Sniper Elite 3

Rebellion's sadistic cranial trauma simulator returns in an improved - but still flawed - form.

Spotlight

Inside Sniper Elite 3's Rebellion, Britain's best guilty pleasure developer

How the Oxford studio became an indie all over again.

VideoVideo: What if Sniper Elite 3 was on HBO?

The following trailer may not be suitable.

VideoVideo: Surviving Sniper Elite 3 co-op

Ian teams up with Jane from Outside Xbox.

Key events

Face-Off: Sniper Elite 3

Update 11/7/14 13:04. We've been talking with Rebellion today and have made a couple of changes to this article. Specifically, tessellation is implemented on consoles but in a significantly pared-back manner compared to PC, only affecting near-distance objects. Certain texture assets are blurrier on Xbox One - which Rebellion says is down to lower anisotropic filtering, not lower quality assets (and the good news is that it may be patched). The studio also points out that obscurance fields are in effect on Xbox One, though we're still seeing some differences there.

Original article: Sniper Elite has debuted on next-gen and the benefits of the new wave of technology are instantly apparent. Players are given newfound freedom to explore their surroundings and take on targets in any way they see fit. The sprawling maps provide opportunities for stealth and distraction, while the developer's enhanced Asura engine provides detailed locations and long draw distances that hold up well in brightly lit, arid environments. The result is a clear step beyond the previous Sniper games, although not quite distinctive enough to be considered a true next-generation demonstration of graphical quality.

Instead, Rebellion looks to have focused on optimising the in-house technology in order to boost performance, targeting 60fps on both Sony and Microsoft's new consoles while providing enough visual flair to comfortably eclipse the majority of last-gen console titles. The decision to aim for the gold standard in frame-rate in a shooter that requires the player to make precision shots is arguably the right call, although in practice neither console version of Sniper Elite 3 manages to achieve the perceptual 60fps that defines the likes of the Call of Duty titles. This is something that more strongly affects the Xbox One version of Sniper Elite 3, which also features a few additional graphical shortcomings compared to the PS4 and PC releases.

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Inside Sniper Elite 3's Rebellion, Britain's best guilty pleasure developer

How the Oxford studio became an indie all over again.

In the corner of Jason Kingsley's office sits a suit of armour. It's not quite shining; having been put to practical use by the co-founder of Sniper Elite 3 developer Rebellion when he first decided to take up jousting around five years ago, it's as weathered and beaten as the large, chilly warehouse on an Oxford industrial estate the developer calls home. But it's a perfectly anachronistic prop to find in this perfectly anachronistic studio - an indie with hundreds of employees, and a developer that's endured for well over 20 years without ever finding much in the way of critical success.

UK chart: Sniper Elite 3 hits the mark

And Grid Autosport skids in.

The "rough diamond" Sniper Elite series makes the most of a quiet summer with new entry Sniper Elite 3 - "a solidly enjoyable mid-tier action game" - topping the UK video games chart.

VideoVideo: What if Sniper Elite 3 was on HBO?

The following trailer may not be suitable.

In hindsight, "solid" may not have been the ideal word to describe Sniper Elite 3 when I was talking up Ian's last video, despite Dan's reasonably positive Sniper Elite 3 review, because if there's one thing the game often lacks it's the polish associated with AAA releases. Then again, sometimes the bugs bring the charm.

VideoVideo: Surviving Sniper Elite 3 co-op

Ian teams up with Jane from Outside Xbox.

It feels as though a solid Sniper Elite game has been sneaking up on us for a while, dragging itself quietly through the long grass of slightly shonky game design in the direction of something that might not fall apart when you lower the scope. And then, wham! Like a bullet in the testicles, Dan reckons Sniper Elite 3 is pretty good.

Sniper Elite 3 review

There's always been a linguistic connection between sex and violence, and no game illustrates it quite so viscerally as Sniper Elite. This is the series that has made its name by fetishising the entry of a bullet into the human body almost to the point of parody.

That headline feature, of course, returns for Sniper Elite 3, which switches the action from the ruins of Berlin seen in 2012's Sniper Elite v2 to the more interesting terrain of the North African campaign. The scenery may have changed but your role hasn't. You're sent behind enemy lines to sneak around and disrupt the Nazi war machine, and you do this by graphically demolishing the faces, torsos and testicles of as many German troops as possible.

