Review – Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition (Switch)

Our own Jordan Hawes reviewed the Switch version of Sniper Elite V2 a few months ago and didn’t quite enjoy the end results. I also played the game back then and completely agree with what he said, as that port ended up being an ugly mess filled to the brim with issues. It screamed “rush job”. We both wished for the Switch version of Sniper Elite III to receive a lot more care than its predecessor, and thankfully enough, Rebellion didn’t disappoint at that. Although it still features some annoying issues, Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition is a much better port. As well as being one of the most impressive Switch versions of a current-gen game I’ve seen so far.

Sniper Elite III

Meet our protagonist, Johnny Nocharismawhatsoever.

Sniper Elite III has always felt a bit more personal to me than other World War II games out there due to its setting. The game takes place during the North African Conflict between the Allies and the Axis Forces, most specifically Germany and Italy. My Italian grandfather, who I never got to meet, fought at the Mediterranean Theater of War (for the bad guys nonetheless). So I’ve always had an extra dose of fascination towards this specific episode of the conflict. Sadly, while I did appreciate playing an entire game set in North Africa, I can’t say I cared at all about the story, as the game doesn’t do a good job of telling it due to its uninteresting script and really underwhelming voice acting.

With that being said, I really doubt you’re here for the game’s story. You’re most likely here for the gameplay and the chance of obliterating the insides of a Nazi soldier with the aid of a slow-motion x-ray camera.

Sniper Elite III‘s gameplay is a lot less clunky than the one featured in Sniper Elite V2. Not only is the aiming less problematic (using the motion controls actually helps a lot here), but the vast amount of stealth mechanics you can use in order to reach your goals is huge, allowing for a ton of experimentation and replayability. You can basically play the game in its entirety as if it was a Metal Gear game, if you feel like it. Not that I’d recommend doing so, because the bread and butter of Sniper Elite III is still its gory but oh-so-cathartic gore camera. Watching the innards of a Nazi explode is a bit too gratuitous, but I won’t lie, I love it. It never gets old.

Sniper Elite III

Giving Ed Boon a run for his money.

Granted, the controls are a bit confusing at first. There is a lot you can do with your character, and it’s not well-explained. The button placement is odd: B makes you crouch, A makes you jump, R acts as both your grenade throwing and breath holding button, and so on. You will get used to those mechanics after a while, though. Even though Sniper Elite III doesn’t feature a good tutorial, its first mission is so stupidly easy that you won’t have an issue beating it, even if you accidentally throw a grenade and blow your cover. The generous checkpoint system helps a lot. So does the incredibly stupid enemy AI, even though I don’t think that was intended from the get go.

Finally, let’s talk performance. That was the thing that bothered me and Jordan the most when playing Sniper Elite V2 on the Switch. The resolution was ridiculously low, and the excessive amounts of aliasing and blur made the sole act of finding an enemy to aim your rifle at a chore. That won’t be an issue here. Granted, the game doesn’t look nowhere near as good as its PS4 or Xbox One counterparts, but the resolution and overall post-processing effects have received one heck of an upgrade. It’s actually pretty impressive to be able to play a game like this on handheld mode with a very stable framerate and still be able to discern a Nazi from a smudge on your screen.

Sniper Elite III

Nighty night.

The Switch version of Sniper Elite III is a vast improvement over its predecessor in every way you can imagine. It looks better, it runs better, it plays better, and it’s a lot meatier. It’s far from a perfect stealth game, as its console counterparts weren’t masterpieces to begin with. However, it’s still highly recommendable if you’re looking for a game like this on the Switch, given how there are almost no competitors in its library.

 

Graphics: 8.0

A vast improvement over the previous Sniper Elite port on Switch, with detailed environments, an improved resolution, and decent post-processing effects. It still doesn’t look nowhere near as detailed as the PS4 or Xbox One versions.

Gameplay: 7.5

The button mapping is a bit confusing at first, especially if you’re playing it with joycons, but you’ll get used to the commands after a while. The motion controls are surprisingly useful in here. Enemy AI is surprisingly dull, even on harder difficulties.

Sound: 5.5

Can’t say that the sound design impressed me in any given way. The voice acting is incredibly annoying and the sound mixing is faulty, making enemies half a mile away from your location sound like they’re right next to you.

Fun Factor: 8.0

The game might have the most uninteresting of plots and some annoying issues, but it’s a major improvement over its predecessor’s Switch port.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition is available now on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition was provided by the publisher.

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