Rebellion Development’s Sniper Elite series are tactical WWII era shooter game with a focus on more authentic ballistics and emphasis on stealth than you’ll see in similar games like Call of Duty. The pace is slower, the levels are less linear, and (for those with a strong stomach and a taste for violence) there’s a slow-motion bullet cam that zeroes in on all those gruesome, skull-crushing headshots you’ll be landing from across the map.
Sniper Elite 3 is the third game in the series (there are four total), and takes place in the often-ignored desert grasslands and canyons of the North African front. The game puts you in the familiar boots of gritty SOE marksman Karl Fairburne as he sets off to eliminate high-value Axis targets and uncovers secrets of a new Nazi super tank, ultimately setting off to destroy it in the game’s final mission.
How to play Sniper Elite 3
Sniper Elite 3 takes a different approach to shooter combat than most games, favoring stealth and guerrilla warfare over the typical run and gun. You can still run into the fray with a sub-machine gun or rocket launcher, but you’ll be awarded minimal points; remember you’re supposed to be playing as an elite sniper!
As such, the game rewards a stealth approach: Performing stealth assassinations, uncovering sniper nests, scoring sound-masked headshots from across the map, and setting up ambushes to obliterate vehicle convoys.
How to aim
On PC the mouse controls the camera, fires the rifle (left click), and zoom (right click), while the scroll wheel and numerical keys allow you to swap between weapons. The wheel also allows for greater zoom when you have the rifle scoped in, or your binoculars equipped.
The binoculars are a particularly useful tool in Sniper Elite 3, as they allow you to tag several enemies (and vehicles) similar to the mechanic used in the Far Cry series. This allows you to keep track of enemy movements even when they’re behind cover, no matter the distance.
You’ll spend most of the game peering through the scope of your sniper rifle, and novice players may be frustrated that the cross-hairs don’t always guarantee 100% accuracy. Sniper Elite is a more realistic game, meaning that bullets are noisy and affected by things like distance, wind, and travel speed. As such you’ll need to take these factors into consideration before taking your shot. The best tip is to hold your breath (press ‘E’ to steady your shot) and wait for the red reticle to retract for maximum accuracy.
How to mantle
As you traverse the expansive levels, you can also make use of the terrain by pressing space bar to interact with the environment in various ways, climbing ladders, mantling specific surfaces, using turrets, or vaulting over low obstacles.
Is it open world?
Sniper Elite 3 is not open world the same way Far Cry or Skyrim is, but each level takes a non-linear approach, letting you decide the best way to tackle your objective each time.
This also makes the game more replayable, allowing you to discover new angles, plot out new patrol ambushes, and try new weapons and loadouts, which are unlocked as you complete the story missions and rank up.
How many missions are there?
There are eight missions in Sniper Elite 3, which may make it sound like it’s a short game. While there aren’t many levels, their scope and non-linearity can make them take as long as an hour each, particularly if you play like you’re encouraged to – with patience and subtlety. After completing a second playthrough on a higher difficulty we’d put in over 20 hours.
What’s in the season pass?
The season pass comes with a variety of new weapons, including camo skins for some of the older guns, as well as four totally new missions – save Churchill, as well as the infamous “kill Hitler” scenario.
If you’re craving a longer game, this is a good way to get it!
Is it better than Sniper Elite 4?
Sniper Elite 4 is a very similar game to Sniper Elite 3, and if you like one you’ll certainly like the other just as much. Sniper Elite 4 has some improvements, such as a more liberal kill cam, improved AI, better graphics, more responsive strategies, and larger maps. In the end, though, if Sniper Elite 4 is your cup of tea, then Sniper Elite 3 will satisfy you in much the same way. You’re still going to spend most of your game crouched in wait, lining up a headshot while enemies meander towards traps you’ve set up.
How much is the game?
Sniper Elite 3 is available on PS4, XB1, and Windows 10. You can buy it for $29.99 on Steam, and $49.99 if you want the season pass included. Get it today and start showing the Nazis who’s boss – one cross-map headshot at a time!