel, taking place before the events featured in Sniper Elite 2.

Sniper Elite 3
Essentially, the game is set-up to provide you, the gamer, with two things: one, an interesting locale to explore and two, a different type of terrain which allows the devs to do some interesting level design.  While there are loads of other details to point out (which we’ll get to in a minute), the main thing to take note of is the actual layout of specific areas and how this tends to influence the onscreen action.  You might even say that the levels are structured in such a way so as to facilitate the type of sniper action it also provides the opportunity to engage in, which is obviously a plus.

The Graphics

Turning our attention away from the surface elements and toward the game’s visuals, we discover a title that’s quite attractive on the PS4. Sure, the SE3 is also on the 7th generation consoles too (PS3 and Xbox 360, as well as PC) but it really seems to shine particularly bright on 8th gen boxes like the PS4 (and we’re assuming you can add the Xbox One to that list too).

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All in all, it’s very nice-looking, possessing all the sharp details in the background as well as the foreground one would expect, along with special attention paid to character design and so forth.  Sure, it’s not going to give the top tier titles a run for their money but neither is the game to be considered another generic offering either.  It hangs somewhere between the realms of being fresh and well-trodden.  It’s not as if there are a ton of titles with this exact same set of looks, but neither is it so incredibly dynamic and new that it is without precedent.  In short, it’s a solid shooter on the PS4 with decent looks to boot, so let’s just leave it at that, shall we?  Arguably, one of the biggest selling points for a lot of gamers (particularly those with an eye for bloody carnage) will be the bullet cam, which (when activated) provides a slow-motion directed pathway that details all the damage your attack does on a particular enemy.  For instance, let’s say you’re taking cover behind some barrels and fire one off from a distance into some unsuspecting Nazi’s head – you actually see the skull fracturing and breaking apart, tissues splattering, thanks to the stylized x-ray camera. Sure, it’s incredibly macabre and maybe even a bit too much at times, but you know what they say, war is hell.

The Gameplay

This game is referred to as a tactical shooter, and that pretty much sums up the gist of the basic direction when it comes to gameplay.  Given the game’s title and everything it should be readily apparent that you’re getting sniper-based gameplay here.  Taking aim you’ll discover that this isn’t just another dead aim bullets aren’t influenced by the environment game.  That’s right, depending on various factors you actually have to adjust your aim to compensate for elements like the wind, which again, adds another layer of tactical realism to the mix.

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Speaking of tactics, there’s also the issue of how you’ll approach each objective.  Stealth plays an important role, with your character being able to execute awesome takedowns as well as even masking your sniper fire with loud, distracting sounds.

The Verdict

Simply put, “Sniper Elite 3” is the type of game that will immediately be appealing to a certain contingent of gamers, others might find it to be a tad too limiting.  Nevertheless, it possesses a number of great selling point, particularly in terms of its gameplay which is again, very much angled toward those with a love of sniping action . Obviously fans of the series will love it, and it definitely represents a high point for the franchise (in multiple ways).

Rating - 8.3

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