Sniper Elite 3: Sneaking, shooting and exploding testicles.

Deep breath in. The unsuspecting guard ambles his way into you crosshair. Deep breath out. The sound of thunder roars throughout the night giving you the ideal, possibly only, opportunity. Squeeze the trigger. Time slows. A bullet crashes into the soldier’s pair of dangling, fleshy bullseyes. Testicle Shot. 30 XP. Welcome to the world of Ruptured Testicle Simulator… Sorry, Sniper Elite 3.

It’s no surprise that Rebellion’s WW2 adventure excels in the art of shooting – you’re an elite sniper, after all – but it’s a thrill to have the game celebrate it emphatically. It’s built for sharing, the Twitch generation able to create a more sadistic “Football in the Groin”. Shame the rest of the game struggles to live up to the high standard of its sniping.

That’s mainly due to some inconsistent A.I. that frustrates as regularly as it entertains. Levels are designed for stealth, filled with guards to avoid and hidden paths for the enterprising explorer. But why bother when the grunts are oblivious to you unless you stroll in front of them sometimes, then able to spot you crouching in a bush hundreds of meters away at others? At least once you’re spotted they’ll get a bit smarter and try to sneak up on your last known position.

Playing like Rambo is ill-advised, but there’s little incentive to be patient as well. Brainless murder and creative stealth are equally viable tactics, though it’s clear the game wants you to take the considered approach.

It doesn’t help that the narrative is cheesier than the inside of Wallace’s fridge. Placing you in the African desert, it’s exclusively populated by blandly evil Nazis and your yawn inducing sniper. I think that’s the 114th time in my game career I’ve been a thorn in the Nazi war machine.

Rebellion have built an enjoyable game, yet once the buzz of the slow-mo kill camera wears off, the maddening A.I. means no amount of collectibles will tempt you back. Its lack of pretension is worthy of a weekend binge, but it’s too flawed to warrant a permanent place on your hard drive.

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