Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition PlayStation 4 Review

Article first published as PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition’ on Blogcritics

Sniper Elite III, Ultimate Edition, PS4Rebellion Developments and 505 Games’ Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition is an unusual package.  Unlike many “Game of the Year” editions of games, this one is actually offered at a discount. Of course the somewhat niche game, Sniper Elite III was originally released in 2014. The other oddity about this Ultimate Edition is that it doesn’t include all of the available downloadable content, which can cause some confusion in the main menu and add-ons screens. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising, considering the strange chronology of the entire Sniper Elite series.

The original Sniper Elite game, released in 2005, follows the exploits of a master World War II sniper, Karl Fairburne on an end of the war mission in Berlin. Seven years later, the game was rebooted for the next generation of consoles, as Sniper Elite V2. With the third game, Sniper Elite III, it is actually a prequel to the first two games, following the same protagonist during a North African campaign earlier in World War II. Considering how much time the series has spent with sniper, there is very little narrative available to flesh out his character.

Sniper Elite III, Ultimate Edition, PS4If you’re looking for comparisons, Sniper Elite III is probably most similar to the core Metal Gear Solid and early Splinter Cell games. Playing as the skilled, but somewhat generic sniper, Karl Fairburne, you are equipped with standard military weapons and equipment in addition to your sniper rifle. Unlike other stealth games though, there isn’t really a penalty for forgoing stealth.  Things will get more difficult, but there is no automatic fail when you’re spotted by an enemy. Of course, none of the stealth mechanics work quite as well as they do, in the afore mentioned games, either.

The stealth mechanics in Sniper Elite III aren’t all terrible, with the last position ghost image and enemy detection meters, working pretty well. It’s just what the game considers hidden isn’t entirely clear. Along with that, the silent takedown maneuver has a lengthy delay and seems to be a bit touchy with what it considers the right position to execute the move. The actual sniping also occasionally presented similar problems too. There’s nothing more frustrating than lining up a perfect shot, pulling the trigger, and have nothing happen.

Sniper Elite III, Ultimate Edition, PS4Sniping is obviously what the Sniper Elite games are all about, and those looking for sharpshooter realism will find it in Sniper Elite III. The difficulty settings not only control the prowess of your enemies, but also allow players to customize the level of bullet trajectory realism to an unprecedented level. From no physical effects, to increased scope movement, the dropping effect of gravity, and windage. The in-game tactical assists, like mini-maps, can also be toggled. More than one undisguised shot will also alert enemies to your location.

Sniper Elite III, Ultimate Edition, PS4Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition contains the original 2014 game, as well as most of the available DLC. There are three additional single player missions, most significantly, “Save Churchill,” and six of the weapon packs. Sniper Elite III has also been expanded, in the Ultimate Edition to include six more, large multiplayer maps, a shooting range mode, “Capture the Flag” to go along with “Distance King” and “No Cross.”  There are now “Overwatch” co-op missions, where one player is the sniper and the other works as an operative.

Overall, Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition is kind of a mixed bag. Although all of the textures are sharp, the environments and models all seem a bit generic. Of course, the desert setting doesn’t help.  This is all in stark contrast to the over-the-top Sniper Elite Kill-cam. In addition to a light narrative, the single player campaign is left mostly forgettable. With its interface and AI issues, Sniper Elite III feels like an unfinished game. The multi-player and co-op are bright spots, if you have like-minded friends, but the overall package takes me back to a time when less was expected of first-person shooters and stealth games.

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