Watching bullets rip through skin and bone via the Sniper Elite series’ X-ray kill cam should’ve probably got old by now. But no; it’s still as satisfying as it’s ever been.
It was only in May that I revisited Sniper Elite V2, remastered for current generation consoles including the Switch. And now Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition has found its way onto the format, offering Switch owners yet more opportunities to penetrate skulls and scrotums at long distances. Thanks to the X-ray kill cam, it’s something they’ll want to do.
Originally launched back in 2014, Sniper Elite 3 really was a big step forward for the series. Gone were the linear levels of Sniper Elite V2, replaced with open maps that allowed the player even more freedom when going about achieving their objectives. Along with it optional objectives were introduced, and series protagonist Karl Fairburne was given more traversal options. The result was a game that felt more dynamic, and as a result was simply more enjoyable to play. In conjunction with the series’ usual array of difficulty options, it also begged to be played more than once.
On Switch, things are no different. No compromises have been made to the core game, so you get the original eight-mission campaign just as it was originally presented, as well as a wave-based Survival mode. They can both be played in co-op, too. On top of that there’s also competitive online multiplayer and a co-op-only Overwatch mode. But being the Ultimate Edition there’s more. There are additional campaign missions, more weapons, more multiplayer maps and modes, an additional Overwatch mission and a shooting range. Needless to say, Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition isn’t light on content.
While Sniper Elite 3‘s competitive multiplayer offerings are entertaining enough, it’s the game’s campaign and co-op offerings that are the real draw. While the action threatens to become repetitive from mission to mission, the mix of sniping, stealth and moments of frenzied close-range action keeps you on your toes. Plus, there’s a decent range of environments to explore, and as previously stated, the X-ray kill cam just never gets old. There’s something strangely rewarding about seeing a shot you’ve made tear through your opponent’s body.
It’s a good job the action’s so engaging though, as Sniper Elite 3‘s story certainly isn’t anything to write home about. It gives context as to why you’re traipsing from one place to another perforating soldiers with reckless abandon, but you’ll never really care. In fact, you might just switch off during Sniper Elite 3‘s exposition dumps, counting down the time until you shoot the next unfortunate sod you meet in the knackers. Because why not?
Co-op adds quite a bit to the experience. Playing alone, you very much have to get into a rhythm of shoot, move, shoot, move, otherwise you give your position away and are inundated with unwanted attention. With another playing joining in on the action, however, there’s much more scope for confusing your enemies and playing strategically. The pace of the game becomes quicker, giving it a different feel compared to when you’re a lone wolf.
This Switch port of Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is another one to add to the list of “I can’t believe this game looks and plays so good on such humble hardware”. Playing on Switch Lite for review, the picture quality is clean and sharp, textures are detailed, and performance is enjoyably smooth. Without booting the game up on either PS4 or Xbox One to compare, I can’t identify any noticeable downgrades. It’s that good.
Generally it’s only issues that have always plagued Sniper Elite 3 bring it down a little, such as the previously mentioned story that’s passable, AI that’s a little bit dumb at times, and a lack of maps for both Survival and Overwatch modes. But in addition, if you’re planning on picking up Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition on Switch and playing in handheld mode, be aware that sometimes you’ll be aiming at very small targets. It’s not a game that’s particularly suited to handheld play, really. Though if you don’t mind continuously testing your eyesight you’ll still have good time.
On Switch, Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is just as good as it’s ever been, which is to say that it’s very good indeed. It looks great, performs well, has plenty of content where it really counts and doesn’t skimp on online multiplayer like so many Switch ports often do. If you’ve never played Sniper Elite 3 before, like third-person shooters laced with stealth and have ever wondered what a bullet does to a person’s insides as it rips through them, definitely pick it up. Chances are you won’t be disappointed.