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Gaming Review

Sniper Elite 3 review (PC): Shooter sequel aims for new heights

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Released on Friday, Jun 27 2014

Sniper Elite 3

© 505 Games

Sniper Elite 3


Release Date: June 27 (Europe), July 1 (US)
Platforms available on: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Rebellion Oxford
Publisher: Rebellion Developments
Genre: Third-person shooter

Whether you're a tactical-minded shooter fanatic or the kind of puerile gamer who enjoys blasting unsuspecting enemies square in the crotch, Sniper Elite 3 has something to offer.

The series has always flirted with strategic depth, and its third instalment aims to fulfil the broken promises of its predecessors with improved level design and artificial intelligence.

Sniper Elite 3 continues the story of Allied sharpshooter Karl Fairburne, but switches the action from Nazi-occupied cities to the hostile terrain of war-torn North Africa.

Sniper Elite 3

© 505 Games

The game takes players to war-torn North Africa


Setting the game against dusty backdrops with rocky vantage points and scattered patches of foliage gives it a different flavour to its forebears and is almost enough to differentiate the experience alone.

However, the meat of the formula is largely unchanged, with missions testing players' ability to take pinpoint-accurate shots under pressure and richly rewarding them with X-ray footage of their target's innards exploding in slow motion.

The amount of pre-planning that goes into each mission gives Sniper Elite 3 a measure of depth, as players are required to scope out the area using their binoculars, lay traps and map out their escape route before the shooting begins.


Just like before, this is immensely satisfying, but there's more to Sniper Elite than the kind of grisly death videos that wouldn't look out of place in Mortal Kombat; and this instalment is no exception.

Developer Rebellion prides itself on attention to detail. Everything from Fairburne's breathing rate to the wind resistance must be taken into account before you reel off a shot, and pulling that trigger is rarely without consequence.

Sniper Elite 3

© 505 Games


The amount of pre-planning that goes into each mission gives Sniper Elite 3 a measure of depth, as players are required to scope out the area using their binoculars, lay traps and map out their escape route before the shooting begins.

Features like this have always given Sniper Elite a tactical edge over some of the other military shooters out there, but Rebellion has gone one further this time by attempting to correct long-standing complaints from previous games.

For instance, blowing your cover was punished too harshly in the past, with an impossible number of enemy soldiers coming down on you with the lethal force of a blitzkrieg invasion.

But catching the attention of one Nazi soldier won't trigger a fatal domino effect here. Enemies now respond to your presence with a mind of their own, their reactions tailored to the situation at hand.

Sniper Elite 3

© 505 Games

Karl Fairburne returns for another crack at the Nazis


While this heightens the sense of realism, the artificial intelligence still doesn't feel like the finished article, so expect to encounter a few quirks here and there.

Some enemies casually return to their patrol despite sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg, while others are slow to react to your presence. Such incidents are isolated, but we feel they should have been ironed out entirely.

Sniper Elite 3 is just downright enjoyable. Taking out unsuspecting Nazis from afar and watching their bones and organs buckle under the impact of a bullet simply doesn't get old.

The 'Relocate' system is another new addition that helps tip the odds in the player's favour when the chips are down by allowing them to give encroaching foes the slip and find another weakness in the enemy lines.

This is a valuable inclusion as it gives players the flexibility to adapt when an enemy patrol has gotten wind of your position, and thus being discovered is no longer the frustrating pitfall it once was.

Cracks may form in the illusion of a world at war, yet Sniper Elite 3's expansive maps are more compelling than any we've previously encountered in the series.


Each level is a multi-route affair littered with a choice of vantage points and scenery for covering your advance; and this variety ensures subsequent playthroughs are never the same as before.

However, the level design is not without its flaws as alluring waypoints occasionally usher players into perilous dead-ends, which left us feeling like we'd plunged into a cheap beginner's trap.

The replay value is still high regardless, as Sniper Elite 3 is just downright enjoyable. Taking out unsuspecting Nazis from afar and watching their bones and organs buckle under the impact of a bullet simply doesn't get old.

With a solo campaign lasting around 12 hours and the option to tackle the core missions in co-op mode, there's plenty to sink your teeth into even before you get to the five varieties of competitive multiplayer, with medals to earn and experience points to harvest.

Sniper Elite 3 treads that fine line between realism and fun, but it comes together well, providing cheap kicks for those who enjoy over-the-top sniper kills, and a modicum of tactical depth for players looking for something more substantial.


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