Game: Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
Release Date: April 18th 2017
Developer: CI Games
You lay down in the tall grass. Your target, an international gun runner, is 400 meters away. Your breathing is controlled. Your scope is zeroed in. Your opportunity has come. You pull the trigger. BANG. He goes down. The enemy is confused. You walk away.
CI Games’ Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 puts players in the shoes of elite sniper and marine captain Jonathan “Jon” North who is on a mission in Georgia to stop a dangerous separatist group, and to find his missing brother Robert. It’s a classic action movie story, but packed in a gorgeous game with great sniper mechanics. Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel when making the story as sometimes it’s the classics that works the best.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 mixes the open world gameplay we all know with levels for each chapter, which in the end, makes each level a big open world where CI Games allows players to perfectly plan out their missions, weather it’s up close and personal or from far away where no one will ever find you. Sniper Ghost Warrior mixes and matches to create a truly great sniper game, and the only sniper game on the market that isn’t all about testicle shots.
Brothers to the end - no story spoilers
The story was what I thought was going to be the weak point of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, but as it turns out it’s one of its stronger sides. The game begins with Robert North, Jonathan’s little brother, aiming down the iron sights of a hunting rifle in the woods of the Rocky Mountains. Jonathan walks up on him to say good bye as it’s his last day before shipping off to join the marines. As it turns out, Robert is doing all he can to be like his older brother. Fast forward a few years to the tutorial of the game and the North brothers are now special ops working together, a real dream team. They will soon wake up from this dream as they are ambushed and Robert gets kidnapped. Fast forward two more years and we got our game, Jonathan has been sent to Georgia to bring down a dangerous separatist group, but his real intentions are to find his brother who has been spotted in the region several times. The story will take quite a few turn before we get to the bottom of it all, and most of us will enjoy it all the way through.
Remember your camping gear
This is a sniping game, expect a lot of walking around to find the best spots and waiting for the right opportunities. With that being said, there is a lot more to Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 than just sitting at the same spot camping for hours. It’s a rather dynamic game gameplay wise.
The game comes with a big arsenal of rifles, secondary weapons, pistols, and gadgets. Even though some are not all that useful, most of them still manage to help you find your own playstyle instead of pushing you down a “developer prefered” loadout. The drone, which is an important tech thing you always have, can also be customized to suit your playstyle, lure enemies, see them better for tagging, more flight time and much more.
The missions in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 are really fun and that is mostly due to its big open world. Each chapter of the game has its own big open world for you to explore, and while it’s not the mix exciting and living world to explore, there are side quests and stuff to find if you want. The big thing with the open map is how it plays in with the quests. When you start at quest you aren’t dragged into a locked area. The quest area is located on the big open map and once you get there you have the whole map to yourself to use to plan out your mission. If you want to challenge yourself with making the kill from 500+ meters while standing in the clocktower in a whole different town then you are free to do so. Same if you want to stealthily sneak up on you target and take him out with you combat knife or silenced pistol. Granted, some are more linear but that happens in every open world game.
The best way to describe the gameplay in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is to compare it to Far Cry 4 but with a whole lot more realism, functioning stealth, and, of course, much better sniping. Though while you can compare it to Far Cry don’t got buy it and expect this to be it, they’re two different style of games and CI Games took the best of the Far Cry concept and made it its own tasty stew.
Who knew Georgia was that beautiful
We aren’t talking about the USA Georgia, we are talking about the country Georgia and CI Games really manages to capture the former Soviet state of Georgia. The republic of Georgia has many faces, from the Soviet apartment blocks to the beautiful nature to small villages and towns to various hidden locations in the forest. All of it beautifully rendered it the CryEngine to really give it as great a look as possible. CI Games made sure to make all times of day beautiful as well combined with some weather effects. Georgia looks really great.
Though Georgia could look even better. There are some graphical issues in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, maybe even too many. In the tutorial Robert’s gun goes through his own legs and the mountain while tieing a rope, textures take a while to load in all over the place, and most of the bad guys are the same bald and bearded goons. Otherwise it’s a really good looking game.
