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'Sniper Elite III' Review: The Only Realistic Thing Here Is The Gore

01/07/2014 16:39 BST | Updated 01/07/2014 16:59 BST

'Sniper Elite 3' is out now for PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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The point of 'Sniper Elite III' should be obvious right from the start. You skip the cutscenes, awake on the outskirts of some base or other, sneak into a decent position and blow the brains out of anything that moves with the precision and cold, dead-eyes of a man doomed to an eternity of nightmares and suffering.

Neat, right?

Well, yes actually -- if this is your kind of thing. 'Sniper Elite 3' is what's known colloquially by gamers as a 'Double-A' game, which is to say it's a polished-looking title which doesn't try to match the big-hitting Call of Battlefield games in graphics, budget or ambition but rather do a few things, well. And in the case of 'Sniper Elite 3', those few things it does well are even more specific than you might imagine. They number precisely two.

One is the actual sniping. That should be a given, since the verb is right there in the title. That's never a guarantee however, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the down-the-sights killing itself is precise, fun and just difficult enough to feel like you're doing more than pressing a button when the triangle hovers over the guy's head.

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The second thing the game does well is what happens immediately after the sniping - namely all the death and bleeding and splintered rib cages. It's been catalogued ad nauseum elsewhere, but this series prides itself on its gloriously, horribly gory 'kill cam'. When your bullet hits home you're 'treated' to a slow motion mini cut-scene where the bullet streaks towards the target, explodes into their body, and then switches to an x-ray image so you can see it shatter bones, organs and extinguish the very spark of life in its final moment of exquisite horror.

Like I said, if it's your thing.

Almost everything else doesn't really work very well. The controls and movement are awkward, the graphics are functional and occasionally pretty but essentially as two-dimensional as it's possible for a 3D game to be.

The AI is atrocious too, and makes it explicitly clear that the only realistic thing in this game is the gore. Shoot a guard, run away an arbitrary distance, wait for the all clear, run back. It's fine. No one cares. None of the guards notice anyone missing unless they're standing directly over their mate's corpse. No one can tell the difference between the sound of a stuttering generator and a rifle. Nothing makes sense.

All that said, if you want to snipe dudes in the head (or even the crotch) for no very good reason, this is a satisfying and solid way to go about it. It doesn't have ambitions beyond that, thankfully.