You don't need to subscribe to Freud's theories of psychoanalysis to see the connection, as bullets burst forth from your rifle with ejaculatory zeal. After the foreplay of lining up your shot, you hold your virtual breath, squeeze and let fly. Time slows down as the camera lovingly traces the path of your bullet, thrusting manfully towards its target. If this camera view is triggered, you already know it's a hit, so there's no tension. It's all pleasure.

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Sniper Elite 3 has a 10GB day one patch on Xbox One

Be prepared to download a 10GB day one patch for the retail version of Sniper Elite 3 for Xbox One.

Rebellion's first-person shooter, out this week, carries a mandatory install of just shy of 20GB.

That mandatory install was going to be be 21GB, but 14GB of it will be replaced by the day one patch.

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VideoVideo: Sniper Elite 3 live stream

Scoping out Rebellion's latest from 5pm BST.

A sniper's lot is presumably a lonely one, up on a hillside or deep in brush somewhere covered in camouflage gear and trying to avoid needing the toilet. But thanks to the internet it needn't be. Ian is going to be online at 5pm BST / 6pm CEST sharing the experience as he plays through the first 90 minutes of Sniper Elite V3 live on YouTube. Join him to see how Rebellion's latest squares up ahead of its release next Friday.

Sniper Elite 3 release date announced

Sniper Elite 3 release date announced

Pre-order to kill Hitler - again.

Gruesome World War 2 shooter Sniper Elite 3 launches on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC on 27th June 2014, publisher 505 Games has announced.

The console versions are being published by 505. The PC version is being self-published by developer Rebellion.

As with Sniper Elite 2, Sniper Elite 3 includes a pre-order bonus mission in which you're tasked with killing Hitler.

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VideoSniper Elite 3's kill cam has next-gen testicles

And more videos from Outside Xbox.

Sniper Elite's ghoulish X-ray kill cam returns in Sniper Elite 3 with 1080p next-gen testicles. This was the scoop with which our man Mike Channell returned from his interview with Sniper Elite's head of art, and let it never be said he buries a lede. See the interview and the first gameplay from the anatomically correct sniping adventure in the video below.

Sniper Elite 3 is an unspectacular and shamelessly entertaining sequel

Sometimes, game demonstrations are like the oddest school assembly you've ever attended. It's not just the awkward show-and-tell nature, but those strange special guests who are carted on-stage with a slight pang of confusion glistening behind their eyes. Ringo, Paul and whichever NBA star had to take to an E3 stage in the wake of a live beat poetry performance aren't the only ones. I'll never forget the time Brothers in Arms decided to herald its recreation of WW2's Operation Market Garden by getting a veteran of the campaign to relive his own experiences through the alien medium of an Xbox controller. It wasn't a pretty sight.

Or the time last week when Rebellion fronted its reveal of Sniper Elite 3, the latest in its fast-growing series of period stealth shooters, with a long, detailed talk by a real-life, fully trained sniper. We couldn't take his name, nor take photos that would compromise his identity, but we were allowed to ask questions of a man who proudly had never really played a video game until being ushered into the Oxford studio for this performance. Turns out he's been trained to kill, but he's not so hot on more serious matters like what resolution the game he's pimping will run at on next-gen hardware (it's 720p on older hardware, and 1080p on the new generation, if you're curious).

It's an odd one, because in their brief lifespan the Sniper Elite games have never really been noted for their authenticity. Recently, they've become renowned as the go-to place if you want to offload a .50 slug into a Nazi's nutsack and witness, in glorious detail, the hideous results. "What we try to do with the Sniper Elite series, we're gamifying a historical situation," Rebellion's founder and CEO Jason Kingsley tells us after the demo. He's a chap who knows a thing or two about historical recreation, given that he spends his weekends in a full suit of armour jousting on horseback and has been asked to play Henry Tudor in two recent documentaries. "We're trying to get a balance between historical realism and the shocking nature of what a sniper does. Snipers are disliked by their own side - so you're kind of an anti-hero."

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Sniper Elite 3 announced for current-gen and next-gen platforms

UPDATE #2: Rebellion and 505 Games have confirmed a PC version of Sniper Elite 3. A press release sent this afternoon cited "current and next-gen platforms as well as PC".

A press release from earlier this year specified PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Today's press release doesn't and is more vague. Could this be a glimmer of hope for a Wii U version as well?

There's extra information about the Sniper Elite 3 game, too. It follows OSS (Office of Strategic Services) sniper Karl Fairburne and his exploits during World War 2 again.

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