Sniper Elite III : Ultimate Edition
Developed By : Rebellion
Published By : Rebellion
Category : Shooter, Action, Adventure
Release Date : Oct 01, 2019
The Sniper Elite franchise has been around for a decade and a half, and to this day has been received pretty positively all around. Whereas other shooters focus more on how many bullets you can spit out and into how many bodies, this series encourages planning ahead and stealth to get through your objectives. The first two games got to see life on a Nintendo system, with the first releasing on the Wii, and V2 coming out for Wii U. Now, Sniper Elite III : Ultimate Edition has made it’s way onto the Switch making it an almost complete franchise on the Nintendo family of consoles.
In this game, players will take on the role of Karl Fairburne in June of 1942. Sent to assassinate General Franz Vahlen, he assists some British troops repel German forces in the port of Tobruk, but eventually the port is lost. Afterwards, while in Libya, Fairburne is tasked with killing some soldiers to uncover Vahlen’s location. Instead, he ends up discovering documents revealing a super weapon program developed by the Nazi’s, and now must try and stop it as well as Vahlen before it’s too late.
Crawling Into The Sniper’s Nest
The game is played from a third-person perspective and features a heavy stealth aspect amongst its shooter elements. The various missions you go out on will have you mostly engaging the enemy from a distance, but occasionally you’ll need to get in close to take them out. To do so, you’ll have your disposal a full arsenal of WWII era weapons that can be brought into missions with you, or scrounged from enemies if necessary.
When utilizing Karl’s abilities as a sniper, you’ll mostly be attacking from a distance. Sniper Elite uses realistic bullet physics, such as distance travelled, gravity, and even wind. So when lining up your shots, all of these factors will need to be accounted for. Karl has the ability to enter focus mode, holding his breath and bringing up a small reticle that displays where the bullet will hit for the currently aimed position, so you can use this as needed to help line up shots.
The farther you are from your enemy, the easier it will be to stay hidden since your shots will be hard to hear. If you find the need to engage up close, some elements within the world can be utilized to mask the sounds like sabotaged generators, running vehicles, and active fire if there is a battle going on. To help with this, the interface comes with a relocation bar that fills up if your shots are heard, and you are given three chances with it. With the first, the bar fills halfway and it means the enemy is looking for where the shot came from. Your second warning fills the bar fully and means they’ve figured out your location, and the next step is them engaging you. You are able to lay traps though, to help you if you think the situation may escalate as such.
In addition to your rifle, you’ll be able to carry a machine gun, pistol, some throwables and consumables to help you in the field. Health can be replenished with bandages and health kits, which fill two bars and your entire health respectively. There are grenades you can hurl, and landmines you can plant to give your enemies an explosive end. If you get into an active fight though, reinforcements come in and heavily, so your best bet is generally taking a few out and then running to hide.
Experience In The Battlefield
As with most shooter games, the campaign is pretty short. It spans eight missions, but the Ultimate Edition on the Switch comes with an additional four missions and some new weapons, so it gives a little more life to the single player aspect. There are adjustable difficulties as well, with the easiest including no bullet physics, while the hardest gives you the most realistic physics. Step it up with the Authentic challenge that the game even says is for “sniping purists and masochists” and restricts you from even being able to save.
But, that’s not all you get with this game, as you can also dive into some online multiplayer action. Modes available are solo and team deathmatch, as well as solo and team Distance King. This latter mode challenges you to kill your enemy from as far away as possible, and the player/team with the highest total distance wins. No Cross mode forces you to stay on your own side of the battlefield and rely solely on your sniping abilities, instead of crossing enemy lines and engaging up close, and lastly there is a Capture the Flag mode.
While the online mode was pretty fun, it has been pretty empty the times that I have logged onto it. I’m not sure if this is a timing issue, or it could even be a server thing with more activity being on the EU servers. When I have gone in, I’ve only gotten access to one or two lobbies at a time, but despite the lack of choices it’s been a very fun experience online.
However, because of the heavy focus on sniper mechanics, and the untraditional approach of stealth and tactics to a shooter game, Sniper Elite III‘s campaign mode has been the bread and butter for me in this game. I loved everything the game threw at me, whether it was sniping down enemy spotters from caves, or crawling through an enemy camp at night to learn about Vahlen’s secret weapon program.
I tried this game in handheld mode, on the TV with loose joy-cons, and with a pro controller, and this is hands-down best played with a pro controller. The game stands up pretty well in handheld, but for me the layout of the joy-cons just feels weird due to how long I’ve been playing shooter games for. If you use loose joy-cons, there is a bit of a motion control implemented that lets you finesse those sneaky headshots, but the novelty of this wore off pretty quickly for me.
Despite never having played the first two games in this franchise on their Nintendo consoles, this one performed very well on the Switch for me. I had no issues with loading, no frame dips, nothing to make playing this game frustrating. It is a very beautiful port and all this does is make me hope that Sniper Elite 4 can eventually see life in the Nintendo family as well. So if you love shooters and good sniper mechanics, and you’re a Nindie, this title can stand proud amongst the rest of your library, so don’t hold your breath…take the shot and pick this up today!