The theatre of war in Sniper Elite’s third instalment takes us to Africa. This is a battle zone we can all welcome as it is more colourful than the grey ruins of the predecessor. Our hero, Karl, now investigates a secret project that is directly tied to General Franz Vahlen who is the antagonist this time. I considered the story a bit too far-fetched (especially towards the end) but Sniper Elite was never about authenticity but about killing Nazis from hundreds of meters away. The game looks pretty – the blinding sunshine was a bit too much sometimes but I liked the oasis and the palm trees.
I bless the rains down in Africa..
Slightly improved game mechanics
I believe the same engine is utilised here, too, to bring our surroundings to life. Karl’s movement is still a bit clumsy (especially when you change from walking to running) but at least the reminder to press the appropriate key to get into cover is not there for every single moment we get close to a wall. It was pretty annoying in V2 and they kept it in the zombie games, too. Also, Karl can now quickly dispose of the picked-up bodies by simply throwing them. We can still put them down slowly but at least we have a faster option.
Sniping is better than ever. Each chapter consists of huge open areas. We can pick a different approach the next time we complete the same stage. There are also optional missions to do and the collectibles now exist in the form of decks of cards and war diaries we can read. The X-ray bullet kill cam also returns and it is more detailed than ever. Lungs, kidneys, the heart and even the testicles can be shot. Beside the skeletal we can now see the muscular system, too. It affects the vehicles: the fuel tank and the engine is now visible just before the explosion. Attention-to-detail is excellent in this game.
Now, throughout the missions I encountered fewer snipers. They are tough but not many hide in various levels. So, in this sense the game became easier. Harder difficulties allow enemies to hit us from far away even with machine guns whose spread should not make it possible. Another thing you’ll notice is the means to mask your shots. This is now an option in every level and several sections have generators lying about that can easily be sabotaged. My favourites were the artilleries: while my task was to destroy them I stood next to one such unit and faced the opposite direction of the map so that I could use the sound of the discharged missiles to nab a couple of headshots.
Levelling-up and multiplayer
An interesting addition to the game is the ability to level up our profile. New guns can be unlocked and they even added accessories. We can upgrade our Springfield if we feel like its zoom could be slightly better. After a dozen or so levels it’ll be just cosmetics (how the reticle looks like through the scope) we unlock and, of course, you can always brag about having reached 50.
Co-op game modes return. We can play Overwatch – once again one player uses the rifle while the other becomes the spotter. Tagging has never been more fun, right? The mission titled Twilight Strike is particularly large and long and it contains a couple of interesting achievements. It is also quite challenging. And if you are up for some additional challenge you can invite a buddy of yours and play 15 waves of survival.
As for the regular multiplayer, I was always able to find deathmatch, team deathmatch and CTF sessions (several of these were already full). The only downside is that most of the players that play are already veterans (i.e. at level 50) and as coop sessions are hard to come by your best bet is to look through the Steam discussion threads to see who else is interested in devoting some time to this.
This is my rifle…
Sniper Elite 3 is a very good sequel. It manages to improve gameplay and puts more emphasis on stealth. Its story is somewhat mediocre but it can keep you entertained throughout its 8 chapters. I unlocked almost all achievements in 50 hours or so with the exception of those that are part of the DLCs. This is a higher playtime than I had with V2 and the first two zombie games combined. This is how good this episode is.