Back in 2012, the developers at Rebellion released Sniper Elite V2 on Steam, a game loved by both fans and critics. Years later the game would receive a remaster, which even launched on the Switch earlier this year. With such high success and praise, another game in the series was almost certain. This new game would vastly improve upon its predecessor, bringing in larger maps, an enhanced stealth system, and a new setting for the story. This prequel game would later be launched on the Switch under the title Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition.
As the name of the game suggests, the full experience of the title is offered here in this port. All of the single player and multiplayer content as well as all additional DLC for the original game are included. There are also exclusive additions just for the Switch version, such as motion control options and enhanced Pro Controller support. Though to be fair, the addition of motion controls to this game actually works great. It seems that developers are finally discovering that using gyro to help aim works better than just straight up dual analog. On top of that, the HD rumble is also put to some amazing use, allowing you to feel the character’s heartbeat as you attempt to line up a shot and you can feel the impact of bullet as well.
One of the strongest assets of this stealth shooter is in the freedom it offers. Every mission gives you its bare-bones objective, and you are free to complete them however you like. You can sneak around enemy territory stealth killing enemies one by one, or you can keep your distance and try sniping enemies from afar. This game tries deterring you from running and gunning your way through, partially by allowing enemies to deal a ton of damage to you and your guns are more difficult to utilize in close quarters combat. Besides guns you also get a ton of optional tools like mines, rocks, dynamite, and other gadgets that you can use in any given situation. There are hundreds of ways to complete an objective and that gives this game a ton of replay value.
Environments play a crucial role in successfully completing mission objectives. Since you’re just one man going up against an army of soldiers, you’ll have to use the scenery as a tool for victory. Whether it’s hiding in tall grass, using rocks as cover, or turning the enemies’ own camps against them, you can find plenty of ways to take out the bad guys. Scenarios like taking over a sniper tower, blowing up enemy trucks, shooting near loud generators to mask the noise of your gun, or setting up traps and luring enemies into them abound. Other environmental factors, such as weather and lighting conditions, can alter how you approach various scenarios too. This creates a sort of controlled chaos that makes running the various missions always feel unique.
The Switch has had some troubling ports in the past, most of which were rushed to the system without the proper work being put in to make them run properly. That is not at all the case for Sniper Elite 3. It runs smoothly and looks beautiful, even in handheld mode. This having been an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game does help does with its performance, though as we have seen in the past some ports from that generation can turn out bad if they aren’t ported with enough care. A game focusing on accuracy of sniping requires a stable performance and you’ll find that here.
Not all is perfect though and one really distracting issue comes into play with the audio. In most games you begin to hear enemy conversations as you get close to them. Oddly that’s not the case here and in fact you can often hear the conversation happening between the guards from all the way across the map. This is really distracting as you always think an enemy might be right around the corner of a rock, but is instead a mile away. Another strange issue is that sometimes the enemy bodies will disappear for no real reason. The bodies play an important role in the gameplay, since if other enemies see them they will be alerted to your presence. While the bodies disappearing on their own sounds like a good thing, you also need to search the bodies for ammo and other objects.
Another disappointing issue with the game is the enemy A.I. No matter what difficulty you set the game at, they are as dumb as bricks. It is very easy to outmaneuver them and in fact enemies do very little to scout the area even after you’ve been discovered. Also even if enemies do find bodies you left on the ground, they care very little about them and just go about their business as if they hadn’t seen them. While this kind of A.I is fine for beginners of the game, it doesn’t help those who crave a real challenge.
While most of this review has been about the single player content, this game also offers a variety of multiplayer options. There are two competitive modes where you either enter a sniper battle with other players, or compete in a contest of who can get the farthest kill. There’s a horde mode with two maps, both of which can be played in both single and multiplayer. You can play through the entire campaign in co-op, and there are three multiplayer challenges where one player gets to spot the enemies while the other shoots them. The multiplayer can be played in both online and local co-op, and it adds to the already fantastic replay value of the game.
In the end Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition has a lot to offer Switch gamers craving a stealth game. It runs great on the system and has plenty of fun missions to complete. There aren’t many of these types of games on the system so it’s great to see one really nail the genre.
Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 6.5/106.5/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is a high quality port with a lot of effort put in. It looks fantastic and runs perfectly smooth, offers all of the content of the original release, including DLC, and the open nature of the game boosts its replay value. Dumb A.I. does detract slightly from the overall experience, but the game still provides plenty of fun.