Sniper Elite 3
Sniper Elite III Preview - One Shot
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Linearity dressed up as faux-freedom, rigid objectives and working through interconnected corridors for levels typified the experience of playing Sniper Elite V2, a game that promised a lot but failed to live up to its potential.

In a bid to combat that, Sniper Elite III is setting out on a very different path from what we've come to expect from the series.

Rebellion Developments' goal with their latest take on the sniper-shooter sub-genre is to create something altogether more open-plan, a game that provides options at every turn and one that encourages you to think before you act and act before you die. Sandbox, I believe, is the associated catch-all term.

Like the rest of the series before it, Sniper Elite III sets itself in the theatre of World War II; more specifically in the underexplored portion of the conflict that raged in North Africa. The map we're shown, the third level of the game, is set in Egypt and makes good on the goal of providing larger spaces of play. Various passages, bridges, open areas, clumps of buildings, military depots and vantage points combine to provide a range of options for getting from point A to B with a view to completing the objectives that lay scattered across the map.

Four primary objectives must be fulfilled to pass on to the next level, with two optional secondary objectives included for completionists. In which order you complete them is up to you.

One such primary objective involves disabling a long-range 88mm cannon centrally located on the map and positioned on a stabilising platform of metal girders and walkways. Various options exist when it comes to decommissioning it: blow up the ammunition crates stationed beside it, dispatch the crew and sneak in to plant explosives or stealthily move below the platform and cause an explosion that collapses the whole thing.

The job can be made slightly easier by combining two of the options; namely, killing a couple of patrolling guards and using the now clear path to make getting underneath the platform a safer proposition. Like previous Sniper Elite games, holding your breath brings up a red dot on your scope that shows you where you must aim to allow for the effect of wind and gravity on your bullet's trajectory. Holding your breath and shooting only when the 88mm gun itself fires a shell (the sound masking your own gun's shot) results in two dead guards. Easy.

You can now move in and optionally drag the bodies away to prevent them being found by other guards, but in this instance doing so would mean passing through so many choke points that it's probably safer to leave them where they are.

With explosives placed on an oil drum that has puzzlingly been left underneath the cannon's platform, almost as though the game designers knew we were coming, all that's left is to retreat a safe distance and bring the whole structure to its knees. Objective complete.

The explosion causes all nearby guards to enter a state of high alert and actively begin searching the area. It's during moments like this that the design team warn you to stay in the shadows and avoid undertaking anything but the most necessary of movement.

If you are seen, a brand new 'relocation' phase is activated that tasks you with hightailing it away from your last known location. A pop-up on your HUD informs you as to how far away you need to move before you're safe, effectively acting as a means of letting you in on exactly which area of the map the guards are concentrating their search for you.

You're sometimes forced into relocating even when you haven't been seen. Firing too many shots from the same place results in the enemy being able to pinpoint your position, setting up a core gameplay loop of: shoot, move, identify new sniping point, shoot and move again.

This was the idea of previous Sniper Elite games, of course, but 3's more open environments make your decisions as to where to move, and how to move there, more poignant and involved.

Poignancy of decision is compounded by the fact that the health system has been changed wholesale. Abandoned is the regenerative approach of the last game, with medikits now the only way to refill the yellow health meter sitting on the bottom left side of your HUD. The level we're shown is largely devoid of such medikits, forcing a slow pace as you make sure you're safe at all times.

To help with that you're able to tag any enemies you can pinpoint through your binoculars, enabling you to see their movements even when they're behind a rock or standing on the other side of a truck. Rebellion is trying to push the realism angle as much as possible, but, it would seem, you can't just throw away any and all 'gamey' elements for the sake of simulation.

The series' trademark x-ray killcam is back in full force, depicting the exact path your bullet takes when entering and exiting your victim's body. It was gory before, but an extra layer of muscle and flesh makes it gorier still.

More interesting is the inclusion of a killcam for destroying vehicles. Shooting the vent from the front of a truck, for example, gives you access to the vulnerable engine within. A second well-placed shot triggers the slow-motion, x-ray killcam and shows you just how your single bullet has managed to cause a combustion engine circa-1940 to ignite and eventually explode.

It's an odd 'feature' to add, although it does give you a moment to reflect on just how much damage a sniper rifle is capable of. Which, we imagine, is precisely the point.

Presently, we've only seen the game up and running on a PS4 - the console easily handling the wide vistas and various explosions. A short tech demo is revealed to us that highlights the upgrade from PS3 to PS4, focusing on how improved tessellation results in the complete removal of blocky, angular models.

A cannon's barrel on the PS4 is perfectly round, on the PS3 it is not. It's an unsurprising approach to technology for a game seemingly obsessed over the small details.

If Rebellion can consistently get those small details right throughout the entirety of the game, adding micro focus to the grander approach to level design, then Sniper Elite III really could be the game that many wished Sniper Elite V2 had been.

Sniper Elite III has yet to be given a release date.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #1 by citizen666
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 03:16:38 PM
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Finnished V2 a couple of weeks ago. As flawed as it was, it was pretty fun nonetheless. I thought the bullet cam would become boring after a while, yet even towards the end it was still fun to watch. Looking forward to this one.

Forum Posts: 244
Comment #2 by m1 yid
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 03:31:19 PM
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I'm 50/50 on this title. Hopefully they can make it sharper than the last one.

Forum Posts: 1189
Comment #3 by gazmaster1
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 03:33:45 PM
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Next gen nut shots or no sale.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #4 by danqrl
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 03:39:06 PM
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Loved the last ine, they need to next get the AI so that your first shot doesn't result in every enemy knowing exactly where you are. Obviously if you stand in the open shooting you should be spotted but in the last one it didn't matter how good your firing position once you fired they all knew where you were.

