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REVIEW | Latest “Sniper Elite” Hits Many A Bullseye In African Setting

By
Posted on July 23, 2014 AT 07:39am

The art of sniping is one that takes time, precision, and loads of concentration. Have a mentality of a run-and-gunner, and that could spell out your demise. Hide in the shadows, aim for a kill shot, take a deep breath, and pull the trigger. This is the job of the sniper, the most careful and tactical of any armed person.

Perhaps this is why those Call of Duty players (or Duty-Heads, as I will henceforth call them) get so angry when they play any of Rebellion’s Sniper Elite games. They think that just because they have the weaponry that they can just simply take out every enemy they see onscreen without hesitation. Duty-Heads quickly learn that attempting this tactic in Sniper Elite will get themselves too noticed, thereby bringing about many Nazis to shoot them down in an instant. It’s high time that these gamers get it out of their heads and realize that just because it’s an army-based game that it’s not going to have a Call of Duty gameplay mechanic. Once they do, then they can enjoy themselves more with the most recent addition to Rebellion’s game series: Sniper Elite III.

Set a few years before the events of Sniper Elite V2 players will find themselves in Africa, where the Nazis have settled in the northern part of the continent. As the sniper it’s your task to be kept unseen by the Afrika Korps, as you take enemy soldiers down while gathering intel regarding the Nazis’ next plan of attack. Of course, the job of a sniper is never easy, as discovering places to hide yourself and the sound of your rifle fire can be quite the daunting task.

If you can manage to find some good nesting areas, grassy spots, or even a dark section of a level then hiding yourself from the enemy will be very easy. It’s muffling your sound that will make things all the more difficult, as one shot can alert the soldiers in your area. In many cases you’ll have to seek a new position to shoot, which can be quite tough when it comes to finding the right angle to take aim. Other times there will be things in your environment such as a rickety engine or the announcement speakers that can mask your shots, and it’s in those moments when you need to take advantage the most.

Your main weapon of choice, the sniper rifle, is one that’s fairly easy to use during your entire play through. It’s how precise your aim can be that makes it the challenge. In many cases all one needs to do is get your target in your scope, and then pull the trigger. However when it comes to getting the right shot it’s all about timing. Depleting the air in your lungs may seem like a gimmick to add another degree of realism to the game, but in all honesty it’s the best possibly way to get a good kill shot. Otherwise you run risk of merely harming the enemy, giving him the chance of surviving. If you want to success, you need to aim to kill.

When I went hands-on with Sniper Elite III back at PAX East I had an increasingly difficult time playing it right. With the noise of the crowd drowning out the sound of the game, not to mention the time limit given to players so other people can play it, taking one’s time was almost next-to-impossible. Because of this I found myself making tons of errors, being caught and killed by the Nazis, and unable to make a careful shot. A game like this cannot be played in the fullest when so much commotion surrounds you, as every ounce of your concentration is depended upon being successful. Thankfully playing Sniper Elite III in the comfort of my own home is a far richer experience.

Being able to take my time and perfect the precision without having to deal with noise and crowded atmosphere of a gaming convention makes so much of a bigger difference when it comes to its execution. With that being said having to take your time does lead to being in the same level for a long period of time. Having to be careful every step of the way, continuously hiding after every shot taken, and having to wait for Nazi soldiers to move from your area so you can either silently take them down or find another place to hide means it’ll take a good chunk of time to complete a single level. (Case in point, the Gaberoun level took over three hours to complete!)

However what most gamers fail to realize is that three hours to complete a level pales in comparison to what a real military sniper goes through in order to get his target. Sometimes a sniper will way not hours, but days to get that perfect shot and complete their mission. So when you find yourself two hours into the Fort Refugio level and still only halfway from completion, remember: it could be worse!

As I was more used to playing Sniper Elite V2 on the Xbox 360, having to use a PS4 controller this time out took a bit of adjustment. However once I got it all under wraps being able to switch weapons, set up traps and explosions, and aim my shots carefully became much easier to handle. Even close range attacks are fairly simple to figure out. With that being said it would’ve been nice to use your knife outside of the melee attacks, whether to merely stab enemies or even throw it at them.

