E3 2014: Sniper Elite 3 Hands-On Impressions
The Sniper Elite franchise is one that is acting as the flag-bearer of it’s specific genre. It’s sniper-action is swift and brutal, but it’s the sections in-between that kind of pulled the game down in past years. I had about a half an hour with the game and was able to experience some nice snipery goodness that proves that Sniper Elite 3 will be a far greater experience than it’s previous iterations.
The first shot is always the most nerve-wracking. I lined it up, held my breath and pulled the trigger. The bullet-cam showed a projectile whirling through the air, entering the right eye-socket, exploding chunks of brain and then blasting out the back of the skull. Bullet-cams and slow-mo’s get old in most games, but definitely not this one. There is something so serene about watching a bullet whiz through the air, smashing through a skull, or splitting the pair of binoculars the enemy is wearing and everything it hits thereafter. The bullet-cam, a staple of the franchise, remains and was actually given an upgrade.
The signature of the Sniper Elite franchise was given an upgrade and will now feature muscle layers and the circulatory system. What does this mean? Well, putting a round through the heart of an enemy will show it tearing through the pectoral muscle, piercing the heart which will show it stopping the blood flow, and then tearing out through the back muscles. More detail is always a good thing, and it’s even better when you’re mowing down the enemy.
Karl Fairburne is, once again, the protagonist sniper dujour of the game. But, where the past games were featured in an urban setting that encouraged corridor-type gameplay, Sniper Elite 3 takes place behind the Nazi lines in North Africa. The new scenery not only provides lush, excotic environments, it drastically opens-up the playing field.
The portion I played in the demo, while not open-world, allowed for various paths to my objectives, which was destroying the enemy’s mortar positions. I had the ability to attack them in any order I chose and in whatever way I saw possible. Outside of scripted sequences, you can virtually stealth your way through any encounter. Sneaking up behind and knifing your enemy feels great, and if things do go awry, you can flank back ground them and pull out your trusty sniper rifle or the other bevy of weapons.
Another feature added to the fifth game in the series (yeah it’s kind of confusing) was the vehicle kill-cam. Now you can tag vehicles just like you do with human targets and watch the slow-mo carnage ensue. I put a round straight through the gas tank of a truck hauling soldiers and watched them explode into bits. The truck was at a standstill, but Rebellion explained you can do things such as, shoot at the engine of a moving truck to immobilize it, which will allow you to pick-off the enemies one-by-one or kill them all by putting a round in the gas tank.
Masking your shots is also better in this game than in those prior. A small ear-like icon will be displayed on the upper part of the screen when a loud sound, such as a bomb is dropped or a generator back-fires, thus allowing you to use your rifle to pick-apart enemies unknowingly.
Having played a good portion of Sniper Elite V2, it’s safe to say that Sniper Elite features a bevy of upgrades and provides us with a more open environment to win the war over the Nazis. Enjoy the trailer below.
Sniper Elite 3 is being developed by Rebellion, published by 505 Games and will be release on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One on July 1, 2014.
* all images obtained via the Sniper Elite main page here