There are many shooters out there and many of them have sniper rifles in them, but none of those games make you feel as powerful with a long range weapon as Sniper Elite 3. In it, every bullet is deadly, every shot is a strategic move, and every kill is oh so satisfying. When the developers at Rebellion stopped by the GamesRadar offices for a hands-on demo, I got a chance to stick it to the Nazis on the African front, and it was a blast.
As opposed to the fairly linear structure of the previous game's missions, Sniper Elite 3's environments are completely open. My demo started me in a night mission with three German officers highlighted on my map, and those officers apparently needed a bullet run through their skull ASAP. Any of those objectives could be tackled at any time, which left me to decide how to approach each guarded enemy camp housing the officers.
I chose to make a stealthy assault on a camp, which had me systematically tagging enemy patrols with my binoculars, kicking on gas generators to sound mask my shots, and sometimes getting up close to shove a knife in an unsuspecting soldier's throat. Those stealth elements are entertaining to be sure, but the most satisfying moments came from perfectly lining up a shot and watching the slow-mo, bullet time, gorefest that followed. If you squeeze off a killshot, the X-ray camera shows every bone shatter, muscle tear, and lung burst as the bullet rips through your enemy. Waiting for the perfect shot is intense, but when you pull off a kill cam shot, it's one of the most satisfying (and often disturbing) sniper experiences you can get.
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If you discover a sniper nest, you'll get an eagle-eye view on multiple targets.
You can destroy vehicle engines to blow them to smithereens.
Not all of your kills will be from long range.
The entire story campaign can be played cooperatively with a buddy.
There's also dedicated co-op horde-style modes and competitive multiplayer.