One of the franchises that has really found its feet this generation is Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series. It has always been the premier sniper game (sorry, Sniper: Ghost Warrior) but has really gone from strength to strength during this console cycle. However, it seemed like Rebellion had forgotten about Nintendo. The British developer brought the original game to Wii and the sequel to Wii U. When it came to the third and fourth entries in the series, Nintendo fans were left wanting. I was delighted when Rebellion announced that Sniper Elite V2 Remastered and Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition were coming to Switch. When I reviewed Sniper Elite V2 Remastered I spoke about how well it had been ported over. So, with the original Sniper Elite 3 being a better game, surely this is the sniper game to own Switch? Let’s take a look.
I bless the rains down in Africa
Sniper Elite 3 isn’t as blandly gray as its predecessor because the action is set during the North African campaign of World War II. This allows for a more tropical location and lots more color. The Siwa Oasis is a long way from the grey rubble of Berlin in Sniper Elite V2. Even in the darkness of night on the Pont Du Fahs Airfield, there’s just a much fuller color palette.
Once again, you play as Karl Fairburne. You have been tasked with assassinating General Franz Vahlen and thwarting his top-secret project. However, this plays out as you creeping around some fairly large maps, either taking enemies out at close range or from miles away. These levels usually allow for a lot of freedom in how you want to tackle them. You can often tackle objectives in the order that you see fit and in the way you would like. If you want to run and gun, you can do that (though it is not advised). If you’d prefer to sneak past all the guards, that is a viable tactic. Personally, I will take my time lining up the perfect shot to shoot every guard in the head as I make my way through the level.
Taking out enemies one at a time
The sniping mechanics are as good as ever. I love the way that you can tailor them to your skill level. If you’re an amateur, then you can have the bullet go exactly where you put the crosshairs. Alternatively, if you’re a more skilled sniper then you will need to allow for the bullet to drop over distances and to counter the wind. Playing on Sniper Elite difficulty will include these challenges, but when you hold your breath to fire, a red reticle will appear showing you exactly where your bullet will hit. If you’re feeling particularly brave, then play in Authentic mode and you won’t get any assists. And of course, a great shot is always topped off with the gloriously gruesome X-ray kill cams.
There’s more on offer here than just sniping, though. You can play in a more aggressive style and use the machine gun. A more viable option is to sneak around using takedowns, your silenced pistol, or traps. It’s a very satisfying feeling to lure a guard into a trip mine or anti-personnel mine. You can manipulate them by throwing stones or making some noise by running. They will usually go to investigate, and that’s where you can spring your trap. The enemies aren’t stupid, though. They take cover when appropriate. On several occasions they work in pairs or even teams. This just adds to the challenge and never seems unfair.
More than just a pretty face
Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition is altogether a better-looking game than its predecessor on Switch. Textures seem improved, which helps to make the enemies look a little more realistic. It also appears to have a lot more happening on screen. There are more objects, buildings, and enemies. Explosions have more elements to them, as do the X-ray kill cams. The draw distance is also exemplary considering that this is a game designed for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
This is not a flawless experience, though. While I never experienced any frame rate drops, there was the odd glitch. I had a few occasions where people got stuck in walls or tables. It was never game-breaking, but it does take you out of the moment and remind you that you’re playing a game. The only other glitch that I experienced was with some of the X-ray kill cams. There were a few times where the enemy wasn’t visible. All you would see was the bullet passing through the air; it would then disappear and you could hear the sound of the enemy’s face being taken apart. I also had a couple of occasions where the kill-camera’s view was obscured by a wall or something else. These are minor niggles on an otherwise great game.
Sniping is better together
Multiplayer is once again present and correct. I had a blast playing the cooperative mode with my fellow Enthusiast, Steven Rollins. One of you plays as a sniper while the other is a spotter. Like in the main game, stealth is the best tactic. It is really satisfying timing your shots so you eliminate enemies at the same time. The cooperative missions are specifically designed maps. They do use the same assets as the main game, but the layouts are all completely different. Meanwhile, the survival mode sees you facing progressively harder waves of Nazis. Again, teamwork with your colleague is essential. There is also a standard deathmatch mode, but I was unable to find any matches to join. I have no reason to doubt if it would work smoothly, though.
I was a big fan of Sniper Elite 3 on Xbox One, and I really like Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition on Switch. While it doesn’t have quite the same visual impact on Nintendo’s hardware, it is still a good-looking game. And the actual adventure is as good as ever. It’s a big step up from Sniper Elite V2 in terms of the narrative, map layout, and visuals. There are loads of content on offer here. If you rush through the main game you can finish in around 8 hours, but you’ll more likely spend somewhere between 15 and 30 hours working your way through the campaign. The extra single player missions are really nice and show how good Rebellion is at crafting stories. Including the DLC is a nice touch and makes this an absolute bargain at an already budget price.
A review code was provided by the publisher.