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Sniper Elite 3 (Xbox One) Review

/ Aug 18th, 2014 No Comments

Sniper Elite 3 Review

Sniper Elite 3 represents every perceived wrong about video games. It’s packed with extreme violence; it involves a single man taking down an army of thousands; and it doesn’t have much of a plot. But none of that matters in Sniper Elite 3, and because of that, it also represents classic gaming fun.

The franchise’s first foray into new-gen gaming should be considered a success despite the fact that it never truly feels new-gen. Graphics are not overly impressive and there are occasional framerate issues. However, Sniper Elite 3 is satisfying, and not just after epic violent moments.

Unexplored Territory

If you had a video game for every time a video game was set during World War II, you’d have a lot of video games. Sniper Elite 3 is the latest in a long lineage of games that take place during World War II. However, Sniper Elite 3 puts a unique spin on the setting, ditching Berlin for the unexplored war-torn lands of North Africa.

As a prequel to the last installment of the franchise, the game is set before the events of 2012’s Sniper Elite V2. Players control Karl Fairburne, an elite sniper tasked with destroying the Nazi war machine and freeing Africa from Nazi control. However, the game’s plot is not really what Sniper Elite 3 is about; it is merely a way to provide subtle background as players seek out kill after kill.

Sniper Elite 3

Sniper Elite 3 involves much more than just sniping.

Of course, the series’ signature kill cam is back to showcase lustful moments of violence, but for the first time, the franchise has evolved into much more than a snipe-fest. Linear maps have been abandoned for smarter level design that encourages players to use stealth and explore. While each level consists of one mission that ties into the overarching storyline, open-world maps contain additional objectives.

The game mostly involves getting to prime sniper positions and killing everyone in sight, but the open environments and optional goals add a puzzle-solving like element to Sniper Elite 3.

Repeat After Me

As intuitive as the game’s levels are designed, the repetitive and nonsensical tasks players must perform within them tarnish the experience. Too often, Fairburne must shoot down a Nazi foe only to reveal what notes he had taken. Like a recurring boss, tanks suddenly roam maps after the last objective is completed. Somehow, sounds coming from conveniently random acts such as jets flying overhead and sabotaged generators mask the firing of a sniper rifle, meaning players will go through the same monotonous chore of finding these areas on the map and sniping to the beat of the sound.

Sniper Elite 3 Xbox One

Players will need to get creative to break up the monotony.

The repetitive nature of missions directly affects the game’s replay value, but more creative players will explore new ways to achieve similar goals in each level. Rather than simply shooting at a tank until it is destroyed, gamers can plant dynamite and deliver a timely bullet to efficiently take down tanks. Memorizing the path of Nazi guards or finding explosives scattered throughout maps can create satisfying scenarios.

However, trying to ditch stealth mode for a more run-and-gun approach is punishing and Fairburne cannot take much damage, forcing players to stick with the typical Sniper Elite formula of sniping every enemy in a location, then moving on.


Sniper Elite 3 is a major step forward for a franchise that had begun to wear out its welcome. The game still falls victim to the typical video game criticisms, but it embraces those moments and makes them its own.

The open world level design creates an entirely new experience and forces players to flex their brain muscles to map out strategies and snipe wisely. While Sniper Elite 3 embraces video game stereotypes, the series is moving away from a strictly sniper sim to a more a complete game.


Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



While the game mostly involves sniping enemies, there is much more involved to gameplay than in previous installments.


Characters models look solid up close but the game doesn't always feel new-gen.


Players will tire of the repetitive missions and there is little incentive to continue playing beyond the campaign's main plot.


We experienced occasional framerate issues, especially in later levels. However, it does not tarnish the overall experience.

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