Condemn O.R. Condone – Sniper Elite III (Xbox 360)

Featuring improvements across the board, Sniper Elite III is the best alternative to the typical shooter found today.

I have a heck of a lot of respect for the Sniper Elite series. Here we have a shooter that blends both third and first person gameplay, yet it isn’t focused on run-and-gun action. Quite the opposite, as the games instead encourage stealthy, long-range tactics through the use of sneaky environmental know-how and your good ‘ol sniper rifle. Sure, you have the option to run around like Rambo, but more often than not you’ll quickly find yourself floating in a pool of your own blood. In an age where ACTION ACTION ACTION is all shooter fans are really fluent in, a new entry in the Sniper Elite series feels refreshing.

In case you’re half asleep while reading this article, Sniper Elite III is the third iteration of this series developed by Rebellion Oxford. However, it’s actually set several years prior to the events of Sniper Elite V2, as we follow Office of Strategic Service Officer Karl Fairburne during World War II. Fairburne learns of a secret wonder weapon program that is being used by Nazi forces, which of course means that it is Fairburne’s duty to go in their and take care of business before the world ends.

Sniper Elite III marks a big improvement over previous entries in the series, as we are now dealing with larger environments and more ways to go about completing objectives. Types of environments and terrain are much more varied than before, giving the game more of an open-world feel that gives you much more freedom to roam around in. The premise remains the same, though, as you have a sniper rifle and targets that need taking out in a stealthy manner. Find a good spot that gives you a good range of the area, and when you have a shot that can be taken without alerting others you pull the trigger. Ridiculous, slo-mo x-ray shots that are more detailed and gruesome than ever follow.

Sniper Elite III

Though the bones of what this series has always been remains intact, there is much more meat and polish than there has ever been before. To enhance the stealth gameplay and add quite a bit more tension to every encounter, an eye icon has been implemented into the game that displays the player’s level of detection by the enemy. Going deeper, each enemy also has a circle meter over their heads that displays how aware they are of your presence, with yellow meaning they’re suspicious and are going to look around a bit and red meaning that they saw you and are going to alert their allies. If you are spotted, you must quickly relocate to a new area so the enemies lose your trail and the alert status concludes. This stealth system works really well, as it is easy to understand but difficult to pull off flawlessly every time.

A nice bit of depth is added to the gameplay by way of the point system, which is a system in which certain actions or objectives that you successfully complete will result in points that go towards higher ranks and weapon customization. Thankfully, the game highly favors all stealth kills, meaning that a sniper shot to the head from long range or an assassination will be much more rewarding than just running around shooting everything in sight. There are also collectibles scattered throughout each level in the game, including collector’s cards and journal pages. These items range from minor objects that simply go towards unlocking an achievement to fleshing out the game’s backstory.

As far as story goes, Sniper Elite III is very bare-bones, though I don’t really have much of a problem with that. What it basically boils down to is you being sent in to assassinate an evil general and uncovering his secret diabolical plan. There will be bits of dialogue before each mission and some strewn in between them to give necessary context, but there is nothing here that will come close to getting you invested in the characters or the narrative. Story isn’t really something you expect from a game like this, though, and this has plenty of other things that more than make up for a ho-hum story.

Sniper Elite III

That isn’t to say that there aren’t other core areas where the game could be improved, though. There is an unfortunate amount of texture popping that happens whenever you zoom in with your sniper rifle, which means that you will be seeing movement that you may confuse as an enemy when it really isn’t. This problem becomes even more apparent in the game’s online mode, which becomes very aggravating when you are caught off guard due to focusing on something that isn’t there and then you are subsequently picked off like a sitting duck.

Regardless of texture popping, the game’s online mode is still a lot of fun. You have your standard deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, though in a game that focuses much more on stealth these modes feel quite different. Instead of running around looking for your next victim in deathmatch, here you find a spot that gives you a good field of view and patiently wait to notice someone moving about. Patience rather than aggressiveness is rewarded just like in the campaign, and it’s definitely a nice change of pace. There is even an interesting mode called Distance King, which uses total distance of kills rather than kills themselves to tally points and crown the winner. I love this mode because it reinforces what the game is all about and encourages it to be played in a stealthy manner, which makes it much more difficult for the inevitable jerk to ruin the experience.

