They say that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. Well thanks to Rebellion’s Sniper Elite 3 I’ve been conditioned so that every time I hear the ringing of a slow-mo bullet I expect an angel to be unceremoniously ripped into pieces by a sniper.
Sniper Elite 3, the highly anticipated sequel to (you guessed it) Sniper Elite and Sniper Elite V2, was recently released by Rebellion for the Xbox 360, Xbox one, PS3, PS4, and PC. We were lucky enough at Gamer UK to receive an advance copy of the game, and have crawled, sprinted, hoisted, and ducked our way across WWII Africa killing Nazis. Who said writing gaming news didn’t take you places?
Sniper Elite 3 combines elements of stealth gameplay with intuitive exploration and the grisly ruthlessness of a shooter to produce an amazingly immersive experience. You and your trusty sniper rifle are charged with completing a varied range of missions to halt the Nazi campaign, and whilst the overarching narrative won’t win any awards for ingenuity it is a genuinely fitting component of the experience – not taking itself so seriously, not getting in the way of the game mechanics which are its staple.
The principle of these mechanics is the bullet time inducing killshots executed across expansive environments. Different from other shooters, and so brilliantly done, your camera follows the bullet as it passes across the beautifully produced map, and into the gruesomely detailed bodies of your poor enemies. It really is an experience to see the internal organs of your foe get forcefully rearranged by a high calibre bullet. Whilst certainly disturbing, the game doesn’t ever stray into the obscene – which is saying something considering the gore-fest that some missions can turn into once you’ve mastered your sneaky murdering.
The game also hosts two player cooperative game play, which really takes the experience to the next level. Missions become much grander if completed by two players, forcing extensive communication and timing to proceed. The hardest game difficulty, when played on cooperative, feels like another game entirely and is certainly worth a try. When playing together, the game also becomes strangely competitive. You find yourself trying to out do each other (Who can remove a Nazi kidney first? Who can cure a Nazi drinking problem by surgically removing a liver?) The at first gleefully disturbing backdrop of detail soon fades into the background and becomes the white noise of a visceral war campaign.
We thoroughly enjoyed every difficult minute of the game, and felt genuine elation on completing some of the most difficult missions. Whilst the particular style of the game may force it into repetitive notions, a real effort seems to have been made to produce something fresh that still draws from the core Sniper Elite experience.
At Gamer UK we don’t depend on a rating scale of stars or numbers out of ten to arbitrarily assign value to diverse and sometimes incomparable games. It would be a disservice to Sniper Elite 3 to compare it to other games that might share a setting, or target demographic. If you’ve enjoyed a previous Sniper Elite game, buy the game. If you enjoy strategic shooters, buy the game. If you want to support a British developer who continue to produce quality on smaller budgets than their competitors, buy the game. We certainly enjoyed it, and would happily support Rebellion in the future.
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Rory McDonald is a writer and researcher who types words with a keyboard that you then read. You can follow him on Twitter.