REVIEWS

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

Liberating heads from shoulders one bullet at a time

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
  • DeveloperCI Games
  • Release DateApril 25, 2017
  • Platform(s)PC, Xbox One, PS4
  • Release Price$49.99
  • Rating
    2/5

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 marks CI Games’ third entry in their stealth FPS series. It’s an open world shooter, with emphasis on sniping mechanics and sneaking around enemy outposts. The developer is based in Poland, so it is an interesting interpretation of the long arm of the American military. Previous entries covered much of the same territory plot-wise and suffered from bugs, poor gameplay, and unrefined game design. So how did they do this time around?

The story in Sniper: GW3 seems to be taken straight out of a discount Tom Clancy novel. The player character is a generic American black-ops agent, Captain Jon North, inserted into Georgia (Eastern Europe, not peach country). His mission is to uphold the USA’s “world police” stereotype and singlehandedly resolve the ongoing civil war. All his friendly contacts in the country just happen to be busty, athletic women dressed in form fitting clothes. Much of the dialogue is predictable and laughably bad. I played through 10 hours of this title and did not gain any attachment to the mediocre assortment of characters on the roster, even my own.

Jon’s contacts confer with him in the safehouse

Traveling by car in this game can be as tedious as the dialogue. You’re given a series of vehicles with lackluster engines and poor handling. Their outer shells seem nigh indestructible – smashing into walls or accidentally careening off a cliff doesn’t pose much of a hazard. Even if the car gets flipped on the roof, the game teleports the vehicle into an upright position. Driving is not an integral part the game anyway as there isn’t much to see in Georgia. There are outposts and short side quests scattered between points, but other than an occasional gun or gadget unlock, there’s little motivation to complete these missions. Most of the time you just end up with a meager helping of extra resources. Fast travel points are also available around the map, luckily alleviating the need to drive between missions for the most part. With little on the map to warrant getting in a car, I found myself fast traveling everywhere instead of exploring.

With little on the map to warrant getting in a car, I found myself fast traveling everywhere instead of exploring.

The movement of Captain Jon North himself is satisfactory for the most part. A scouting mode helps highlight cliffs and edges that can be grabbed, making the climbing puzzle portions of the map less tedious to navigate. One small but annoying bug is that he can not just disembark a ladder once he reaches the bottom. He has to look away and jump off it. As the game went on I found myself taking 2 story leaps off of ladders rather than climbing down them, as the ankle breaking height doesn’t seem to bother Jon too much. Jumping feels strange as well, with Jon being able to leap 6 feet in the air with little effort and gliding back down much more slowly than one would expect.

The controls for long range shooting are somewhat fine tuned at least. Wind and distance are the two factors that must be accounted for. Distance becomes somewhat moot with most sniper rifles being capable of zeroing well past 300 meters. Wind does add a bit of difficulty to the game sometimes by pushing shots a little left or right of where they are aimed. Occasionally, sniping will trigger a slow-mo scene of your bullet traveling toward the enemy and passing through their head. It’s not quite the satisfying, bone-breaking spectacle found in other games like the Sniper Elite series.

A mercenary about to meet his maker in slow-mo

There was little penalty to raising alerts anyway. You score extra XP for stealth moves, but no extra reinforcements ever show up if Jon sets off the alarm.

If a shot misses near an enemy, the outpost gets sent into alert. It’s at this point the AI shows a couple of flaws. Enemies quickly determine Jon’s location, scatter into cover, and just sit there until you go away. The only real threat to Jon at his sniping perch are hostile marksmen with high powered rifles. Occasionally, the lesser equipped foes find the wherewithal to jump on a mortar and try to zero you in, but with most mortar positions lying out in the open, they are easily taken care of. The timing on alerts seems a bit off as well. At several points throughout the game an enemy would spot me and fire his rifle before being killed, but none of his comrades seemed to react to the sudden gunfire. There was little penalty to raising alerts anyway. You score extra XP for stealth moves, but no extra reinforcements ever show up if Jon sets off the alarm. Without any backup for the opposing force, going loud on enemies did not pose much more of a challenge than sitting on top a hill and picking them all off.

After the dust settles and the last enemy is dispatched, Jon can roam around the outpost collecting the spoils. Money and resources can be scavenged from enemies and loot boxes scattered around in mission areas. These help feed the crafting system, which provides access to ammo refills, replacing gadgets, and upgrading weapons. After several missions, I was so overflowing with crafting materials I lost most of my motivation to search for any resources that were out of the way. This alongside the lackluster plot and characters made me reconsider why I’d even want to finish the game.

Some of the game’s rough edges really show in cutscenes

CI Games has a long track record of rather mediocre games and unfortunately this entry does not break the mold.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, in broad terms, seems to be a stripped down Far Cry 4 with more focus put into bullet ballistics. While the elements of a decent title are buried in here, there is a noticeable rough edge around everything that throws off the feel of the game. Some parts, such as the slow-mo sniper camera, seem like a cheap imitation of better titles. The lack of interesting side quests made me question if a switch to open world gameplay was the right choice. Perhaps providing a focus on smaller, well-designed maps instead of three large ones would have better fit the action-stealth genre. While the game is relatively bug free and the controls are decent, there is not much motivation to complete it due to repetitive missions and uncompelling plot. CI Games has a long track record of rather mediocre games and unfortunately this entry does not break the mold.

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