Review

Rebellion and 505 Games’ return to the Sniper Elite franchise with Sniper Elite 3, a slow paced, methodical, shooter that revels, not in the war itself, but in every individual kill.  In this return to the franchise, players find themselves in the role of the deep, gruff voiced sniper, Karl Fairburne, this time hired by British Intelligence during World War II to discover the reason for a top Hitler agent to be in the desert.  While the main weapon of choice is, as always, a sniper rifle to take out enemies from extreme distances, players will also have access to a pistol (silenced or not), an automatic weapon for up close and personal action, a knife for those always satisfying stealth takedowns, and traps such as trip mines, dynamite, and grenades.

Since the main gameplay of Sniper Elite 3 is the sniper rifle, every kill made with this gun is glorified in a very brutal fashion.  With every kill shot, players are given an up close and personal view of each bullet as it travels from the sniper rifle, through the air, and into the very detailed and squishy body of its intended victim.  X-ray vision shows the skin, muscles, skeletal structure, and finally, the internal organs of the intended victim as they are shattered, punctured, and otherwise blown apart in very gruesome ways.  This may be my morbid side speaking, but this never got old.  There was something absolutely fascinating about watching these bullets find their way through the enemy’s heart, intestines, liver, lungs, head, and, yes, even their testicles!  Ouch!

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There may not be a lot of variation in gameplay between each of the eight story missions, but that is what makes Sniper Elite 3 so very good.  Rebellion didn’t try to cram a ton of different features into the game, but instead concentrated on what makes a sniper game fun.  Stealth.  A sniper should never been seen.  Heard, possibly, but never seen.  It is a very polished game that does its job well.  The environments, while mostly earth tone browns, are beautiful and feel alive and real.  The bright African sun sheds light on the game where other similar style games would choose to be in the dark.  Sniper Elite 3 is a stealth game, but it is stealth from afar.  Players will utilize a pair of binoculars to locate and take enemies before targeting them with their scope. As with any realistic sniper rifle, each shot is very loud and players will be required to ensure their location is never determined by the enemy.  To many shots from the same general location, and the enemy will be upon you in an instant.  I found it quite humourous to “Harry” the enemy, which is to take a shot from one location, quickly move to another, and take another shot.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  This kept the enemy guessing as to my location while I slowly and deliberately thinned their numbers.  Other times, players may find something to mask their shots, such as a malfunctioning generator, or a plane flying overhead.  This is where patience will play a big part.  Line up your shot and just wait for the noise to occur before taking that killing shot.  A stealth game like this requires a lot of patience from the player.  While a shot is easily lined up quickly, taking your time will ensure you are neither seen, nor heard.  The definition of a true sniper elite.

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Sniper Elite 3 includes many optional objectives and quite a few collectibles throughout each stage.  Other than the ‘tagging’ of the enemies that allow players to see those enemies through walls to keep an eye on their position, everything about this game feels real.  Right down to the fact that you will never obtain a map of collectible locations.  Finding all these items will require a slow, methodical search of every map.  I often found myself deliberately clearing every map of every enemy and then spending time searching for the collectibles.  Unlike other games, the enemies in Sniper Elite 3 are finite; once you kill all the enemies, they do not respawn.  Adding, once more, to the realism of this game.

Rebellion has crafted an extremely fun and addictive stealth game here.  It is deliberately slow. It is deliberately methodical.  Everything is in the game for a reason and that is what makes it a truly fun game.  Nothing seems like it’s in the game just because the developer thought it would be cool to add.  Instead, if something was added to the game, it was added for a reason and it made sense.  These collection of 8 story chapters consist of huge open world levels that give players absolute freedom of choice and movement.  Eight chapters may not seem like a great deal of gameplay, but this story took a good 25 hours to complete.  That’s nearly three hours per map!

Sniper Elite 3 is the epitome of a great stealth game.  It is a beautifully crafted experience that is not one that you will soon forget.  When the story is done, if you’re anything like me, you will find yourself starting from the beginning again at a higher level, just because you want to experience it all again.  For more on Sniper Elite 3, be sure to listen to Episode 110 of The OMG! Hour where I talk about my experience with the game.

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About the Author

Sean
Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.