Harsh Language, Extreme Violence, Blood and Gore. This one isn’t for kids.
You’re crawling through the North African brush, then you sneak behind a couple of patrolling German troops, and climb your way to a good vantage point. You place traps at the entrances to your position, go prone, and take out your rifle. You carefully take aim at your target, waiting for one of the planes in the area to fly overhead, covering the sound of your shot. You watch your target get into a truck, and notice the truck has explosive barrels in the back. You readjust your target, and see the truck drive into a group of troops. A plane flies above you, you draw your breath, and fire.
This is the essence of Sniper Elite III, and it is only one of the many variations you could choose to combat that scenario. I happen to be a fan of clearing out as many enemies as I can while trying to keep my sound covered up, but another player could also sneak through the mission only killing designated targets, and anywhere in between.
There are a lot of game mechanics in SEIII, and it’s quite the learning curve if you’re not used to tactical shooters. Once you get the hang of things, however, it makes for a intensely fun experience.
You play as Karl Fairburne, an OSS sniper playing one-man army against the German Afrika Korps in the North African theatre of World War II. The story ostensibly consists of you hunting down the details of a German plot known as “Project Sueche”.
Really, like a Transformers movie, the plot is only there to get you to next place to shoot people. The plot is mainly told through Karl’s narration over the loading screen, which doubles as an overview of the map of your next mission. The plot does at least remind you that there is a reason for what you’re doing, and against the backdrop of World War II, remains serviceable and long as you remember that people don’t play Sniper Elite III for a riveting story.
6 out of 10
This is what you came for. The game consists of missions, but how you go about those missions is open ended, and there are multiple ways to achieve each goal.
If you like to sneak, you can use shadows and obstacles to cover your approach. If you want to go in guns blazing, you can simply start taking shots until you clear your area of the map, though you aren’t nearly as hardy as you are in other third person shooters.
The player can come upon optional objectives during each mission as well, and can ignore or pursue them as they see fit. The game also features a leveling system, with players gaining experience for kills and bonuses based on factors like distance, shot placement, and whether or not you were holding your breath. As you go up in level, you unlock new weapons and equipment.
The bullet physics in the game are quite realistic. With them completely turned on, you have to consider distance, drop, wind, and a number of other factors. If that isn’t your cup of tea, the physics can be adjusted. In fact, in addition to the conventional difficulty levels, the game offers the option of a custom difficulty, where a player could have, for instance, easy enemies and very realistic bullet physics, or tough enemies and have bullet physics turned off. This (plus the open-endedness of the missions) makes for some good replayability, which is welcome because the game is only 8 missions long.
To combat this, the main campaign can be played in co-op. The game also features the co-op challenge modes Overwatch and Survival, which are sniper-and-spotter missions and Horde mode, respectively. There is also the multiplayer, which consists of your standard modes like team deathmatch, as well as more unique modes such as “No Cross”, where you can’t actually reach the enemy team, and have to snipe.
9.2 out of 10
The game certainly looks pretty, and ran smoothly. I was able to run it on Ultra on my Lenovo Ideapad y510p without a problem. There was a little texture pop-in, but that is forgivable when you see how shadows play off objects, and how there is no graphical decline even when aiming at a target across the map.
The music was your standard orchestral fare, and there were occasional periods of silence in between encounters with the enemy. While the voice acting for Karl himself is quite good, the voice acting for everyone else is horribly cheesy and cringe-worthy. The other sounds, like bullets from a sniper a rifle, or a truck passing by, are crisp and clear.
8 out of 10
I’m not usually into tactical shooters, but I had a lot of fun with this game. I didn’t expect it to be quite as enjoyable as it was, and it surprised me. Part of the fun were the kill cams, where if you’re using your rifle, you can see your bullet penetrate the enemy and which organs it passed through. This can be turned off, as it’s pretty gruesome, but it offered quite a bit of silliness in a game that otherwise takes itself seriously.
Final Rating: 8 out of 10
The Bottom Line