I will start this article by letting you know that I am not a shooter player, be it 1st person or 3rd person like this one. Not at all. I am more of a RPG sword-and-board kind of guy, but I thought this game would be a breath of fresh air. It’s a fairly good game and i’m glad i tried it, but my enthusiasm diminished over time and I’ll explain myself a bit later.
Sniper Elite 3’s campaign skips any foreplay and throws you right into the middle of the war. You can play it alone or with a friend. Every mission starts with a quick slideshow of some very well drawn pictures that would make great wallpapers and a few words from your character, agent Karl Fairburne, and then you’re presented with your goals: Kill this guy, assasinate that other guy, detonate the nazi’s ammo in Michael Bay style and then kill some other guys. Fair enough.
Even if the game was not necessarily made for a stealth approach, I abused that as much as I could and I became very good friends with my sniper riffle and the awesome silent pistol, the Welrod. I actually had to, because the variety of weapons is very limited in this game. I was also helped by the (not very bright) enemies that reminded me of Skyrim’s artificial intelligence. If you encounter a group of enemies, you can headshot one of them and then they will (naturally) start searching for you, but after a few seconds they will decide that they were probably hearing things and will return to their spots and completely ignore the dead body that is right between them. Rince and repeat. If they actually find you, the soundtrack of the game will change into something more alert, letting you know that stuff has gotten serious.
Sniping nazis offers a glorious slow motion cut scene of the bullet going out of your riffle and right into said nazi’s bones and organs. I could watch their bones shatter all day long and not get bored. Also, every aspect of a shot is rewarded. You will get XP for the range between you and your enemy, your location, premeditation (you can use your binoculars to search and “mark” your enemies) or acting out of instinct. Oh yeah, you get bonus points for head shots, lung shots or testicle shots. Yep.
The game pays a lot of attention to details and it looks like the creators thought of every little aspect while ignoring the more important problems. There are lots of small things that I apreciated about this game. There is a BPM meter in the bottom left corner of your screen where you can see your character’s heart beats, and that has an impact on the way you aim. If your heartbeat is low, your aim will be steady and you will be able to hold your breath (by pressing a key) and zoom in even more while aiming for the nazi’s soft spots. However, if you just escaped from being chased by some german-speaking enemies, your heart’s BPM will go through the roof and you’d better take a break. There are also some noisy objects across the map and you can use the noise to snipe the nazis care-free, because the riffle’s sound will be covered by those objects. You can do that too when there are planes flying nearby. Nice details.
After each mission ends, you will be presented with how well you managed to reach your goals. You get rewarded if you roam the map and search for some war diaries and playing cards, but as long as I don’t have the chance of finding any extraordinary loot, and this is not one of those games, I won’t be bothered to do it. The reward is just not big enough. There are also some optional objectives on every mission, which you can do if you care for achievements and some extra XP points. That’s it.
In addition to the campaign, there are 2 more game types you can choose: Challenges and Multiplayer. Challenges offer the possibility to go alone or with a friend against waves of NPC enemies, and multiplayer gives you the classic modes: Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, along with some new modes: Distance King and Team Distance King, which give you more points if you kill your enemies from greater range but with the possibility of close-range combat, and then finally there is the No Cross game type, in which the teams are separated and must snipe each other. There is a total of 5 maps at your disposal.
You may now be wondering, why am I not playing this game anymore? Because it got boring. Once you get used to the nice details in the game, you will start seeing the elephant in the room. The campaign is very repetitive, the maps are too big for each mission and you will have to snipe your way through dozens of nazis until you reach your objective, which is not rewarding at all, and the whole game feels like playing hide-and-seek with weapons. Don’t get me wrong, sniping nazis and watching their bones shatter in slow motion is extremely satisfying, but you will realise there are better games you can play.
Bottom line, is it a fun game? Yeah, it is…for a while. Is it worth its full price? Not really, at least not for me, but it could be for a 3rd person shooter enthusiast. If all you want is to hide from enemy soldiers, snipe them in slow motion and make things explode, then this is your game.