Sniper Elite III
Tactical shooter returns with open world gameplay
- Open world maps allow a new level of freedom.
- Graphical and technical leap over previous instalments.
- AI behaves a bit odd at times.
- Novelty of X-ray slow motion camera wears off quick.
Sniper Elite III comes with a visual upgrade and increased scale that helps push it into the mainstream. While some design quirks still remain, the sniping action never gets old.
Price$ 69.03 (AUD)
The first two Sniper Elite games were low key releases that went mostly under the radar. The life of a sniper is not as action packed as that of a soldier on a battlefield, so the games did not offer quite the same raw thrills as Call of Duty.
What the Sniper Elite series does offer is a more cerebral and precision based shooting experience, one that requires you to be hidden and pick off targets from afar. Sniper Elite III does not stray from this formula, though it attempts to be more epic in scope than previous entries.
Off to Africa
The game’s single player campaign centres on World War II OSS sniper Karl Fairburne, who spent the previous two games picking off Nazis in Europe. The setting has moved to North Africa for the third instalment, and in the process the linear level structure of past titles is replaced with open environments.
Instead of simply progressing from end of the level to the other, you have the ability to navigate the desert landscape and find the right perch to accomplish mission objectives. It elevates the game from its niche heritage into the top tier of gaming.
The sniper rifle is the main tool in taking down enemies, though it is not practical when on the move. Fortunately, you can protect yourself using pistols, sub-machine guns and grenades.
As in past titles, sound and noise plays an important part in gameplay, particularly when it comes to masking the sound of gunfire. Shots fired in quiet conditions are likely to be discovered by the enemy, though thunderclaps and surrounding noises can be used to mask the shots.
The price of war
The Sniper Elite series has stood out for its slow motion X-ray death camera, which functions similar to the one in 2011’s Mortal Kombat. You get to see how your bullet enters and exits a victim’s body, as well as the internal injuries that occur in its wake.
The representation is more vivid than before, particularly with the help of the game’s increased visual fidelity. The X-ray viewpoint is an amusing distraction, but it activates too often during gameplay and you will likely want to turn it off.
One shortcoming of the game is the enemy AI, which has a tendency to behave oddly at times. Enemies sometimes give up searches quickly, while others pay no mind to the deceased comrade lying on the ground nearby.
Despite feeling somewhat easy at times, Sniper Elite III improves in many areas over its predecessors. By increasing the scale of the game world, the series is finally moving away from its low key roots.
PlayStation 4 versus PC
Sniper Elite III is available on the last generation of consoles, though those wanting the current generation experience can pick it up for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. We played through the PlayStation 4 and PC to see how one compares to the other.
If you have the hardware, then the PC version of Sniper Elite III edges out the PlayStation 4 version. Both editions are evenly matched at the same resolution, with the PC version featuring better sharpness of distant textures.
The frame rate in the PlayStation 4 version drops slightly sometimes, but that can be overcome with the PC version provided it is running on the right hardware. Having said that, the frame-rate drops are few and far between, and it does not have a tangible effect on gameplay.
If you do not want to tinker around with graphical settings, then the PlayStation 4 version is the top choice. The PC version will look better at higher resolutions, though it also looks respectively when running on lower-end hardware with some of the graphical features turned down.
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