Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition Review – Nintendo Switch
October 2, 2019
Developed By: Rebellioninteract
Published By: Rebellion
Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs
Thank you so much to Rebellion for providing a review code
Sniper Elite is one of those rare third-person shooters that breaks the mold and stands out in the genre. I started playing the series with the newest release, Sniper Elite 4 on PC and I had a fantastic time with it. Now we’re going back a bit in time with the release of the Ultimate Edition of Sniper Elite 3. Sniper Elite 3 may have aged a bit, but its transition to Nintendo Switch has reinvigorated it with a terrific port.
Similar to the other Sniper Elite titles you take on the role of series protagonist Karl Fairburn. Your mission takes place in North Africa in the middle of World War II. Your goal is to infiltrate enemy lines to learn about and stop a deadly secret project. Will you live through another dangerous mission? Or will this be your last?
Don’t expect much out of the story besides a change in the usual World War II setting. It doesn’t try to be anything more than a mediocre war style story. It’s fairly basic and doesn’t do anything to make you interested in what’s happening
Sniper Elite 3 is a 3D third-person shooter with stealth mechanics. The main solo player game mode is the campaign which spans across 8 distinct missions. Every mission takes place in a new large open map with its own objectives, side objectives, and collectibles.
Objectives slightly vary, but they usually center around gaining intel or sabotaging weaponry. The main objectives will appear in the distance as you’re playing with an indicator of how far they are away. Side objectives also appear in the distance but can be hidden by going to your map.
Sniper Elite 3 much like the other entries in the series is focused on stealth. Crouching, hiding and planning out tactical movement strategies is important if you want to be as efficient as possible. Firing at enemies will alert them of your current location whether your bullet hits or not. When an enemy is alerted a signal pops up to notify you to relocate a certain distance away from your original location. If you shoot at an enemy a second time while the alert symbol is flashing the enemies will run towards you to investigate where you are. It will take some time, but if an enemy spots you out in the open for long enough their caution meter will fill and they will attack.
You’re much weaker in close quarters combat so it’s recommended that you’re constantly moving around to avoid these encounters. Some locations have broken generators nearby that you can sabotage to have it cause noise. If you shoot at an enemy when an object is making loud sounds, it will muffle your shots sound and keep your location concealed.
If you haven’t guessed it already Sniper Elite 3 is about putting a bullet in nazi’s skulls from a distance with your trusty rifle. There are multiple different rifles you can unlock and choose from, each with their own set of stats such as recoil, damage, etc. When you scope in with your rifle you can zoom in and out to get a better view of your target. When you’re ready to fire you can press L to hold in your breath which causes your shot to steady. You can even see how fast your heart is beating with the BPM scale that appears when scoped. Should you decide to play on any of the game’s difficulty modes besides the easiest you will also have to take ballistics into consideration. Ballistics takes into account wind speed, the weather and bullet drop for each one of your shots. It’s not very realistic, but it adds to the game’s depth and forces you to focus on precise shots.
What really makes Sniper Elite such an interesting series is what happens after you fire that bullet. Any scoped shot that hits your target comes with a slow-motion, X-ray kill cam, where you watch the bullet travel and see its final resting place. No matter what part of the body you strike a message will pop up to tell you what type of kill you got along with EXP for it. Hit someone in the kidneys and get some bonus EXP, maybe you got him right in the eye, here’s some more bonus EXP. The detail that comes with the kill cam and the incentive to try for specific types of kills makes each one feel rewarding. Eventually watching every kill cam grows tiresome, but thankfully you can turn it off by going into the game’s settings.
Killing Nazis, completing objectives and finding collectibles will all net you EXP and once you receive enough you’ll level up. Leveling up will provide you with a new title and unlock some equipment and new weapon. Many weapons are unlocked from the beginning, but there are still attachments and other items to unlock.
