Sniper Ghost Warrior is a beautifully complex game that gives you the freedom to approach any given situation the way that you truly desire. As the title suggests, you can be a sniper, a ghost, and a warrior in any capacity you desire to complete your mission.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
Developer: CI Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
MonsterVine was provided a copy for preview purposes
Each combat approach has its own skill tree, that you can choose to level up as you see fit based on how you want to play. The Warrior tree seemed to focus on how much damage you could take and how much ammunition you could. Sniper focused on allowing you to hold breath longer while aiming at your enemy and how your rifle would perform. Whereas Ghost focuses on stealth and getting in and out of an area undetected. Each tree led to different craftable items and ammo types, forcing you to make decisions when leveling based on necessity and desire of play. Skill points are achieved through how you approach situations, giving you experience based on each facet of play, meaning that you gain points for a tree by playing in that style. Sniping someone from a long distance garnered more than up close, and additional experience would be gained for going in guns blazing or stealthily eliminating people one by one. At the end of each mission you gain experience for each tree separately, so if you sniped more, you gain more experience for that than the other two trees.
While the preview only had two real missions, and a few random outposts spread out on the map that you could approach and take over for loot, materials and experience, the map felt open and explorable. The presence of outposts and the way you move through the environment felt a lot like Far Cry, giving you a truck to drive around freely and multiple vantage points to approach an area from. While the game felt like Far Cry in this sense, it is far more realistic than any game in that series. The combat is unforgiving and requires thought-out actions. Where Far Cry allows you to sprint from spot to spot guns blazing, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 wants you to plan out every motion you choose to make.
The game promoted this premeditated playstyle through the use of a versatile drone that you can deploy to scope out any area you choose. The drone is compact and easily maneuvered through enemy camps, but can be spotted and shot down if the player is not careful. Through the use of the drone you can spot enemies, high value targets, weapon emplacements, materials or loot, and even potentially lucrative sniping positions. I found myself using the drone as often as I could, it had a battery which depleted after using it so much, but recharged over time. Through the use of this drone I could find all or most of the enemies and pick the best place to take them out from. It felt extremely rewarding to plan out a course of action and act it out flawlessly. I had to wait for the right moment during a patrol to pick someone off to avoid detection, and move quietly and methodically to infiltrate and take people out with my silenced pistol or throwing knives. When I got detected, the game quickly punished me, having all enemies converge on my location to gun me down. You die swiftly and painfully, making warrior based combat hard to pull off. This did not make it impossible however, planning who you take out first based on their position and doing it quickly allows you to succeed, upholding the game’s theme of being prepared and thinking out your actions.
Sniping is definitely Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s focus, and it felt very polished and rewarding. Depending on how far away you are from your target and wind direction, you have to adjust your scope and compensate. While I am not a professional sniper or expert in sniping, the sniping here feels very realistic, much more so than in other games. Pulling off a headshot on my target after adjusting for wind direction from a couple hundred meters away felt fun and challenging, which made it all the more rewarding. That sounded sort of demented, but it’s the truth, this game has great sniping mechanics. Of the three rifles in the game, I tried two of them, one suited for faster firing but less range, and another for the exact opposite. There were different attachments available for the rifles, including bipods, longer range scopes, silencers of varying durability ratings, extended magazines, and seemingly more that just weren’t available in the preview. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 also boasted multiple ammo types that could be carried and used in action, ranging from tracking bullets that spotted the enemy to armor piercing, for shooting through helmets, armor, or walls. These different ammo types could be crafted at the crafting table within your safehouse.
The safehouse in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a cave in a secluded mountain off the beaten path that houses a cot for you to sleep in, a mission laptop where you get intel and select your mission, and crafting tables. You could use the cot to sleep to a specific time of your choosing, which allows you to choose the time you wish to embark on a mission. A player that prefers stealth could then approach a mission in the dead of night if they chose to, allowing you to further approach each situation as you want. From the crafting table you can craft items such as ammunition, and a variety of gadgets like, but not limited to smoke grenades and plastic explosives with materials you pick up in the field. By accessing the mission computer you could select your desired level, where you get briefed on the situation, and any optional objectives that went along with it. On the table next to the mission computer was an area that allowed the player to select their loadout, equipping any weapons and gadgets desired, and placing attachments on chosen weapons. The player was allowed a slot for a sniper rifle, a secondary long gun like an assault rifle or a shotgun, and a pistol. Each gun had what seemed like many customization options, such as sights, magazine types, grips, camouflage, and more. While the preview didn’t have too many guns or attachments available, there were many attachments slots visible, just not accessible, and a wall that displayed all of your owned weapons, with what looked like at least twenty plus places for other weapons to go. So it’s safe to assume that there will be no shortage of weapons and attachments for any players’ playstyles and desired configurations in the full game.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s map seemed to be a relatively good size for the open world shooter that it aspires to be. My only concern when looking at how many industrial areas or groupings of buildings there were, which was what both missions took place in, was that each area would have a single mission, and that that would be it, or it would make the mistake of recycling areas. While this is purely speculation, because for all I know the map could be bigger in the full game, I had the fear that based on how many mission-like areas there the game may be shorter than desired. Again though, this could be entirely arbitrary, I just hope that a game this open, with as much customization and personalization in how you play and approach a situation as it has, that it is able to reach its fullest potential. Aside from this fear, I only experienced one bug while playing, which was when I exited my drone I was returned to my character in third person mode, I could move around but not shoot so I had to load my checkpoint. This bug didn’t happen every time either, only on one occasion.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is out on April 4th, 2017 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and this gamer is very excited to play the full game.