Rebellion Developments pulled off something special in Sniper Elite 3. Once a game that hinged on a presentation gimmick — its gory X-ray killcam — the studio reinvented the series in its latest effort by offering up more of a sandbox experience. Instead of blasting the heads off of Axis forces as you move from point A to point B, you’re presented with a large, freely navigable space and an open-ended set of objectives. Relying on a mix of cunning, observation, and reflexes, you fight to bring the German war machine to its knees.
That’s all great news, but it might be a little intimidating for any fans of the series expecting more of the same from the past games. Well we’ve got you covered. This collection of tips is meant to help keep you alive just a little bit longer.
Keep your eye on the prize
It’s easy enough to line an Axis soldier’s head up in your rifle scope, but before you can do that you need to know where that head actually is. It’s vital that you recon any new area you visit before you start building your body count. Ideally, you’ll do this from an elevated location that gives you a look at the larger area, but there’s typically some amount of sneaking to be done in Sniper Elite 3 before you get to an overlook.
Making use of your binoculars is key when spotting. Even the stock binocs have a much stronger zoom than any of the game’s four sniper rifles do, and you can upgrade the zoom range even further by picking up certain collectibles. Once you’ve spotted an enemy through your binoculars, press RT to tag him. Note however that you can only have a certain number of enemies tagged at any one time. Look at the bottom-center of the screen when you’re peering through the binoculars to see how many tags you have active and how many you’re allowed to have in total.
Tagged enemies remain visible in the HUD even when they’re not in sight. With the way most maps are laid out, it’s best to tag them in groups and then take them out one by one before moving on to a new patrol area.
Rummage and hoard
Resources aren’t exactly scarce in Sniper Elite 3, but you can only carry a limited amount at a time. The sniper rifle itself always comes with a generous amount of ammo, but you only get three clips worth of machine gun ammo and two clips worth of silenced pistol ammo. Bandages, medkits, and various explosives and traps also cap out at three apiece. Unless you’re just sniping — which is very difficult to pull off — you’re going to dip into these supplies before long.
Keep an eye out as you explore for pickups on the ground and open crates filled with goodies. It’s very easy to keep your supplies topped off if you’re vigilant. Be sure to loot the corpse of any enemy you take out. Not only does this provide valuable resource recovery, but looting certain, specific enemies also rewards you with one of the 15 collectible Weapon Upgrades (includes binoculars).
Go loud with confidence
Sniper rifles make a lot of noise when they fire. Since there’s no silenced option available in Sniper Elite 3 (with the exception of the Welrod pistol), you’ve got to go loud whenever you want to take out enemies from a distance. Fortunately, there’s a feature called “sound masking” that allows you to use ambient noise in the environment to conceal the noise generated by your sniper fire. It’s simply, really: whenever you see a mirrored set of pulsing lines (looks like three pairs of parentheses facing each other) at the top-center of the screen, you can fire any unsilenced weapon without giving your position away.
Sometimes the sound-masking noises are generated by objects in the world, such as a backfiring truck or a manned anti-air emplacement. These can be effectively “turned off” by alerting or killing the troops connected to the source of the noise, so it’s best to use the masked sound as much as you can to take out other enemies on the map before you kill the source of your sound-masking.
You also sometimes come across power generators of varying sizes. Interact with one to kick it a few times, causing it to backfire at regular intervals. This masks your unsilenced shots as well as an anti-air turret would, though generators don’t last forever. Try to do all of your spotting before you break the generator to better maximize your sound-masking time. Also note that in all cases, you’ve got to be close to the source if you want to hide your shots. If you hear a zooming plane overhead or a truck backfiring, but don’t see the sound-mask icon, then you’re too far.
The pink mist
There are three levels of difficulty relating to Sniper Elite 3‘s bullet physics, each one impacting a bullet’s path of travel and how factors like wind resistance and drag influence its course. When you’re just popping off shots unaided at the Limited or Realistic settings, it’s important to consider how far you are from the target and how the weather might affect it.
You can also press L1 (PlayStation controller) when you’re peering through a scope to steady aim. Not only does this eliminate shake for a brief period of time, it also brings up a small diamond icon in your sights that shows where the bullet is going to land, based on where you’re aiming. Note that you can’t steady your aim if the heart rate (bottom of the screen) is higher than 80 BPM, so make sure to stop running and crouch down as you move into a firing position.
Fight on your own terms
Sniper Elite 3 isn’t a stealth game in the sense that there’s no insta-fail for being spotted. That said, protagonist Karl Fairburne isn’t exactly built to sponge up a shower of bullets like so many other shooter heroes. Couple that with the fact that there’s limited ammo available for his non-sniper rifle weapons, and staying quiet becomes something of a necessity. For the most part.
The trick with engaging the enemy in Sniper Elite 3 is to always take them down on your own terms. If you can do it quietly, all the better. That’s not always an option, however. When you have to go loud, just make sure you’ve scouted your surroundings thoroughly. Ask yourself if you’re in a good, defensible position that offers a good view of the surrounding area. Set a few trip mines and S-mines (land mines too if there are vehicles rolling around) to cover your flank. Enemy forces eventually rush your position, but it’s often possible to take them all out on the approach if you set yourself up in a good spot.
Sometimes going loud brings an infinitely spawning supply of enemies, but even those situations aren’t lost causes. Simply clear out anyone nearby and relocate to a new position, then lay low until the alert goes away. You may end up with a few new enemies on the map, but it’s probably less than there were before (and therefore, easier to deal with quietly).
Save early, save often
Very straightforward: Sniper Elite 3 allows you to save anywhere. Take advantage of that. The autosave feature is somewhat aggressive, but you can’t always rely on it to mark your progress. Quickly jump into the menu and save if you feel you’ve just accomplished something major. Better safe than sorry.