For the series’ third outing developer CI Games takes Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 all open world.
As Marine Captain Jon North, you are send into war-torn Georgia to play havoc with the local separatists on behalf of Uncle Sam. More importantly for Jon, however, is the search for his captured brother, Robert, who has been seen in the area.
One look at Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s open world all I could think was Ghost Recon Wildlands, a game inspired by Ubisoft’s own Far Cry games- the first-person series of which probably serves as a better comparison.
Ghost Warrior 3 has, unfortunately, come out far too close to Ubisoft’s so much more polished, similarly-named, open-world addition to their Ghost Recon franchise. And that’s a shame. Whilst they are two totally different games, comparisons between the two are irresistible.
But whilst Ghost Recon is all about the co-op multiplayer, for now, in Ghost Warrior 3, we only have the single-player campaign game- CI Games being on a promise to release a multiplayer module free-of-charge at a later date. If you pre-ordered the game, you got the season pass for free, unlocking the first single-player add-on, an extra campaign featuring a female sniper entitled Escape of Lydia.
The Sniper Ghost Warrior games are an oft overlooked pedigree. The lack of a big advertising budget is probably the only thing wrong with the series. The previous games have filled a void as a modern-day sniper game. It’s only real peer being Rebellion’s WW2-themed Sniper Elite series.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s gameplay is based around a series of missions which are played by sniping, being a stealthy ghost, or as a gung-ho warrior. See how they got that title? These are the same traits reflected in the upgrade skill tree.
You honed sniper skills are reflected by your scout mode. When activated, not only can you see the enemy highlighted, but you can also see areas that you can climb. If there’s any about, you can also see footprints, allowing you to do a bit of tracking.
You can carry a sniper rifle, a rifle and a sidearm, all of which can be ungraded in your base, providing you have the resources. You can also equip extra ordinance, such as grenades and even a drone a la Wildlands. By looting the bodies of your victims, or finding caches in the field, you obtain the resources to fashion bullets and other equipment.
The bullet cam gives you an extreme sense of satisfaction as you watch your victim buck and buckle as the bullet passes through them. Not as graphic (satisfying) as the X-ray view of shattering innards that Rebellion’s Sniper gives you, but a nice touch, all the same.
With main missions and side missions, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 follows the open-world model to a tee. From your home hub you can adjust your loadout, craft equipment, buy ammo and launch missions. You have a vehicle waiting outside to take you to your goal or you can fast travel via a network of discoverable points around the map.
The initial loading time is pitifully slow. I swear I had cassette-based ZX Spectrum games that loaded faster, back in the day. It took so long I thought it had crashed. It takes about five minutes to load- even on a PS4 Pro. The only advantage of this is that you don’t have to put up with any other loading screens, unless to change region, that is.
The three regions are fairly big, together, probably not as big as Wildlands’ Bolivia, but they do offer a diverse set on environments to play in from jungle to snow. Be prepared for another five-minute wait as you transition between them.
There was a time when the CryEngine logo at the beginning of a game pretty much guaranteed some decent visuals. Whilst Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 looks very nice, they’ve not really strayed far from the generic output of the game engine. Not when you consider the much more visually superior Prey uses the same engine. Ghost Warrior 3’s visuals are about on per with the PC version of the four-year-old Crysis 3.
Good news, though, anyone that experienced some choppy graphics in the beta will be please to know that the game runs like butter on a PS4 Pro. The game isn’t without its issues, I had to put up with a number of crashes during my playthrough- something I don’t expect on a PS4.
I really enjoyed the previous games in the series, and I enjoyed this one as well. I thought that the open world really wasn’t exploited enough, and almost wished for the more intimately controlled experience of past entries.
It’s not that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 isn’t a good game, it’s just so derivative, it feels like the gaming equivalent of a direct-to-video action movie. If you go in expecting something that breaks the mold you are going to be disappointed. If you want to play something that does what it says on the tin, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is it. Dependable, a bit predictable, rough around the edges, but still good fun to play.