If you’re a fan of sniping in video games than I highly suspect that you’ve played at least one entry in the Sniper Elite franchise from developer Rebellion. This generation we’ve gotten new entries in the franchise like Sniper Elite 3 and 4 along with remasters such as Sniper Elite V2 that came out earlier this year. It just so happens that Sniper Elite V2 was the first entry to be available on a portable console like the Nintendo Switch. If you played that and were craving more portable sniping fun than you’ll be happy to know that Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is now available on the Switch. This game is several years old now so is it worth your time to pick it up again?
First of all let me just say that despite any faults this game has you are getting a ton of content in this package. Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition not only has the original campaign mode but also all of the additional missions that were released post-launch, new weapons, and the multiplayer and co-op modes. We’ve seen some remasters this generation be priced a bit high for being older titles but this one is reasonably priced at around half the price of a brand new game today. Now if you are brand new to this game the story in it is set in 1942 North Africa and follows soldier Karl Fairburne through eight campaign missions. The maps in this game are much more open than what you’d find in Sniper Elite V2 and give you much more freedom in how you go about your missions.
Those missions will have you doing different kinds of objectives during them. Sometimes you’ll be ordered to blow up enemy artillery, steal information, or break into a castle. That last one was one of my favorite missions as after you infiltrate the castle you have to steal a key to open a prisoners cell and then guard him on his way out. This has you taking a vantage point on the castle wall and sniping at enemies in the distance so that the prisoner can escape from the grounds. During your missions you want to try and be as stealthy as possible to avoid setting off alarms. If you are in viewing distance of an enemy guard a meter will start filling in over their head. You have a limited amount of time to move out of their viewpoint before it fills up and alerts all of them. To take them out quietly, you can sneak up behind them and perform a knife kill, use silenced weapons, or use things in the environment to mask the sound of your sniper shots. If you do get seen it’s best to quickly run and hide as the enemies will search your last known location before going back to their patrols. In this sense the enemy AI can be quite dumb but it is what it is.
While picking off your enemies with your sniper rifle you’ll of course bear witness to the trademark feature of this franchise and that is the x-ray kill camera. This is where when you fire a shot at someone with your sniper rifle the game goes into a slow motion transition that shows the bullet traveling from your barrel to the enemy and showing an x-ray of the bullet piercing through their body. You get to see bones shatter, hearts and brains explode and of course exploding testicles. If for some reason you don’t enjoy these you can turn them off but why would you want to do that? The controls in the game felt good for the most part but you’ll likely have a more enjoyable experience playing it with the Switch docked. I spent most of my time with the game in handheld mode and found the sniping to be kind of challenging on the small screen. The game also lets you aim using motion controls if you’re into that sort of thing.
When you finish the campaign mode you can dive into all of the other content that I spoke of earlier. For co-op play, you can play the campaign, survival mode, and overwatch mode, which is where one player spots enemies and another snipes them, with two players either locally or online. I played several campaign missions online with a friend and had no issues at all. Then you have the solo survival mode that you can play on two different maps. Competitive multiplayer is also an option for up to 8 players online or 4 players locally. There are six different modes along with ten maps to play them on. Sadly the online population seems to be quite small right now so you could struggle to find lobbies to join. From the main menu you can also edit your loadouts, view the online leaderboards, enter the shooting range to practice, and view your service record which contains all of your stats.
Now this game is several years old so it isn’t going to blow you away graphically but I found it looked pretty good on the Switch. The game naturally doesn’t quite match the previous versions that released but I still found it ran and looked good both in portable mode and docked. It is 30fps which is half of what you get on the other platforms but it didn’t really bother me. Something that did bother me though was the voice audio in the game. For some reason enemy voices always sounded like they were right by me even when sometimes they weren’t. It made it hard to really find out where the enemies were at times. One last thing I want to mention is that the HD rumble in the joy-cons in this game is fantastic. For instance, when your heartbeat is beating fast in the game you really feel it in the joy-cons which was a nice touch.
If you’re a fan of Sniper Elite and want another option to take with you on the go than Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is well worth a pick up. It’s jam packed with content and offers plenty of online and local play options. It also runs and holds up very well on Nintendo’s portable console. However if you didn’t enjoy this game before there is nothing in the Switch release that will change your mind about it.
*Sniper Elite 3: Ultimate Edition is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition$34.99
- Has all of the original content plus all the extra missions, weapons, and modes
- Graphics and performance on the Switch hold up well even now
- HD rumble and motion controls are nice additions
- X-ray kills are as satisfying as ever
- Small online population
- Enemy AI is quite dumb
- Enemy voice audio always sounded like they were right by me even when they weren't