Rebellion Oxford has done a damn good job with Sniper Elite III. The series definitely didn’t come out of the gates roaring, but as time has passed they have learned from their mistakes and fine-tuned everything they have done up to this point in a solid manner. The core gameplay experience has been vastly improved across the board, with bigger and richer environments, tighter and tenser gameplay and a great multiplayer mode to boot. It’s not going to win any awards in the story department, but with gameplay this involving I don’t feel that it detracts from the experience very much. If you’re looking for an alternative to the typical shooter that is popular today, Sniper Elite III is the best option to do so.

Condone

Killer Instinct Hitting Retail With A Sweet Value

This is a great deal for those who want some fighting action.

The Xbox One-exclusive fighting game, Killer Instinct, is set to make its retail debut with Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack.

The pack will retail for $20 and feature 8 fighters that are currently available in the game: Fulgore, Glacius, Jago, Orchid, Sabrewulf, Sadira, Spinal and Thunder. However, the game will also come with a download code for TJ Combo, who is a new fighter that will be available in the second season of Killer Instinct.

Killer Instinct Combo Breaker Pack

This is a really sweet value, because the free-to-play version of the game only features one character and asks you to spend an additional $5 on each other character you with to play as. If you’ve tried the game out and would like a more fully-featured experience at a better price, this might be the perfect time.

Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack will be released on September 23rd for the Xbox One.

Boss Galaga Looking To Suck Up Super Smash Bros. Characters

The arcade classic will be having an impact in the new Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai has teased another interesting bit from the upcoming Super Smash Bros. games, this time electing to show off a cameo character known from the classic arcade shooter Galaga.

The character in question is Boss Galaga, who is infamous for trying to pull the player’s ship in with its tractor beam and double its power. Boss Galaga will do the same thing in Super Smash Bros., though this time it will just lift you up off the screen.

smashgalaga

Sakurai said the following about Boss Galaga:

“If you get caught in the Boss Galaga item’s tractor beam, it will carry you away to the top of the screen. You can shoot it down, but it won’t join you in battle for double the firepower.”

Super Smash Bros. is set to release for the 3DS on October 3rd and the Wii U by the end of the year.

Evolve Alpha Starts This Weekend

Check your inboxes!

Turtle Rock Studios’ highly-anticipated co-op FPS Evolve is set to start its alpha this weekend. If you’ve any interest in the title and have the systems that can run it, be sure to check your inbox as there just may be an alpha code waiting for you.

The twitter account for Evolve announced that the first wave of Evolve alpha codes have been sent out, although they also note that there will be more opportunities to get in on the alpha in the future.

The alpha will runs from August 1st to August 3rd, so get to it!

4.6 Million People Played The Destiny Beta

I guess you could say that there are some people interested in this game.

You might not have been aware of it previously, but a heck of a lot of people played the Destiny beta. How many people exactly? Well, according to developer Bungie, they calculated 4,638,937 users playing the game in total.

Activision revealed has revealed that this amount of people playing the beta of a brand new franchise is a new record for betas, meaning that Destiny’s success when it releases in September is basically guaranteed.

Bungie CEO Pete Parsons said the following about the huge beta success:

“We were totally blown away by the number of people who played the beta. We surpassed even our own goals and the feedback was invaluable. We cannot thank the community enough, the response was humbling and in the weeks ahead we’ll be working hard to ensure that Destiny lives up to the expectations at launch.”

Destiny is set to release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on September 9th, 2014.

New ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’ Cinematic Trailer Shows Us Elise

Check out one of the protagonist’s most unlikely allies.

As hype continues to raise for Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ubisoft has gone and released a really impressive cinematic trailer for the game. Although the trailer shows off excellent visuals and action, the most notable part is that it introduces a new character: a woman named Elise.

Elise is one of protagonist Arno’s allies, and she is seeking to rise through the Templar order. In the video her hands are bound as she is about to be executed, but Arno shows up and saves her as they then go back-to-back and prepare to face their enemies. Check out the trailer below. 

Assassin’s Creed Unity is being developed by Ubisoft Montreal for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. It’s set to release on October 28th worldwide.

Shadow Warrior PlayStation 4 & Xbox One Release Date Revealed

The PC slice ’em up is coming very soon.

The PC slice ’em up game Shadow Warrior came out last year and provided mild amounts of entertainment for all parties involved, but now we know exactly when that same games (with some extras) will be coming to consoles. Developer Devolver Digital has revealed that Shadow Warrior will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 23rd.

As mentioned previously, the console versions of Shadow Warrior will have a few new bells and whistles; including the Arena mode, more campaign content and all-new weapons.

Although a price hasn’t officially been revealed, Devolver Digital has gone on record saying that they are aiming for a $39.99 price tag.