There are hundreds of shooting games on the market, but none of them explore the art of killing from a distance as “Sniper Elite” series. “Sniper Elite” is known for not just its shooting but for its brutal slow motion X-ray death sequences. When you finally line up your shot and make your kill, time slows down and the game zooms in and shows the path of the bullet as it travels through the victim’s skull or body and shows all of the gory details.
The new “Sniper Elite III” (SE 3) expands on the conventions of the series with a new approach to the standard linear gameplay. Now the levels are more open ended allowing you to decide how you are going to tackle each situation. The point of the game is still to find your target, line up your shot, and perform a shot in order to get your brutal X-ray kill. The long range and slow motion mechanic is the only thing that keeps it from being just another first person shooter, but that’s okay because it takes a while to get old.
Just like many other shooters “SE 3” is set during World War II, but the player is a sniper, not a front line soldier. The game is set in North Africa in 1942 and the Nazi’s are building a super weapon to destroy the allied forces. You play as Karl Fairburne, he is an American secret agent who disguises himself as a German Sniper to infiltrate bases and stop them from obtaining nuclear technology. The terrain is very different from Germany, there are mountains and plains, significant to a sniper game because this allows you to hide or set up your shots in a bigger variety of places. “SE 3” also allows for greater customization of weapons such as new gun barrels and different scopes that can increase shooting distance.
Sniping isn’t your only job responsibility, you also have to sabotage as much stuff as you can by using your stealth abilities to sneak around taking out guards and planting explosives. The stealth gameplay is just okay, it doesn’t feel like a real stealth game but it gets the job done. You do have to get good at it because if you are found you don’t stand up too well in a fire fight, you die very easily. Most of the gameplay is the great sniper shooting sections. After you fire a few shots you have to find a new hiding spot because the enemies will come after you, so you have to land the best shot you can and then run to a new location.
When you are done with the single player campaign you can try playing the game cooperatively with a friend or play competitive online multiplayer. Co-op is fun because you can watch each others backs and set up simultaneous synchronized shots which is very exhilarating. The only bummer is there is no split screen coop, you have to play online with a friend who has the game. Online competitive play is pretty crazy because with a bigger group it usually devolves into super long range, free-for-all shoot outs. One of the best ways is playing with a small group, it is very satisfying to set traps and patiently setting up your shots against a human player is much more of a challenge then the single player computer A.I. Another online feature is the downloadable DLC mode that gives you the ability to kill Hitler, this is a lot of people’s reason for trying the game.
Overall “Sniper Elite 3” is a decent game. It isn’t a fast paced shooter like a “Call of Duty” and it isn’t as polished of an experience but it does have some great gameplay mechanics and it is fun to play. If you ever wanted to see what it is like to be a real life sniper this feels like a great simulation of that. If you are looking for something action packed this isn’t the game for you. It is much more methodical. It requires patience to find a great hiding spot and to line up the perfect shot. If you can do that you get some of the most gruesome slow motion kills which are very entertaining and is the real centerpiece of the game.
Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.