'Sniper Elite III' Will Pick You Off From A Mile Away

July 10, 2014

Not all shooters are created equal, especially in today's marketplace. From your Call of Dutys to your Battlefields, many games may play the same, but the devil is in the details. Whether it's a well-designed multiplayer experience, or just something unique about the controls, each game that comes out has to have some kind of standout feature, or else it gets lost in the release calendar. 505 Games' Sniper Elite series has carved out its own unique niche in the shooter genre by focusing heavily on one particular style of play - sniping. While the past two games have taken place in the same time period, World War II, Sniper Elite III lets virtual snipers loose on a whole new theater of war, Africa.

Developer: Rebellion
Publisher: 505 Games

Rebellion have been making a wide variety of games since 1994, and have worked on some huge franchises that include Alien vs. Predator, Star Wars Battlefront, The Simpsons Game, and even Harry Potter. Their first entry into the Sniper Elite franchise came in the form of an under the radar, cult classic, way back in 2005. Fortunately, they decided to breath some new life into the series seven years later, with the release of Sniper Elite V2, which introduced the gruesome, yet noteworthy X-Ray kill cam. This release brought the game to a new set of platforms, where it found a broader audience, and did so well that it warranted sequel in Sniper Elite III.

Sniper Elite III is a sniping game, duh. It's in the title... but it's also a little bit more than that. You don’t just sit in a snipers nest all game waiting for some sad soldier to wander by, just to end his virtual life when he least expects it. No, Sniper Elite III is a stealth game that relies heavily on sniping.

The vast majority of the game feels very realistic, as you quietly slog through the shadows of the North African battlefields of World War II as Office of Strategic Services officer Karl Fairburne. This game takes place a few years before Sniper Elite V2 and helps set up the storyline in that game as Officer Fairburne, who must collect intelligence, and ultimately stop the latest Nazi Wunderwaffe threat. In order to succeed in Sniper Elite III, you'll need to search for positions with the most cover that will allow you to clear out a path, preferably with your riffle, but you are outfitted with a host of other weaponry. Some of the tricks in Fairburne's bag include traps like landmines and trip wires, but he also has access to things like rocks that he can use to distract the other soldiers.

As you take on different missions, you can unlock upgrades for your loadout that allow you to tailor the experiences to your particular play type. Sniper Elite III also features a handful of multiplayer modes that allow you to take on hordes of Axis soldiers with some friends, or, if you'd like to work your way through the campaign with some co-op company, you can do that as well.

Fans of ranged, tactical shooters can set up camp in Sniper Elite III on all of the big platforms: PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, as well as the PC. So pick up your preferred controller, and head to the dusty North African landscape.

The Sniper Elite games appeal to a very specific kind of shooter fan: someone with patience and a steady hand. This game can be played as a reckless run and gun experience, but then it's not a very good game. The fun and satisfaction in this series is found in scoping out the lay of the land, plotting a stealthy course of action, quietly disposing of foes, and then settling into a nice spot to snipe some bad guys. It's a really slow burn, where seemingly small levels can take hours to complete, but that's what makes Sniper Elite III stand out: it's not your average WWII shooter.

This entry into the series takes everything that was enjoyable about its predecessor, and improves on it, while adding in a normally overlooked region of the war. Taking the riffle to the dusty fields of North Africa gives Sniper Elite III a unique flavor, and it should appeal to anyone that enjoyed the other games in the franchise. Newcomers should just beware that this isn't a shooting gallery game, and you're going to have to use quite a bit of strategy to work your way through a warzone undetected. But, when you find a sweet snipers nest (one that's preferably has some kind of sound to mask your shots), and you start firing one bullet at a time, it really is a lot of fun.