Sniper Elite 3 Hands-on Preview: shooting for supremacy

However, once your enemy is rendered a bloody, broken mess on the floor, you must flee the area and relocate before getting discovered. The Nazis aren’t just going to sit around and wait to get picked off; they’ll hear your shot and head over to your immediate vicinity pretty sharpish, so you’ll need to escape to a safe distance - indicated on the radar in the bottom left - before the reinforcements turn up. This game of shoot-and-move feels seamless and authentic, and its thanks to the competent AI that I was kept on my toes throughout. Enemy troops are also pretty vigilant, so they’ll spot you if you don’t take care to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

Rebellion championed the use of more open environments for Sniper Elite 3 in
comparison to its predecessor; indeed, this seems to be the case from my two hours with the game. Areas were fairly expansive, allowing for greater tactical freedom, but also giving your enemies more opportunity to flank you from all directions. I found myself judiciously observing enemy patrols and tagging them with my binoculars, and making ample use of the crawl function in order to successfully navigate unseen, before eliminating my opponent surreptitiously. But Sniper Elite 3 isn’t only open in game-world terms. It also allows you to go about the mission in any way you see fit.

Obviously, your trusty sniper rifle is an intrinsic part of your arsenal, but if you want, you can utilize other weapons, such as a machine gun or my favorite, the silenced pistol. I experimented around a lot, but found stealth to be the most rewarding and tactically sound method of accomplishing my objective. The game lacks an authentic cover system so to speak, and as such going in commando with a machine gun didn’t feel quite as mechanically sound as a quieter approach. Silent melee kills are also available, offering further incentive to sneak up on your foes, while the more brash player may wish to opt for grenades or land mines to neutralize the Nazi threat. This is all tied into a XP system, which rewards you with various unlocks (weapons etc) depending on your performance. My meticulous planning obviously played off, as I activated the reward-heavy ‘Ghost Mode’ several times in my playthrough.

Of course, I can’t wrap things up without mentioning the new ‘vehicle kill’ segments, which track your shot into the innards of lightly-armored trucks once you’ve ascertained their weak point. This is typically the fuel tank, which when shot, rewards you with a glorious explosion, destroying the track and barbecuing anyone without range.

Sniper Elite 3 is scheduled for release in Europe in late June and early July in the U.S. Judging from my hands-on time with the game, Rebellion appears to have successfully married stealth, action and accessibility into one compelling, methodical package without eschewing the familiarity and uniqueness that fans have come to expect from the brand.

Stay tuned to PSU for our full review later this month.

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    Release date (US):
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