Sniper Elite III | reviews, news & interviews
Sniper Elite III
Sniper Elite III
Action, if not morality, in the sights of this sniping action game
Sometimes virtual violence can simply be fun, even morally dubious violence. Sniper Elite III is pretty reprehensible and fairly morally indefensible. It gleefully glamorises violence. Yet throughout, it's fun. Really good fun.
Sniper Elite's key selling point, the thing that defines the series above all else, is a repellent, yet hypnotic, slow-motion kill-cam. Improved for the latest game, it shows your long-range bullet entering through skin, muscle, sinew; shattering through bone; destroying internal organs before leaving your Nazi enemy writing in agony on the ground, before expiring in gouts of blood.
Add on the slow motion grunts, crunches and wet slopping sounds as the bullet penetrates your enemy and Krafft-Ebbing would have a field day with a controller on this. The game left a dirty, greasy feeling on the hands, but despite that and its non-existent plotting, it remained consistently compelling.
As a sniper for the OSSin WWII, behind enemy lines and disrupting enemy plans while on the hunt for a sadistic general, the plot and your gruff, monosyllabic anti-hero don't really come into play much. What matters is that in moving Sniper Elite III from the Berlin of its predecessor to North Africa the game moves from narrow linear corridors to huge, open maps.
Here there's much more scope to move around, finding ways through the complex environments – spotting ideal snipers' nests, using enemy generators as sound cover for your shots and moving off fast when spotted. As such the game rapidly moves from one just about sniping to a flowing mix of stealthy melee kills, rapid-fire action escapes, and the held breath, zoomed scope and killcam payoff of sniping from afar.
It's in sniping the game has it best moments – and it helps conceal the dreadful artificial intelligence of the enemies also. Perched alone on a rocky outcrop, your breath slow and steady, lining up the shot with your distance markers, then the shot... tension, release, repeat – it's dumb, simple and dubious stuff. But it keeps you hooked all the way through.
- Sniper Elite III is out now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 (version tested, PS4). Developed by Rebellion and published by 505 Games.
- Read other gaming reviews on theartsdesk
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