Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a first person shooter set in an open world that gives you the freedom to approach any given situation as you see fit. 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 review purposes
Originally in my preview of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 I had stated that I looked forward to what CI Games had to offer, hoping that the map would open up more, and that the story would be able to deliver something that pulls in the player and feels worth playing. I had also hoped that any glitches would be weeded out or non game-breaking if present. The preview presented a solid idea and what seemed like all of the tools necessary to deliver an enjoyable first person shooter. Sadly, the full game didn’t seem to be very impressive whatsoever. The story was shallow and hard to care about, and characters seemed somewhat generic. The customization seemed limitless in the preview, due largely to the fact that a preview generally houses less content than the full game, but the full game ended up barely expanding on what was available to the player in the preview. Within my first 10 minutes of playing I experienced a bug that caused me to restart my game, forcing me to deal with the painfully long loading times all over again before being able to progress through even the first mission. The glitches also did not stop there, they were prevalent throughout. Despite these disappointments, my review follows.
My favorite part about Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was the skill tree system. As wonky as the combat could feel at times, leveling up three separate skill trees based on playstyle still felt entertaining. 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 focuses on a more violent and reckless approach, while the skills within alter how much damage you can deal out and take, and how much ammunition you can carry. The sniper path focuses on allowing you to hold breath longer while aiming at your enemy and how your rifle performs in combat situations. Whereas Ghost focuses on stealth and getting in and out of an area undetected. Each tree has different craftable items, ammo types and gadgets you can unlock, forcing you to make decisions when leveling based on necessity and desire of play style. Skill points are gained 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. Throughout the games 26 story missions and 4 acts, I was able to max all the trees, and by the end of the game I felt like a god in comparison to in the beginning. Despite the fun of receiving experience based on how you performed during missions, the trees still feel limited, although this may be do to the fact that more skills may have made the game feel less realistic than intended. It would have been more fun to see skills that did more than expand your inventory or give you more stamina.
The main story is 26 missions in length, along with side missions took roughly 18 hours for me to complete. 18 hours sounds like a good chunk of time for a first person shooter, but Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 struggles with variety. The missions were obviously not all the same, but with the way that the combat works, sniping is the most fun option, and seeing the same animations over and over again started to get old long before the game was completed. A lack of customization also lead me to use basically the same loadout for the majority of the game.The random outposts spread out on the map that you could approach and take over for loot, materials and experience did little to add to the game, and ended up all sort of being the same thing; take out a few guys, grab some materials, and keep moving. 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 feels like Far Cry in this sense, SGW3 puts an emphasis on it is far more realistic than any game in that series. Herein lies the issue though, because with SGW3’s restrictive and more realistic weapons and means of travel, it ends up being less fun than the series it reminds me of. 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. This may sound appealing to those looking for a challenge, but I promise you that you’ll just end up sniping people from long range over and over again, because freedom of motion and choice is great, but unless it’s an unrealistic game like Far Cry, its not going to be as fun. The combat with any weapon besides a sniper rifle within the game is not polished enough to allow run and gun to work the way it does in Far Cry.
The game promotes a premeditated playstyle through the use of a drone that you can deploy to scope out any area you choose. The drone is compact and can be maneuvered through enemy camps, but can be spotted and shot down if the player is not careful. The drone felt wobbly and hard to control at times, which grew annoying close to the end of my playtime. Through the use of the drone you can spot enemies, high value targets, weapon emplacements, materials or loot, and even potentially lucrative sniping positions, although on some missions your allies will point out a sniping position to you, almost to suggest that the player should snipe for that specific part of the game. 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, though my plan did not always go the way I may have wanted. 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, which is also hard simply due to the unpolished feeling of rifles and shotguns in general. Other useful gadgets include mines and different grenades, some of which are unlocked through skill progression.
Sniping is definitely Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s focus, and it felt very polished and rewarding, especially when compared to how other weapons felt. 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 felt 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. Despite the rewarding feeling, the animations for long range headshots or kills grew tiresome to watch. SGW3 has bullet time much like a game like Sniper Elite, but is not nearly as detailed, and without the x-ray feature, and is more or less the same looking with each kill. Sadly, sniping is the only rewarding and fun feeling within the game’s combat systems, any other weapon types felt clunky, basic, and all around hard to use due to the fact that game wants you to snipe, making it so that its hard to go guns blazing. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 also boasts 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 can could be crafted at the crafting table within your safehouse.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s map was a relatively large map for the open world shooter that it is, with what looks like a lot to do. The main issue is that there are only so many industrial areas or groupings of buildings on the map, which was where most missions took place. This meant that some areas were re-used for separate missions. Large portions of the map also consisted of largely dead space that held little to no interest in terms of exploring it, such as large patches of trees or little settlements of glitchy and poorly rendered NPCs and indestructible obstacles that commonly obstructed the use a vehicle. In one such instance I drove over a wooden cart and some trash, thinking I should be able to drive through it or over it, but it brought my vehicle to a hard stop, kicked me out of it, and then blew up my vehicle, killing me in the process. Some portions also only served the purpose of housing an enemy outpost, which more often than not weren’t worth going out of your way for just to kill a couple enemies and grab some materials for crafting.
The Final Word
All in all, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is not a perfect game. It’s missions will occupy you for close to 20 hours, and for the completionists out there, even more time, but there are better, more entertaining games out there that will occupy you for just as long, if not longer. The story may not be entertaining enough to hold your attention for that long anyway. The sniping is actually fun, but can grow old since it is the only source of entertainment, and the skill tree and ranking can be intriguing, but are ultimately shallow. For anyone that is a die hard sniping fan that can overlook a bland story and a bleak world to explore, along with some glitches along the way, you may find this game enjoyable.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 2.5 out of 5 – Mediocre