The bullet cam has been further enhanced in Sniper Elite 3, with some visual effects that are either gruesome, or quite tasty, depending upon how mentally disturbed you happen to be. As the bullet hits a target, usually a head, it cuts to a skull view showing where the bullet hit accompanied by some explicit skull shattering and blood spurting. It’s graphic stuff.
The bullet cam also works on vehicles, and in one sequence a truck needed to be blown up in order to cause a nice, noisy diversion. Taking aim at the engine cover it was blown off with the first shot. The second shot was fired directly into the engine, whereupon the camera switched to the bullet cam and you could see exactly where the bullet hit the engine as it cut to an internal view of the technical workings. A nice touch.
As we progressed through the level there were sniper nests, a new feature for Sniper Elite 3. These locations are dotted around maps and they make for perfect sniping positions. In one particular case, directly above a large petrol tank conveniently placed next to an armoured vehicle. You can probably guess what was going to happen next. By shooting off the petrol tank’s tap mechanism the explosion caused a chain reaction with vehicle after vehicle going up in balls of lovely flame.
While the game is about sniping, there’s more in the Sniper Elite 3 arsenal to trick the enemy into dangerous situations, including traps and detonation devices. A cleverly placed mine at the top of a ladder can easily dispose of an enemy, and it’s best to think ahead by placing them down so that when you are spotted you can make an escape and leave at least one foolish pursuer dead. Even better, throw a stone and lure them to the mine with the noise then laugh as they explode.
TNT also proved useful in taking out the artillery gun which was one of the demo mission’s objectives. For some reason known only to the AI Germans, and Rebellion, there were petrol canisters placed directly below the artillery placement. Sneak underneath the gun, set up some timed TNT and it’s mission accomplished. Big gun goes up in flames taking the guards with it.
The big question is whether Sniper Elite 3 will be an improvement over the previous two games.
In terms of numbers, at least, this installment has the edge over previous entries. In Sniper Elite 2 the single player campaign was around 8 hours long; this time it’s 12. In Sniper Elite 2 the maps were linear, while in Sniper Elite 3 they look to be larger, and offer more approach routes. The previous game had around 8 AI on a level, but now there can be 30+, or “no limit” as Rebellion put it. In Sniper Elite 2 there were 5 vehicles, but now there are 9. There’s now more equipment to play with such as TNT and there are also more artillery units. Finally, there are now 15+ custom reticules and four loadout slots.
There is one thing that does stay the same however, and that’s the actual weapons. Rebellion plan to release more weapons for Sniper Elite 3 as DLC once the game launches later this year.
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Sadly, our demonstration did not include any multiplayer action, but we can tell you a little about what to expect. Sniper Elite 3 will handle up to 12 players in multiplayer as opposed to 8 in the previous game, with the promise of an improved lobby system. The whole campaign can also be played co-operatively with dual roles, the Agent and the Sniper, each with different tools at their disposal. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Nazi Zombie Army 2 in co-op so this has similar potential.
I would like to point out that the demonstration we were shown was the PS4 version (booo!) but Rebellion did show the great strides they’ve made to make the game extra special for the now more powerful consoles and the PC.
The demo was in 1080p and the good news is that the PC version will be able to go to whatever your rig can handle. But it’s Rebellion’s tessellation technology that has vastly improved the visuals. An artillery gun model was shown with the old tech and it was square and really not very smooth. When the same model was applied to the new tech it looked brilliant. It was round, smooth and just a lot more detailed. This explains why Sniper Elite 3 is vastly improved in the visuals department, and why the characters now have more components for you to burst like bulging blood sausages with your bullets of death.
With consoles having caught up slightly with the PC it’s good to see that we’re going to be playing a Sniper Elite that can make use of the extra power.
With only one level on show it’s hard to tell how diverse the overall game will be, but so far it’s looking very promising. The thought of playing through this co-operatively actually excites me in a non-sexual way.