First Impressions: Sniper Elite 3

Disclaimer: Please note that I’m playing this on the Xbox One and I have not played the multiplayer or co-op at this point. I also have not had a chance to try out the challenge modes yet. This is a first impressions review of about 2-3 hours worth of gameplay.

Sniper Elite 3 is a game that will go unnoticed by most, as both of it’s predecessors did. Sniper Elite was a cult classic, Sniper Elite V2 gained a little more attention, but still undersold it’s potential, so we can expect the same for Sniper Elite 3. One of the biggest selling points about 505 Games (The Publisher) and Rebellion (Developer) is their games are usually $10 cheaper upon launch. Sniper Elite 3 launched with a price tag of $49.99 on Next Gen and $39.99 on Current Gen.

Sniper Elite 3 follows an American sniper during World War 2 in Africa, trying to take down the German Afrika Korps.
You have an array of weapons available to you, such as: your Sniper Rifle, your sub-machine gun, your pistol (which is your only silent weapon other than close quarters), grenades, dynamite, trip mines and land mines. (These are the weapons I’ve come across so far).
There are variants of Sniper Rifles, SMG’s and Pistols that you get throughout the game and as you level you can also customize your rifle a little.
You can also throw rocks as a distraction, or use Flint & Steel to time out an explosion for a distraction (this works well with dynamite when you need to clear out a section to move through undetected).
With dynamite you can either shoot it or use Flint & Steel, you can’t light it and throw it, but this is a good thing considering it’s a very short distance that you can throw it.

As in Sniper Elite V2, there are sounds to mask your shots, but not always. When you fire anything other than your (silenced) pistol without a masking sound, you’ll either need to fight off the wave of enemies, or relocate. A good strategy here is to set a trap with a landmine, trip mine or dynamite, then sneak away. Always cover your escape.
You can also pick up any traps you set down (other than a trapped {Flint & Steel} dynamite from my experience), so if you cover your flank with a landmine, fire a few shots then need to move on, you can pick up your landmine to use later.
These techniques have come in very handy, and they are ones learned in Sniper Elite (original) and carried into Sniper Elite V2, Sniper: Ghost Warrior and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.

The X-ray cam is back, and better than ever. There is more detail on each person when you get an X-ray kill, you can also get Vehicle take-downs, which means when you destroy the engine of a vehicle, you can get an X-ray cam of your bullet bouncing around inside the engine and destroying the pistons.

All this being said, the movement can feel a bit clunky at times, but not often. Small drops hurt you when they shouldn’t, but they don’t do a whole lot of damage (at least not on casual), but now you can sabotage generators to create a masking sound. You can also (unprompted) do close quarters take-downs that are all silent.

A few of the physics are off, mainly the ones where your climbing up a ladder while the enemy is climbing down the ladder and you pass right through each other with no option to pull them off the ladder or kick them or anything, that’s a little silly.
The dead bodies sometimes fall in strange ways as well, especially if they’re up against a barricade.

The open level design is far more open than any Sniper Elite game before it, but only just. Instead of linear streets with alleyways and rubble, you have linear canyons with multiple elevations and about 2-3 paths you can take to move forward. The levels are very large, though with multiple ways to complete your objective.

The graphics, even on the Xbox One actually leave a little to be desired. It looks as if they did a slight improvement over Sniper Elite V2, but mostly focused on gameplay and freedom (which is much better than any graphical improvement). To me graphics do NOT make a game, they just help to enhance the experience. Sniper Elite 3 is a great game at it’s core. The skin it’s in may be a little underwhelming visually, but the gameplay and mechanics make up for it in more ways than one.

Sniper Elite 3 is really fun, and I’m looking forward to trying out the multiplayer, co-op and challenges. It still looks good, but more like a top-of-the-line Current Gen title rather than a brand new Next Gen title. However, that’s still pretty impressive. I can only assume the graphics will be about the same on Current Gen.
The gameplay is really good and the mechanics (for the most part) are very well done. It seems a bit strange that there is no prompt for silent close quarters kills, but a prompt for everything else.

Sniper Elite 3 has the opportunity to be a great game for a little cheaper than normal, if people give it a chance. It isn’t for everybody, and has always been a Cult Classic title, but that’s where this game really shines. As a AAA game, it’s middle to lower rung. As a Cult Classic, this game is top of the list, along with it’s predecessors and the Sniper: Ghost Warrior series.

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