Sniper Elite III thankfully looks like a true next-gen title on the PS4. The worlds you sneak around feel endless, and the attention to detail in both the environments and the people are the closest I’ve seen a war-based video game attempt to making something more realistic. With that said there have been a couple of humorous glitches I’ve come across in a few levels. For example in Halfaya, after killing two Nazis in a sneak attack, I tossed their bodies into the cave wall so as to not gain the attention of the Afrika Korps. Fortunately nothing game-breaking has been found during my time with the game.

Of course, when it comes to detail, you cannot forget to mention the Kill Cam. Greatly improved since V2 it’s here where you’ll be in awe watching bones break, jaws unhinge, muscles twist, and — most importantly — Nazi testicles pop in glorious detail. No lie: you’ll be replaying this game over and over again just to see what sort of kills you can attempt in this game.

Completing all the levels your first time around will take you roughly 20 hours to do so, though experts may be able to beat the campaign in about six. However with all the extra weapons, playing cards, and intel to be found there will be plenty more hours spent trying to get 100% in it. You can also invite a friend to play along in the Story mode and see if you can find everything and take down the targets quicker.

Within Sniper Elite III there are a couple fun co-op modes. The co-op Survival mode will have you and your friend attacking Nazi after Nazi until they, in return, cut your life short. Those with good aim will find themselves able to live longer than most, so be sure to scope out your area every step of the way. Overwatch makes a fine return, improving on the core mechanics to make you feel like you truly are working together as partners-in-crime. Those looking to get their multiplayer fix on will find five modes to go crazy with: regular and team deathmatch, Distance King (and a team version), and No Cross, which will have teammates separated from one another as to avoid close-quarter shenanigans.

Currently there are some DLC modes being released slowly to the public, with the first out now: “Hunt The Grey Wolf.” Although it’s yet another Hitler-killing mission it adds the possibility of a double arriving on the scene. As you progress through the mission you’ll discover clues as to how to tell the real Hitler from the fake (i.e. clean-shaven, which hand he uses, etc…). When he arrives on the scene it’s your decision as to whether or not it’s the real one, and — if so — find a way to dispose of him.

Like the other missions this one can run a bit long, as there are many soldiers keeping guard of the area. It’s up to you to sneak on through, take out any Nazis close by, and collect the necessary intel that will help in any way. It’s definitely a lot more challenging than the previous Hitler-based mission from V2, and with multiple ways to take down him or — in my case — his double there’s plenty of reasons why you’ll want to assassinate the Führer over and over again. (I don’t want to spoil it, but my favorite way of killing Hitler may “ring” true to some players.) What other missions that will be released are still a mystery, but the recently-announced three-parter “Save Churchill” makes it clear that not all the bonus content will be assassination-based.

PROS:

  • Gorgeous visuals, Kill Cam has improved greatly
  • Easy, steady control scheme makes taking the shot less of a hassle
  • Fun co-op/multiplayer modes

CONS:

  • Levels may feel too long for some
  • Some silly, non-game breaking glitches in early levels
  • Running around after each time you fire your weapon can get tiresome

FINAL THOUGHTS:

With enough patience and concentration Sniper Elite III will not just give players a good mental workout, but will also provide one of the more realer sniper experiences seen in gaming this year. Although some may be turned off by its slow pace, others will embrace the fact that it rewards you for being a much better shot in the long run. In short: there are many reasons why you should take aim at Snipe Elite III, with the most important being that it’s one of the finest tactical shooters out there on the market.

FINAL GRADE (main game): 8.8 (out of ten)
FINAL GRADE (“Hunt The Grey Wolf” DLC): 8.0 (out of ten)

PS4 & “Hunt The Grey Wolf” DLC review codes provided by Kelly Susco of Rogers & Cowan

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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