Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the newest game from polish developer CI games and is available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. This review is being done from the PlayStation 4 version.
You are Jon North, a Marine Captain who, along with his brother Robert, are sent to destroy an abandoned stockpile of Soviet era weapons. You succeed but are ambushed by an unknown organization and Robert is captured. 23 months later, Jon is sent to Georgia (The country, not the state) but he chose that mission for a reason. Word has it, a man fitting Roberts description has been seen in the area…
The story is not great. One of the biggest problems is that it barely gives life to the characters. I started typing this and thought..wait…my name is Jon…right? There is a really cool idea that is brought in about a mystery sniper and then it becomes incredibly predictable and cliche for the remainder of the game. You know that point where you think “I bet this will happen”? Yeah, that’s almost the entire game.
The gameplay you experience will be a mixed bag, mostly on the bad side. But first lets start with the good, the sniping. When zooming in with a scope, you need to take bullet drop and wind in consideration. You will also need to adjust the scope for zoom (by turning a dial on top of the scope) and distance (by turning a dial on the right side of the scope). Your most best chance at being accurate is to hold your breath as you shoot. If you hold your breath, you will see a small circle on screen representing where the bullet will impact, You can then adjust where you aim by using this circle to make sure you hit your mark. This is good seeing as how it helps you be the master Sniper the character is supposed to be, but it also takes away a lot of the interesting difficulty spikes and gameplay changes that would be brought about by needing to get used to trying to read all of these and be accurate on your own. When your shot is on target you will be gifted with an animation showing the bullet going through the air in slow motion and ending with it piercing the enemy you aimed for. This is a very neat aspect but it loses its luster very fast when you snipe 12 people in an encampment and see it 12 times in 7 minutes.
Close quarters combat is a different story. The gunplay feels too loose, and almost like the bullets don’t do enough damage. I use a bow and arrow in every game I play and its completely useless in this game. The game is open world, with available fast travel, prompting you to drive or run around the map and fulfill side objects that range anywhere from finding a chunk of money, rescuing civilians, or taking out a most wanted target. Unfortunately non of these even feel different from the main objectives you are doing, that aren’t exactly great fun in the first place, so it doesn’t do a good job of making you want to participate in them. Rescuing civilians requires you to either snipe or go in close quarters to a small area and take out the small group of enemies. Or taking out a Most Wanted target requires you to go into a bigger area and snipe or close quarters engage a bigger group of enemies. Seeing a pattern? There isn’t really anything that separates the feeling of what you’re doing, so it all blends together.
Graphically this game isn’t very impressive at all. I rescued somebody and they looked like a Hi-Res PS2 game. There is also an overwhelming number of bugs I ran into as well. Should you shoot somebody earlier than originally intended, the game will still give you the objective of taking the enemy out, even though they are no longer there. I also once had a bullet disappear during a sniping animation, then every shot afterwords was nonexistent, as I would fire and It should have hit them but the bullet just….didn’t exist, yet the bullet counter continued going down after every shot. I even had a moment where I had to take out a guard as they were walking a prisoner and I shot at the perfect moment to see, while in the sniping animation, them walking through the wall. This wasn’t even a bug, that was just bad design. I even had a mission that I must have done 10 times and 8 times I had to restart due to glitches or freezes, and only 1 time I failed due to actually doing bad. It was ridiculous and I almost just quit right then and there. Music isn’t bad. I kinda like the music that plays throughout the game but in no way is it special or exciting. Sound design is is crafted rather well. Sniping mechanics are done really well with sounds of the gun, the airflow, the bullet exiting the rifle and entering the enemy. Again, it’s done fine, but nothing really puts it above anything else. The last thing I want to bring up is loading times when starting up the game, changing area’s, or changing Act’s. It’s bad. Really bad. I’ve already counted over 5 minutes and that seems to be the general time frame. The song that starts at the beginning of the loading screen restarts a little over halfway through.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 has very interesting concepts and ideas but capitalizes on non of them. There are too many rough edges around every aspect of this game and the bugs and bad design decisions are apparent almost immediately. The game isn’t unplayable but in no way can I recommend this game, especially in a year where we have had a ridiculous number of fantastic games.