In any shooter you’ll come across, gore tends to be the key. Much like how horror movies have become marked more for their for than plot, a shooter that offers satisfying head shots with buckets of blood to boot tends to win the day.
Sniper Elite III satisfies that baser urge within gamers, that lust for gore and crazy violence, but surprisingly it also manages to deliver just that little bit more, offering open ended levels truly pitting you as a Nazi hunter with some really clever stealth elements. Just don't expect BAFTA worthy narratives, oozing with subtle scripting, think less Black Hawk Down and more Inglorious Basterds.
You play as Karl Faurburne, your typical gravel voiced hero, as American as Apple Pie. Karl also happens to be a sniper who has impressed the British OSS, just enough to get himself sent on some rather unique one man missions in North Africa. It's a shame then, that the story is so undercooked considering the setting has moved to an area of the war which has been criminally underused and often left unspoken within other games.
Bland as beige story and some hilariously bad dialogue aside, Sniper Elite III manages to poke its head out from the crowd of World War II shooters and thats largely thanks to Rebellions use of the series staple ‘kill cam’. With each well planned and placed shot slowing down time and offering up a satisfying roar as it tears through the air towards its target. The suspense is palpable!
This x-ray vision of your quarry as they take a bullet or two, almost always ends in a beautiful ballet of flesh tearing, bone crunching chaos. Providing you don't miss of course. What other game could or even would, give you the opportunity to shoot Hitler in the ball? Next-gen gore at its finest for sure.
As you make your way through the main campaigns eight stages, you’ll have a handful of tasks to complete in any which way you see fit, from destroying convoys, stealing secret documents and assassinating high level officials for their documents, all while sneaking around the map and finding the best nests to get settled in order to pick of those Nazis one by one. This freedom to roam is truly liberating, I know I had hours of fun taking out scores of soldiers in true silence before taking to my nest and delivering that perfect kill shot to a deserving general.
One of the ever more unique tools in your stealth arsenal is the opportunity for sound masking.
You see, each time you take a shot with your rifle and that bullet rings out, a sound meter begins to fill, warning you that the enemy is closing in on your location. Sure, it's not game over once they know as you’ll have the chance to change location before they grab you, allowing you to slip into the shadows like a ghost but when possible, its better to not be heard at all and that is where sound masking is a life saver.
You’ll notice on occasion a generator or two which you’re free to sabotage, resulting in a mess of coughing and spluttering as it struggles for life. This is the perfect chance to mask a shot or two, but you’ll have to learn the pattern and time it perfectly. Nothing could match the satisfaction I felt, hiding behind a generator that struggled to go on, before nailing the perfect headshot past two guards and into a tent. No one but me and my target knew what had happened and just like that, I was gone.
It’s not all creeping in the bushes, however. If you’re not one for stealth, Sniper Elite III leaves you with enough fire power to plow through hordes of enemies should you see fit to do so, leaving you to feel like the total bad ass you are.
For those who love to pair up with a friend for some co-op shenanigans, Sniper Elite 3 has a lot to offer. Not only can you take on the campaign each with a rifle in hand or tackle waves of nazis together, you can also take on Overwatch mode which leaves one of you to spot and the other to shoot. While the toughest test of your team work, its also the most rewarding of the modes on offer!
There's some standard multiplayer fare to sink your teeth into, including … which plants you in large open maps with an invisible divide, forcing you to pick each other off. If wheres wally involved head shots, this is what it would be.