Forum Posts: 250
Comment #5 by Rose Knight789
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 03:58:03 PM
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Don't trust any game with 505 games publishing company more often than not they drop the ball with games. Especially with releasing patching for payday 2.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #6 by AnnoSeed
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 04:28:12 PM
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I still enjoyed the game, it wasn't outstanding but it was still fun seeing the X-ray kills

Forum Posts: 1214
Comment #7 by ginge88isfun
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 04:56:34 PM
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I enjoyed Sniper Elite V2, so i'll enjoy playing this title when it comes out.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #8 by GRIM REAPER 25
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 05:01:21 PM
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i really enjoyed sniper elite v2 no doubt gonna enjoy the 3rd game as well :)

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #9 by paramoreRyan
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 05:33:29 PM
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Loved the V2 demo but never bought it due to backlog... Will definitely look to pick this up

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #10 by ViNyLek
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 05:51:32 PM
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I tried these sniper games back when they came out, and found them to be utter shit, save for X-ray cam (but then I love them in every game they're featured=P). This at least sounds entertaining and more open approach to objectives is exactly what it needed. Might be the one I actually pick up and finish...

Forum Posts: 55
Comment #11 by Throrin
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 06:20:27 PM
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I enjoyed V2 with all its flaws and i will definitely play V3 .. BUT .. do not get me wrong; the above pictures do not compliment a Sniper game when you see somebody ready to "snipe" someone that is ... ehm! ... some feet away!!! (you can either almost punch him) :-(

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #12 by Games 4 Ever
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 06:44:36 PM
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All those "Quickscoping" and "Trickshoting" idiots should play this, maybe they would learn how to use a sniper properly.

Forum Posts: 53
Comment #13 by Zergadooful
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 07:54:21 PM
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WWII sandbox game set in Africa? Sounds awesome, I can't wait for more information. I liked V2 but with abysmal stealth and linear levels it got old fast. I really hope this turns out good

Forum Posts: 394
Comment #14 by Darkrenegade25
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 08:42:40 PM
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Please make the zombie version available for the next gen consoles I BEG YOU it looked so fun on PC plz make this for us :(

Forum Posts: 12521
Comment #16 by Spanish Assault
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 08:48:25 PM
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excited for this game...loved V2.

Forum Posts: 450
Comment #17 by deluxnugs
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 10:21:11 PM
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sniper elite was sweet and had some good achievements. ill be on this day one. last i hread it would include a full on coop zombie army campaign.

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #18 by ViNyLek
Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 10:51:51 PM
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@#14 It really wasn't.... I bought it for $2 on steam and still felt ripped of haha

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #19 by StinkyPete2021
Friday, February 07, 2014 @ 01:18:59 AM
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I can't wait for this game, Sniper V2 was one of the funner games I played last year (I know it came out in 2012).

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #20 by wardiephil2020
Friday, February 07, 2014 @ 02:26:11 PM
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V2 was an epic game did it on hard first play through and loved it. Been meaning to pick it up again to 1k the game

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #21 by Ol School Yeti
Friday, February 07, 2014 @ 04:04:02 PM
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Was disappointed with the first game, haven’t touched the second game, maybe third game will be the charm I’m looking for to try this title again..

Forum Posts: 429
Comment #22 by WizardFlipper
Sunday, February 09, 2014 @ 09:16:53 PM
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Forum Posts: 16
Comment #23 by TotemicWeevil
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 01:19:15 PM
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Even though I've played 2 and completed it, I think I might just have to dig it out and play it again in preparation for 3. Can't wait for this!

Forum Posts: 265
Comment #26 by Whateverman
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 12:41:38 PM
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SE V2 was good, but far from great. X-Cam should have gotten stale by the end of the game, but it was a great gameplay mechanic that I enjoyed all the way through the game :-) 6/10 is what I would have given it, everything that happened outside the sniping was terrible :-(

Looking forward to trying it on the X1, but so far the X1 has not proven to be next-gen. 720P and -60fps ain't what I was looking for...
If it is 1080P and close to 60fps I'll get it on the X1, but if it is not I'll have to consider buying a Ps4(hated the Ps3 with a vengeance, but Ps4 has got alot of things going for it...)

Forum Posts: 76
Comment #27 by Play Up Pomp3y
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 04:03:23 PM
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Another V2 fanboy here! I'm hoping it's not too big a jump from "linear" to "sandbox" - levels might get like the later Hitman games where you spend more time figuring out exactly what the hell you're meant to be doing rather than enjoying the game. Don't fancy spending 15 mins crawling across a big open space time and again trying to find the ideal way to shoot 2-3 guys!

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #28 by Blashyrkh
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:19:21 PM
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I loved Sniper Elite 2, much more than i liked sniper: ghost warrior for example. I really like the sandbox idea on this one

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #29 by U HAVE MY BOW
Monday, March 03, 2014 @ 10:48:09 PM
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Looks GOod.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #30 by APEDED
Monday, March 10, 2014 @ 03:03:49 PM
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Sniper Elite V2 was a delight
Loved it didnt get to finish it though
Sniper Ghost Warrior is nothing compared to this but that said i think this game will be cool
cant wait for it

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #31 by SentinelGamer
Sunday, March 30, 2014 @ 04:56:25 PM
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This looks pretty good and a much better setting than what i have seen from the other games.....I do not like the look of previous ones:(

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Game Info
505 Games


US July 01, 2014
Europe June 27, 2014

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