My buddy and I are sneaking up on a secret Nazi base. We take our positions and select our targets: two guards who are manning a sentry tower across the way. We don’t see any other soldiers to worry about and the echoes from the gunshots should be covered by the ambient noise of planes flying overhead anyway. We take our positions and slowly count down from three and shoot and everything immediately goes horribly wrong. My shot is way off. The planes do not mask the noise. And half a dozen guards hear the shot (and my escaping target alerts another half a dozen). It’s the kind of situation that ends a round in Metal Gear Solid V or Assassin’s Creed, but fortunately this is Sniper Elite 3, where screwing up is half the fun.
Sniper Elite 3 is ostensibly a partner shooter which prioritizes taking a secure position and conducting targeted executions of Nazis. These shots are often rewarded with a close up of the bullet’s damage and – rarely – an actual x-Ray depiction of bones shattering and organs exploding. Your character in the game is not only an excellent sniper but he’s also skilled at making unarmed close-quarters executions as well, giving you a variety of options for clearing out an area. The nine levels are most structured around sandbox areas with the occasional boss fight (usually a tank) to break up the routine. While there are some fun games on the horizon of 2016, there’s not a lot to look forward to if you’re a fan of cooperative titles.
To be clear, Sniper Elite 3 takes itself far more seriously than it should. There is a plot line around your heroic sniper battling Nazis in North Africa. There is a lot of allusions to themes like honor and sacrifice which is somewhat undercut by the glitchy graphics, ridiculous body count, and comically violent kill shots. But just because a game takes itself seriously doesn’t mean that you have to. The game isn’t terribly long or diverse, either; the first level is pretty similar to all of the subsequent levels with minor additions in enemies and arsenals to change things up a bit. If you like the first level, then you’ll like the whole game. If not, well, there’s always….well, there’s not a whole lot of cooperative titles out there.
After playing through a few more levels and watching me miss quite a few targets and triggering a number of Nazi turkey shoots, my buddy wonders aloud if I’m missing on purpose. By the end of the game, I wasn’t sure myself. Sniper Elite 3 is a fun mess of a game whose shortcomings in graphics and storytelling don’t overwhelm the sense of cooperative fun that the game’s forgiving gameplay provides. Whether it’s the forgiving gameplay, the over-the-top violence, or the lack of other cooperative titles out there, but Sniper Elite 3 is one we recommend for these hot summer months.
THE BEST PARTS
The cooperative gameplay is fun and light (if not particularly creative). Miss your shot? Just run up and stab the guy. Killing Nazis is endlessly fun.
THE WORST PARTS
The gameplay never really evolves and the graphics are glitchy and inconsistent.
OUR VERDICT: BUY IT
We would never, ever, recommend a title this glitchy and repetitive if it was a single player title, but as a cooperative game it works. If you want a low cost, fun cooperative title this summer, check this one out.