Although the game’s called Sniper Elite 3, that doesn’t mean it’s only about being a long-range sniper. In fact, you have access to two extra sets of weapon classes that come in the form of a secondary weapon for when you’ve been caught by the enemy and a suppressed pistol for short-range stealth kills. The secondary weapon choices are submachine guns, a shotgun, or even a rocket launcher. Furthermore, by sneaking up on an enemy you can tap the X button to perform a stealth kill. Once an enemy is killed you can go over to them and loot their body by holding the Y button to replenish your ammunition, item supply and sometimes find a collectible.
Items are another resource that you’ll want to make use of during your long missions. Medkits, bandages, grenades, landmines, dynamite, and trip mines are a few of the items that you gain access to. By holding in the R bumper you can access your item wheel and set certain items or weapons to quick shortcuts on the directional pad.
I’ve mentioned a fair amount about collectibles and that’s because there’s a fair amount to be found across Sniper Elite 3’s missions. Any and every house, tent, or Nazi can be carrying a collectible and you’ll want to find each one, whether you’re in it for the EXP or that sense of 100% completion that you’ll die trying to attain. Collectables come in all shapes and sizes from playing cards to weapon upgrades and an abundance of war diaries that you can read. There are also two other collectibles, called Sniper Nests & Longs Shots. Each map has a few Sniper Nest and as the name implies they’re sniper towers that you can infiltrate by killing the Nazi who’s taken up residence.
For what it is Sniper Elite 3 is a ton of fun, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have issues. The checkpoint system is terribly implemented and forces you to constantly manually save unless you want to lose progress. Many of the objectives upon completion don’t activate a checkpoint and I found myself losing a fair amount of progress when I died.
Another issue I came across was with the combat when you weren’t attacking from afar. Up close combat with your secondary felt underwhelming and didn’t have the same excitement as blasting enemies with bullets from a few hundred meters away. Luckily, the game’s main focus is on the stealth and sniping mechanics
Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition comes with the 3 DLC missions that originally were released separately. These missions are roughly 40-50 minutes long similar to the length of the campaign missions (not counting collecting each collectible). One of the missions lets you assassinate Hitler and if that’s not an awesome DLC mission, I don’t know what is!
Besides the campaign, you also have the ability to play local and online co-op along with competitive matches as well. The online is very amusing and if the player base stays around then it’s a lot of fun to spend some time with. Should you be on the hunt for a more single-player oriented game mode you can try out Survival. Survival mode gives you two different maps to play on and tasks you with surviving waves of enemies and aiming for the highest score possible. It’s fun, but it, unfortunately, gets boring quickly.
Should you want less or more of a challenge, Sniper Elite 3 also offers 4 different difficulty options. Motion controls are also available for those who enjoy using them.
The setting for Sniper Elite 3 takes us to North Africa, which is different from most other WWII themed games. Every mission takes place in a completely different environment with changes in the infrastructure and color palette. The transition to Switch is fantastic with overall smooth visuals and nice-looking textures. The character faces look rough, but that has more to do with Sniper Elite 3’s age.
Sniper Elite 3 is a technical wonder on the Switch. I rarely had any significant frame rate drops even in handheld mode. My experience was overall very smooth and the issues I did have were not very significant. The enemy AI is a bit wonky and at times will get stuck in objects, causing movement glitches to occur. The kill cam also has issues as there are slight freezes during the animation of the bullet hitting your opponent. As a whole Sniper Elite 3 is a fantastic port on the technical side and Rebellion deserves some praise.
I understand some players are getting tired of ports, but Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition is a truly fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch library. For a console lacking third-person shooters, this is a truly entertaining game with hours of content. The sniping mechanics are some of the most interesting found in any game I’ve played. Getting into close-quarters combat is a bit boring and along with various glitches does damper Sniper Elite 3 overall. Luckily, these issues don’t hold it back from being an enjoyable stealth-based third-person shooter. Now get out there and go blast some bullets into Nazi skulls, that’s an order!