Sniper Elite v2 was disappointingly linear, but it looks like the next installment is shaping up to be much better. Oh, and yes, there are plenty more heads exploding in slow motion.
I played about an hour of Sniper Elite 3, running through a campaign level and some co-op multiplayer. Overall, everything that I had the chance to play got me excited for the franchise again.
The original Sniper Elite wasn't perfect, but its open level design left you with little instruction on how to complete your mission. In most games, that would be frustrating, but when you're playing a sniper behind enemy lines trying to assassinate a target, it's perfect. Sniper Elite 3 seems to be doing a good job of bringing that feeling back, while mixing in some more story-oriented moments.
Another thing that was very frustrating about the second game in the series were some of the mechanics. They're what you'd expect, loud noises to mask your shots, guards would look for you if they heard you, etc. Unfortunately, they often felt more frustrating than challenging. So when I played the latest game, I decided to go the hardest route, skip the easy sniper shots and spend my time sneaking around under the enemies' noses. Even though I ended up getting killed, it was only because I threw a grenade at a wall, which I unfortunately can't blame on the game mechanics.
I didn't get to spend as much time on the multiplayer mode, but it brings back the Overwatch mode from V2, where one player is armed with a rifle, and the other has an SMG and binoculars. This time, however, the spotter isn't stuck in a tower. Both players are on the ground and have to figure out how to work together to progress through a level. There's also a 5v5 team deathmatch mode, so you can test your spotting abilities against your friends.
Check out the video above for some other thoughts, some footage from the game, and a lovely montage of heads exploding. Look for the game on June 27th.