Features & News

Hands On: Sniper Elite 3

June 3, 2014, Author: Matt Parker

There’s a certain appeal to playing as a sniper in video-games. The idea of outsmarting your opponent, watching them from afar and then taking them out before they even know you’re there. It’s a refreshing change from the traditional ‘kick-down a door and shoot everyone’ gameplay we’re used to.

Well, Sniper Elite 3 aims to bring more of the sneaking and long-range headshots that made the previous two games (three if you include the zombie spin-off) popular. Though what else can be added to the formula of ‘Sniper + WW2 = Shooting Hitler’s Ballsack’?

Thanks to the people at Rebellion, I got to find out.The historical period of Sniper Elite 3 won’t surprise you as, you guessed it, it’s still World War 2. The Nazis are the enemy again, though the location is a slightly unfamiliar one.

Sniper Elite 3 is set in Africa, with the levels I played being set in Libya specifically, and this meant that levels now took on a much larger scale. Instead of tight-knight alleyways of European cities, you’re now skulking around desert camps set up by Rommel’s troops.

These large areas do allow the player to approach their targets in a number of different ways. Taking your chances through the camp-site would be the quickest route, though moving around the edge of the camp-site, through the ruins, could be a smart way to get the job done too. Whatever route you choose, you’ll always need to be paying attention. I foolishly assumed I was well away from everyone and ended up bumping into the view of an officer. The following ruckus ensured my story ended prematurely.

Speaking of which, the story of Sniper Elite 3 isn’t particularly important as it serves as nothing more than a reason to be entering these extremely dangerous areas on your own. Intel needs to be collected, large cannons need to be destroyed and important commanders need to be taken care of. I’m not talking about a spoonful of Calpol here, we’re looking at hot lead to the cranium.

We all know it's what you're here for...

We all know it’s what you’re here for…

Shooting people in the head and seeing the results play out in gory, x-ray enabled slow-motion is standard for the series. So while the gameplay will feel familiar, there does seem to be improvements to the core mechanics that should make Sniper Elite 3 stand above its predecessors. For a start, noise is now more important than ever.

Throughout levels there are certain elements of the environment that will help mask your shots. Think along the lines of the scene in Enemy at the Gates where Jude Law (I think) times his shots with the dropping bombs. Yeah, like that. You’ll be able to sabotage generators so that they stutter and sputter, giving you the chance to mask the sound of your shots and stop the enemy figuring out your location. You can also leave timed explosives to create diversions that go bang.

You see, the enemies in Sniper Elite 3 aren’t exactly clever, but they are aggressive and they act in consistent in a way that allows you to play with them. If you do make a noise or get spotted you’ll soon see Nazis running toward your last known location or the source of the noise they’ve heard. This can be used, if you’re quick and clever enough, to draw enemies away from their normal patrols.

The joy of this is that you can plant land-mines for the nosey Nazis to step on or alternatively you can use their curiosity to carve out a path to whatever it is you’re trying to get to. Just, whatever you do, don’t try and take them on.

Unlucky for this guy, you chose a route that goes right through him.

Unlucky for this guy, you chose a route that goes right through him.

Sniper Elite 3 offers you plenty of choice on how to approach each level, but if you try and play this like it’s Wolfenstein, you’ll be shot to pieces. To help with the idea of having ‘choice’ when it comes to taking on each level you can customise your load-out between each level. Load-outs consist of different types of grenade, different pistols and even let you improve and alter you beloved sniper rifle. I didn’t get to play around with these options too much during my time, but I spotted a whole host of interesting items.

From my time with Sniper Elite 3 I can safely say it’s shaping up to be the best Sniper Elite to date. Some satisfying headshots, sneaky take-downs and cunning use of distractions make you feel like a true bad-ass – a bad-ass that doesn’t like to be spotted, engage in direct combat and can’t take much damage. Still, Sniper Elite 3 should prove to be a great addition and something for fans to keep an eye on.