This is a game I really really enjoyed and one of the game I looked forward to the most this year. It pains me to admit that there were some big problems with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3. Besides the graphical issues, there was a really big one already in the tutorial. You are sneaking up on an enemy and supposed to interrogate him to get intel on where to go next, you are prompted to press “X” but that doesn’t work and the enemy just enters the “T” pose and you can’t get the intel. I just walked around to what looked like the objective and could force progression, but that is quite the bug.
The sense of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 needing more development time sticks around the whole game. There are optimizing issues, graphical problems, and gameplay bugs. Though they aren’t that big as the one I just described they are in too many places. Since I really enjoyed the game we even asked CI Games on what they are doing to fix all these issues, which is alas why this review didn’t release when the embargo dropped. Here is a statement from CI Games which we would like to quote in its entirety.
“First off, we’d like to thank everyone who has supported us in our endeavor to make the best sniper experience possible. It takes a huge amount of effort in order to make a game on the scale of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, and we’re committed to making the game even better as we continue to support this past release.
The game is being received well in the market and we are collecting valuable feedback from players and are actively taking steps to make sure that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is even better moving forward. So, I wanted to explain what our plans are in support for the game:
Before we release any more content for the game, we have dedicated staff working diligently to further optimize Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 to ensure fewer issues with framerate and loading times.
Only once we feel that proper headway has been made on the system performance, will we begin adding extras such as the much-requested multiplayer component.
We’re 100% committed to making the best game we can. Thanks again to all of the people who have supported us so far. We couldn’t have done this without you.
At least there will be fixes, but the flaws are already here, making it difficult for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 to be the game it could be.
But what should it be rated as?
I have seen many reviews of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and what has struck me is how they judge it, and that is the inconsistency of how most websites do it. Gamespot for one first praises one aspect to then take a dump on the exact same. First they complain on the open world which provides the grounds for tackling missions in any way you want to then go on and praise the open world since it gives missions a more open feel. Then they praise how Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 simulates sniping and how it is to be an elite marksman, something which includes stealth, to then complain about how stealth dilutes the game. How does that even work? Where is the logic there? That is just one example. Another is how Eurogamer, a site obessed with framerate and everything working perfectly, gave Halo Master Chief Collection 90/100 while complaining about this game. For reasons they simply turned their heads from in Halo.
Then to what and how should a game like Sniper Ghost Warrior be rated and compared? As a sniper game? As a Sniper Ghost Warrior game(then it would be a 100/100)? As a open world fps game? On the same scale as Witcher 3 as some seem to do it? I believe Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 should be rated similarly to Halo Master Chief Collection, a game that somehow got a metacritic score of 8.5 even with non functioning multiplayer for a long time, and that is how I will argue my score in the upcoming Verdict.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a great game with a lot of flaws that somehow never really interferes with the game too much. The nature, the sniping, the atmosphere, the everything around you really immerses you into the game. If you play on a manly difficulty, anyone without the little red guide dot, then you get the true feeling of being a sniper. You are 500 meters away and have to predict how your bullet will fly and how the wind will catch it, you have nothing to really help you with it. It's something which really immerses you into Georgia and into the boots of a ghost warrior.
As far as Sniper Ghost Warrior games go, this is a great step up from the first one which was too linear and had its own fair share of issues. As far as sniping games go, this is the best and most realistic on the market and something I would recommend over the Sniper Elite games. Something that really makes Sniper Ghost Warrior shine is how the game really lets you tackle missions how YOU want to and even the more linear missions have a lot of different options to allow for stealth.
But what about the bugs? Well, they do hinder Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 for being the game it could be and what I want it to be. A fully “functioning” game would be a clear 90/100 in my book I can’t turn my head on these obvious issues, though they are never game breaking or as bad as Mass Effect: Andromeda and the faceial animation debacle they are there and act as a road block for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3. As of now, this is a standard 72/100 game, not a mediocre movie license game but also not anything new or a technical marvel. The bugs and optimization issues stop it from being more than a middle of the road stealth sniper game.