Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a game that does exactly what it says on the tin. It nails the sniping controls, offers interesting missions, and provides the itch of becoming a Ghost Warrior. The unnecessary (and frankly dull) story and open world mechanics, however, drag down the experience. If you like to use snipers or delve into stealth missions in your first person shooters, you should give it a shot.
You are Marine Scout Sniper Jonathan North (Generic Soldier #1), who is sent to Georgia to find more information on a shady secret organization called 23 Society and help soothe American-Russian relations. His brother Robert (Generic Soldier #2), another sniper in the field, went missing after a mission went south and Jonathan is trying to find more information about what happened to him.
If you want a fascinating story of intrigue about a sniper and his secret operations, you will be disappointed. It is the same drivel we have been going through since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It is filled with generic military talk, missions that leave you not knowing what’s going on, and characters that are generic as they come and say cuss words to sound dangerous. This game within its cutscenes gave flashbacks to the Call of Duty parody that came from a Bulletstorm ad campaign, Duty Calls. The performances are flat, the writing leads to no tension, and the animation on the characters is laughable. In one scene, a hostage at gunpoint doesn’t sound afraid at all (and he’s sitting so still to the point of looking relaxed) and Jonathan due to the writing, does not come across as concerned for the sake of the hostage or the mission even though the voice actor is trying his best. It’s so awkwardly timed in its delivery and the logic of the villain doesn’t make sense. Also, we only see this villain once in the entire game so there is no sense of tension.
Let’s get to the main reason why you want to play this game: the sniping. It’s a fun change of pace with missions that will have you thinking methodically about how to approach each situation. You can use a drone that scouts the area that can point out where units are, night vision goggles, frag and smoke grenades, a rock (for luring enemies) and different types of bullets that have varying functions like luring, explosive rounds, and armor piercing. This is the sniper experience. As the game is open world, this game isn’t linear in design. It’s so cool to figure out which way would be the best for your play style. There are places to hide, vents to crawl through, CCTV cameras to hack, different ways of entering a base, and you can interrogate enemies to get more information. This openness of the gameplay for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is its best facet.
This game offers that satisfaction you get from stealth games. Getting around enemies without them knowing, wiping out an entire base with little to no retaliation, and that bullet cam all make this game fun to play. It’s difficult as well. The separatists won’t go down easily as they are sharp. You can get picked out quickly and get reported on. Soon, a wave of enemies who are still in the base come at you. Here comes the frustration: the lack of checkpoints in some missions. If you fail, you may have to restart a fifteen to twenty-minute level because you messed up a slight shot and you get swamped with enemies with mortars firing at you or you didn’t see a mine on the ground while running away. It can get frustrating for the fifth or sixth time. Half of the time, the missions are structured in goals that you accomplish but whenever you’re trying to capture outposts, this is not the case. In two rare occasions, the game froze. After that, I rebooted the game, waited five minutes from the loading screen (yes, it takes that long), and I was sent all the way back to my home base, so I had to drive all the way to the mission again.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 does a good job at changing up the mission structure from a derivative subgenre of shooters. Most of the time, City Interactive succeeds but there is a sprinkling of recon missions that have players grabbing objects around the area. These are incredibly dull and can be frustrating as the map and “item sense” are ineffective. These missions also focus on the narrative of the game, which as previously stated, feels unneeded and leaves much to be desired.
Another aspect of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 that feels unneeded is the open world itself. It’s the next game in the latest trend of making a series open world to show that there’s more content. There might be a lot to do in this game, but the rewards from exploring are as dull as the environment around it. All you can get is currency and ammo; that’s it. What’s the point of finding every spot when there is so little to find? The derivative landscapes and the lack of interesting landmarks make this a world not worth exploring. It can be beautiful, however, as the sunrise, sunset, and moonlight beam down on Jon.
In 2017, this game looks dated on the PS4. In cutscenes, the characters have little emotion in their face, and the models are low resolution. The game looks washed out on screen and textures on environment objects aren’t up to scratch with current titles. On the other hand, this game’s lighting looks stunning; for example, the flickering of light as a turbine propels in a vent. Seeing the smoke from a fire the player has caused from faraway also feels impacting.
As a sniper, it is ever so important to hear everything around you, and City Interactive nailed the audio. With a newly bought PS4 Gold Headset from Sony, the sound of the sniper shooting and the echo that comes afterward was amazing. Sounds from the environment and the car exhaust revolve around and it is immersive. The music, while not spectacular, also gives you that feeling that you’re in a Bond movie.
Even though there’s a generic narrative to carry you along and an unneeded dull open world to surround the player, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 does exactly what we expect. It’s a fantastic sniping game that has a multitude of ways to approach a mission and it succeeds at changing up the mission structure. If you like stealth games or using a sniper in the Battlefield games, for instance, this game is definitely worth scoping into.
A Review Copy of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was provided by City Interactive for the purpose of this Review