If you are a fan of Sniping games there have largely been two main franchises to pick from. You have the Sniper Elite franchise and the Sniper: Ghost Warrior franchise both of which have multiple iterations out on the market to date. The Ghost Warrior franchise has generally been worse than the Elite franchise but developer CI Games claims that Ghost Warrior 3 is the first “AAA” entry in the franchise giving us all hope that it has stepped up its game. However after finishing it I found that most of the problems that have plagued this franchise are still here if not worse than they ever have been in the past.
Let’s start with with story of the game which sees you playing as an American Marine named Jon North who had his brother kidnapped two years before the game takes place. Jon’s mission is to head to the country of Georgia to stop a cold war that is taking place but while there he also hopes to find his missing brother as he’ll make known to you over and over when talking to other people. There really isn’t nothing here story wise that hasn’t been seen before and I never really ended up caring about any of the characters and their motivations. Most of the twists in the story I saw coming a mile away as well.
Now unlike the older Ghost Warrior titles Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has made the shift to open world which sadly I think was a mistake. First of all upon starting the game you have to sit through a 4-5 minute load time which is just absurd and unacceptable. The developer said it was to help reduce load times throughout the rest of the game but there are far more impressive open world games that have come out in the past few years that don’t remotely have load times anywhere near as long. The open world is divided up into three different areas too and moving between them make you suffer through yet another long load. There really isn’t any excuse for this especially given the shortcomings in other areas of the game.
The world of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is decently sized but far smaller than what you would probably find in other open world games today. The world is full of missions for you to approach whether it be main story missions or side content. Some of this side content can affect what happens in the main story missions but you don’t have to do them if you don’t want to. Other things you can do is hunt down collectibles, rescue people, clear out enemy filled towns and other things but I grew bored of most of this pretty early on. There is only so many people needing to be saved over and over I can take before the repetition sets in. If you’re going to make an open world game make sure it has interesting content the player wants to do not just content for the sake of having content. Exploring these different maps can be done on foot, by vehicle or by using fast travel points once unlocked. Thankfully the fast travel loads aren’t nearly as bad as the load times in all the other parts of the game.
Now most games go the open world route to give the player more freedom to approach things how they want to. Seeing as how this is a game about sniping you’d hope that it at least gets that right and I can say it sure does. When you bring up your sniper rifle and plan your shot you’ll have to account for the wind and the distance of the target. The difficulty that you play on can also offer some assistance or make for a more realistic experience if you play on a harder setting. Once you feel confident you fire and if you’ve lined up your shot well you’ll get an awesome bullet cam showing the bullet travel and take out your target. There is no X-ray cam here unlike that other sniper series but it’s still pretty cool. If you want to locate your targets more easily you can deploy a drone to scout out the area and much like other games upgrade it to get new abilities like distracting, night vision and more. Now while the game nails the sniping pretty much every other way you may want to tackle a mission doesn’t work as well.
There are other guns in the game you can use but if I tried to use any of them and take out multiple enemies I was usually killed pretty quickly. Auto rifles and such such just feel far worse in this game and don’t work very well which resulted in me just going back to sniping to take out my enemies. The stealth mechanics in the game don’t work particularly well either so if you want to go in like a “Ghost Warrior” you’ll end up disappointed. I just don’t get why this game is open world at all as it really doesn’t offer you much freedom. The game is also full of technical problems such as framerate problems, getting stuck in spots in the world, and hard crashes resulting in me having to close the game and having to suffer through that almost five minute load time yet again.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 isn’t exactly impressive graphically either. It uses the Cryengine but many things just look dated whether it be the character models, the textures, the foliage or the animations. I reviewed this on PS4 Pro and to my knowledge it runs exactly the same as the base PS4 version. Maybe Pro support is something coming in the future but as of now it runs just as bad on both systems. The game doesn’t do anything with its sound effects or soundtrack either that are really worth mentioning. You also might have heard about a multiplayer mode prior to release of the game but it is absent from the final game. CI Games plans to add it in the future at some point but if the single player gameplay is this bad I can’t imagine the multiplayer will be much better.
So would I recommend Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3? In its current state and price no I absolutely would not. I keep hoping that CI Games has finally figured things out only to be let down again and again. I don’t think this game needed to be open world and the problems it has are frankly unacceptable given what other open world games today are doing. Even if future patches fix the long loads and many technical problems the game is full of meaningless content and the gameplay outside of sniping isn’t fun. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 succeeds as a sniping game but fails at most everything else it set out to be.
*Review copy provided by the publisher