Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is yet another port of a popular game done right on the Nintendo Switch. The game offers not only a high-quality visual experience on the limited power of the hardware, but it excels in its core gameplay objective, which in this case, is offering a fantastic sniper experience.
Perfecting The Sniping Experience
The Sniper Elite series has been working to perfect its own brand of gameplay since first releasing in 2005. At its core, Rebellion Developments has consistently improved in making the long-range combat mechanics feel incredibly realistic. The series is also known for its brutality and theatrics, as kill shots slowdown in traveling to reveal the terrible damage caused to a target, which continues to be a core flavor of the game.
Close quarters and stealth combat are another part of the game and are necessary in the campaign mode where our main character, the American Karl Fairburne, moves through an African landscape during World War II. There are plenty of ways to deal with opponents, from a silent knife attack from behind to a single shot from a suppressed pistol.
For those who prefer to get into the sniping action of the game without the need for caution or subtlety, Survival mode throws players right into the action with wave after wave of opponents swarming into a base. This offers non-stop action and is a great place to hone one’s skills under pressure.
Playing the campaign mode will frequently present interesting side quests that can be completed alongside the main objective. Doing so will award extra experience which in turn will rank up your character and unlock new weapons and gear. The default gear is fine for a first playthrough, but the extra weapons and customization options allow for interesting second and third playthroughs.
Co-op Mode Adds A New Layer Of Strategy
The single-player campaign and survival mode are enjoyable in their own right, but when you add a second player into the mix, Sniper Elite 3 transforms into an entirely different beast. During the review period of this game, I was only able to play single-player because the game was not yet available for purchase.
Now that the game has formally launched, I had the opportunity to play alongside a friend. One has the option to play the entire campaign as a pair, or to work together in survival mode. This allows for one player to be the active shooter and the other to be the spotter, which works wonders since the marksman is no longer affected by tunnel vision. On the other hand, two players together can line up their shots to eliminate two targets at once. Unfortunately, there is no local co-op with one game, and each player will need to have their own copy to participate.
The Difficulty Options Give Everyone A Chance To Play
The broad range of difficulties provides a different experience for all types of players. Cadet offers a simple playstyle with no ballistics present for bullet trajectory, meaning that where you point and click is where the shot will go. For new players to the series or those who simply want to have some quick fun without worrying about the external factors that can affect where a shot goes, this is a great option.
The game also offers modes that crank up the difficulty and demand that players take careful consideration of the enemy skill level, noise, ballistic realism, wind, and more. Playing on the hardest levels of difficulty is not only a challenge in the survival modes, but change how one experiences the story mode as well. These higher levels remove checkpoints and require that stealth and tactics be observed, otherwise a player will need to start an entire level over again. While some players may prefer the easier modes, the option to ramp up the necessary skill level adds a level of replayability that keeps the game fresh.
Regardless of which difficulty chosen, the enemy AI remains a little too unrealistic. If a player makes a noise, it is as though every enemy within a certain radius becomes aware of your location right away. This has been a persistent issue in the series, and it would have been nice to see it adjusted in the port. However, this is a minor concern in the long term, especially since the goal of most missions is to remain as undetectable as possible. The AI may not be great, but the player should not seek to grab their attention in the first place.
A Great Port With Most Of The Bugs Sorted Out
I was truly skeptical at first about this port as the initial release onto the PlayStation and Xbox consoles were riddled with bugs that soured the experience of the game. However, the game offers high-quality gameplay with virtually no bugs. There remains the occasional issue, but these are hardly noticeable compared to what they once were. On its own, the game is fantastic, and with a friend in multiplayer, it gets even better.
4.5 Out Of 5 Stars
A Switch review code for Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition was provided for this review. The game is available now for the Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and older generation consoles.