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Sniper Elite III Review – Bullet time bliss

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A Sniper Elite 3 review? The Sniper Elite series is a personal favourite of mine and I’m not too sure why after I had played this. I’ve not played much of the first one, however enjoyed the second in the series. As for this instalment, well, I planned a review for when it first came out. Now Sniper Elite IV is out, so I feel a bit behind. Regardless of that, it’s time to review this and start getting ahead of myself.

An obvious positive about this game straight away is the graphical enhancements, especially when compared to the previous game. Presumably this comes from the vibrant colour scheme on display. Compared to the second game, which was bequeathed of any colour, the third game in the series pumps an enjoyable amount of flair into it.

To enlighten the graphical standpoint of this game even further, bullet time is truly amazing. It’s as beautiful and in depth as ever, but somehow better. Slow motion shots are basically a staple of the game at this point. It’s probably what allows this game to sell so well, if not it’d just be a generic shooter. At that point, if the game removed bullet time, then we’d be looking at something as bland as Call of Duty. Still, it’s the small things in this game that add up to create an enjoyable experience.

Slow motion and bullet time return, with a bigger and better variety of weapons to use

To keep up with this bullet time, the game uses slow motion. Hell, you could argue that it is overused, but it makes everything look so great. The slow time that the bullet heads towards the target is fascinatingly fulfilling to see, time after time after time. Coupled with the x-ray vision, the slow motion shows a grotesque level of detail, and it’s phenomenal. This managed to make it’s way into a 16 ESRB rated game, and I love it.

Something that really adds together within this game is the simplistic shooting. The three guns, one rifle, a submachine gun and a pistol, is simple. On top of that, it’s effective and this system just makes it fun. Of course, you won’t be using anything but the rifle and pistol until you cock up. If you do cock up then at that point you may as well start the game over because there is no recovering from that.

Because of all of these, the combat flows really well. The combat was a lot of fun and coupled with some stealth mechanics led to a lot more fun situations. The stealth system really isn’t the greatest though. Me and a few friends who had played this game both cooperatively and solo had noticed the detection system had changed. Enemies within Sniper Elite III are more aware, but not in a good way.

Now that enemies have an improved system for noticing you, the stealth becomes a lot more difficult. This was up to the point where I simply didn’t bother with the stealth. My strategy was to kill as many as I could with the rifle, switch to the submachine gun and just run in guns blazing. It wasn’t my best idea, but it most certainly worked.

A benefit for me personally was that I paid very little for this game. £15 for the Ultimate version of this game, which included the majority of the DLC. I did have to buy the “Hunt the Grey Wolf” DLC separately, but that was just so I could take potshots at Charlie Brooker. Mad respect for the guy, but it was just as fun as killing Hitler in Sniper Elite V2.

The game isn’t perfect obviously, and in that regard this is where things go very wrong. Although the small things add up to make this game truly great, the overall problems were enough for me to stop playing. Controls overall were very slippery at best. There seemed to be a delay, at least on my end, especially with running and movement. Luckily the controls for shooting is where the focus went, so the overall combat isn’t effected too much. However the already flawed stealth system really takes a blow from these controls.

The stealth system is most certainly flawed, but it isn’t horrifically bad

A small, but odd and obvious thing to mention is motion blur. Usually I turn it off in games, but for some reason I either wasn’t able to or forgot to turn it off. It didn’t make the game unplayable, but it was certainly something I needed to get used to.

Something I was instantly used to of course was the story line. What was I expecting? Well, something out of the blue really. You’ve got an immensely colourful game with some great ideas, but it’s more or less the same old story line. Germans are bad, American Sniper your way through the entire game and kill the bad guys as you go. That’s basically it, and the DLC is more or less the same.

For the DLC you’re clearing a path through the Nazi army for Churchill, I think. Either that or you’re just causing havoc for the sake of causing it. I played through that in co-op with a friend, which made it much more enjoyable. Mind you, every time one of us died it sent us right back to the start of the mission. That’s the problem with co-op in this game. One small, tiny cock up and away you go right back to the start of the level. It was a right pain and there doesn’t seem to be any way around this.

Although the AI are more capable at stealth related aspects, they’re still bloody idiots. You can throw rocks to the right places and you’ll end up finishing the mission without any shots fired. I would try it but I’d probably give up sooner rather than later. But it’s just funnier I suppose, there are a hell of a lot of enemies. The cluster that is the enemy basically turns into one stupid mass.

Verdict

Sniper Elite III is fun. It’s not as fun as Sniper Elite V2, however I still enjoyed myself. A mediocre story and AI really let this game down and prevent it from being anything else. Of course, the combat is fun as ever, so there are no problems there. You have here a fine example of a formula working, and a company sticking to what they know best.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Sniper Elite 3
7
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Sarcastic. Pessimist. I write what I think, hopefully you enjoy that.