Sniper Elite 3 trailer shows off Tobruk city, then blows bits of it up

It's not people that are the casualties of the small slice of war depicted in this trailer, but places. Specifically, it's the Libyan city Tobruk, which gets roundly shelled, shattered and exploded, all to demonstrate Sniper Elite 3's new fancier tech. At least, that's the case for the first minute of the trailer. After that, people are definitely the casualties. One person, to be precise, in a particularly gruesome way.

For the most part, the trailer seems to suggest an openness that was sorely lacking in Sniper Elite V2. But as promising as this teaser may be, my thoughts are largely centred around the final few seconds.

Sniper Elite V2's killcam bothered me for a number of reasons. It's partly because I enjoy sniping in video games. It's a technical challenge that's one of the more interesting interactions you can have with a game's gun. But the pleasure I get from that challenge is completely removed from the effect: the digital rendition of a person's face being disintegrated into dust and jelly.

Part of me thinks that - because of those reservations - the system could have been an affecting, if somewhat trite reflection on The Horror of War. Except, V2 just didn't function like that. It's constant slo-mo shots lingered on its lavish representation of collapsing organs in a manner that felt almost fetishistic. At the very least, it seemed like a cynical attempt to encourage viral videos of skilled or notable gore. There was an assumption that we, as gaming enthusiasts, must like this sort of thing. I didn't.

All of which doesn't take into account the main problem: it was so frequent it became tedious. Every couple of minutes, the game was interrupting itself to show off what its engine could do. It was like Burnout's impressive but frustrating crash animations, only instead of the twisting and scraping of inanimate metal, it's the perforation of a lung and the shattering of a spine.

That said, I don't know how Sniper Elite 3 will implement its version of the killcam. Maybe it'll be done in a way that's more tasteful. I suspect not, given that this trailer seems to be doing the same thing with more graphics. We'll find out for sure when it's released next year.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.