The Failings of a Gamer – missing the mark with Sniper Elite III

I had a rather inconsistent time with Sniper III. On occasion I was a sniper elite (the difficulty that I played the game on), silently dispatching my enemies with well placed shots masked by the sound of artillery fire, or sneaking up behind them and slitting their throats with my knife. In those moments, I felt like the man. I glided through the shadows, stalking my enemies and observing their movements like a hawk in wait of the perfect time to strike. Like a ninja I would jump from cover to cover, seamlessly moving without being seen; I was the silent assassin. But on other occasions in the game I was more bumbling buffoon than stealthy killer. I would accidentally bump into my enemies and alert them of my presence. I would forget that I was standing, rather than crouching, and sprint out into the open, clearly announcing my presence for all to see. I would even stumble off of ledges and hit the floor with a *humph*, pre-warning the enemies in the most ungracious way known to man. In these moments, which were more often than I care to admit, my playing style violently swung from well timed shots to stabs in the dark. I’d lose my cool and go at my enemies with a Thompson, which often ended badly. I died more times than I can count, and was spotted more times than I though physically possible. Some of these gaffes were down to my own inability, but others were down to the bugs, glitches and ridiculously observant AI. So, for the next few hundred words, I’m going to tell you about how I failed at being a sniper, pointing the blame at both myself and the game… but mostly myself.

The time I almost completed a level without being spotted

So I had spent the good part of an hour sneaking up behind my enemies and dispatching them with my knife, or carefully watching their movements and taking them out with a neat headshot from my Welrod. I had masked an unthinkable amount of sniper shots with the sound of artillery fire or planes flying overhead. I had even timed an explosion to the second, so that my fuse went off and detonated some explosive barrels with TNT at the precise time a plane flew overhead. It was painstaking to say the least. I had come to my final objective, all I had to do was escape the compound unnoticed. In my cockiness, I decided to complete an optional objective inside a bunker, a simple ‘retrieve the Intel’ job. I snuck past the guards, opting to leave them un-assassinated due to my lack of ammunition, slipped into the bunker, retrieved the Intel and was off on my way. I saved the game as I retrieved the Intel, to make sure that I wouldn’t have to repeat the side-objective again, after which I quickly realised that I’d trapped myself inside the bunker, with only one exit. I hadn’t bothered to watch the guard movements, and thus didn’t know that they completed their rounds by inspecting the bunker. Cue a never ending sequence of events where I would attempt to take out both guards silently, get spotted, get killed, reload the save, try to take the guards out silently, get spotted, get killed, reload the save. This went on for at least twenty minutes until I finally lost my nut and went all Rambo on their arses, shooting them with my Thompson and blowing them up with grenades. Suffice to say, the entire compound heard and I had to run with my tail between my legs to the extraction point.

The time I waltzed with a tank

I had almost completed the mission, all I had to do was take out a tank and leave for the extraction zone. Simple. Well, not really. Apparently tanks aren’t easy to kill. I had tactfully planted an anti-tank mine surrounded by two TNT charges in the road that the tank was using. Like a true demolitions expert, I sat and waited for the tank to set off my chain reaction of devastation with quiet anticipation. The tank drove over the trap, I paused for a second, ready to enjoy the shred of metal and the hollow boom of the explosion, but nothing came. I sprinted down the road to see that the tank had actually manoeuvred around my slightly obvious trap. I pulled out my sniper rifle, held my breath and fired at the explosives. The TNT exploded with a deafening roar, about twenty metres away from the tank; it was pretty much unscathed. The turret began to turn to face me, so I did what any self respecting sniper would do, I ran at the vehicle. I sprinted at the tank and pressed myself against the back. It began to turn, so I turned with it, locked in a graceful waltz as we each mimicked the others movements. A minute went by when I finally realised that the tank could do this for an eternity, whereas I still needed to eat my dinner. So I calmly walked away from the tank, with my back to the killing machine, and awaited the shell to strike me down. It did, and I was forced to replay from my last save… almost twenty minutes of game time earlier.

The time I warped through a locked door

Here’s one that wasn’t my fault. I was being super sneaky and crawling up by the window of a room full of enemies. As I reached the window, one of the enemies spotted me, so I quickly bolted away from the room and down a corridor. I reached the end and hit the floor, quickly turning as I lay prone. As I turned I was warped through the shut door next to me, into a poorly rendered, never ending corridor. I ran around the corridor for a bit, but couldn’t find a way out. In the end I had to call it a day and blow myself up by shooting a landmine I had laid on the floor next to me. It was a rather fitting end for a depressing glitch.

When I was forced to kill the same man three times

More stories of fail that weren’t entirely my fault! I decided to complete another optional objective, this time being asked to eliminate the radio operators in another bunker. There were two men sitting by the radio, but one of them looked a little odd. I crawled as close as I could, examining the men before taking the shot. I decided that it seemed legit, drew out my Welrod and took aim. “three bullets”, I thought to myself, “more than enough”. I steadied the cursor onto the first guy’s head and fired. He dropped like a sack of spuds, as did the second guy as I dispatched him with style. But what was this? There were two other men inside the second guy. Literally inside him, like some sort of twisted Russian doll. I quickly shot the third guy, but I didn’t have enough ammo for the fourth. He turned to face me and shot me in the gut with his rifle. I died and had to start over again. Best. Glitch. Ever.

The mystery of the solid lake

This one is going to be short and sweet. I killed a guy by a lake and thought to myself “I’ll hide his body in the lake!”. So I picked him up, walked to the water’s edge and threw him in. Well, I say in, I actually mean on. He seemed to just land on the top of the water, as if it was actually a faux floor that’s designed to look like water. I thought nothing of it, other than that it was a stupid bug. But ten minutes later a patrol discovered the crops and my sneaky plans were ruined. I had to shoot them all with a series of incredibly well placed shots. Actually, this is more of a win. I shot all four of them in a single breath. I call that a comeback.

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So there you go, a list of my fails, and the game’s fails, on Sniper III. It’s a good game at times, but it can also be incredibly frustrating, the sort of game that you’ll rage quit out of for a day, but then forgive all the next. Mostly because you get to see some guy’s eye blown out of his skull in super slow motion. It’s the little things, you know?