Review: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • Blu-ray Disc
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (42.5 GB)
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: CI Games
Developer: CI Games
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the first “AAA” effort in the series. CI Games is a little-known developer out of Warsaw, Poland, and they came up with an interesting concept. They tout that you can “be a sniper, be a ghost, and be a warrior.” Sounds like a great concept, let’s have at it!

I really wanted to like this game, I truly did. I had few expectations and initially I was pleasantly surprised. But after many hours I grew tired of the gameplay and started to really notice all the flaws. The lack of any real player choice showcased how this game would be, best case, mediocre.

As I continued I encountered crashes, poorly executed mechanics, and an uninspired story. Each time the game loads, you get to enjoy an agonizing six-minute loading screen with the same Slavic folk song playing on loop.

All this at the full $59.99 price point. Is it worth it? Spoiler alert: no.

Gameplay:
Let’s start with the good.

The sniping mechanic is well done. There is a decent amount of complexity, but it’s not taken too far. When aiming you’ll have to compensate for the wind and distance – bullets and arrows have an arc in this game.

The bullet cam is a great addition. It’s extremely satisfying to see the cam immediately take over after you’ve perfectly lined up a shot. You’ll see what I mean in my gameplay video. That said, the aiming mechanic is overly generous. In shots where bullet cam CLEARLY shows I would have just missed the target, I still get a clean hit.

There are various gadgets & upgrades that add to the game and its strategy. Right off the bat you’re given a drone. This is used to scout an area, marking enemies and helping you find a good vantage point to hunker down in. Considering the importance of sniping, this bit of kit is necessary. It can also be upgraded over time with night-vision, heat-vision, etc. You can even use it to distract enemies, creating a new combat technique.

Alright, now that that’s over with, let’s get into the bad, and trust me, there’s a lot of it.

In my experience here, any method other than sniping is a futile endeavor. Which is sad, because the main appeal of an “open world game” is to play how YOU want to play. Every mission I encounter has me doing the same thing, hang back and snipe.

… It’s almost as if the game has purposefully nerfed the other weapons …
What if you choose to just run in, guns blazing? Even if you bought heavy armor, you’re going to die, and quickly. Plus, the other guns are so unwieldy that you’re going to have a hard time just aiming at your opponent.

What if you’d like to go in all stealthy, sneak up behind and take out enemies? You’re going to find yourself in the same boat as the run-and-gun technique. While the game did build an interrogation move, most enemies are planted with their backs to a wall. There’s also no effective stealth or cover mechanic other than crouching and staying out of your enemy’s line of sight. Sure, you can throw a rock or other lure, but in my experience, they rarely work as intended.

Let’s talk about weapons, as there’s a great variety. But unless it’s a sniper rifle or pistol, don’t bother. The compound bow is super disappointing and not at all fun like in the Far Cry series. The automatic weapons are so unwieldy you’re going to have a hard time aiming at your intended target. It’s almost as if the game has purposefully nerfed the other weapons to shoehorn you into exclusively using the sniper rifle and handgun. So much for the promised variety of gameplay.

Let’s also talk about the open world. It’s pointless. The only reason I can think that the developer decided to go open world was because every other “AAA” game is doing so. If you’re going to do open-world, you damn well better make sure the location is interesting.

The map here is very small by today’s standards. As a result, they tried to cram as many side missions into each square foot as possible. You also start the game with every point of interest unlocked and marked on your map.

… crashes that result in you losing all your progress …
Where games like Horizon: Zero Dawn create interesting worlds that encourage you to explore and unlock map secrets, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 provides a world I couldn’t care less about exploring. I often found myself saving a few hostages, driving up the road a hundred feet only to see another group of hostages! Is there anyone in this town that isn’t held hostage? I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to sort this out for yourselves, I can’t be bothered.

With the lack of a quality world and side missions, we’ve got an equally lackluster story. It’s a generic story where your brother was kidnapped and you’ve held out hope of finding him. Other NPC’s come into play, each as forgettable as the last. So yadda-yadda, the end.

Now let’s talk about bugs. The publisher admitted there were some initial problems and asked that we make sure we’re running the latest version. Perfectly fine. However, after the update I seemed to be getting occasional crashes when picking off headshots. The kind of crashes that result in you losing all your progress from that play session.

Visuals:
The game runs in CryENGINE, and as you’d expect it looks pretty good. Textures all quite detailed and the framerate is pretty steady. You also get a day to night transition that works very well. They make good use of dynamic weather and lighting effects, to the point that it does affect the gameplay. For example, high winds will cause your bullet to drift when sniping.

Characters models are very limited, and you’re going to see the same enemies over and over again. There are also a few visual glitches to be aware of. It’s common to see you look “inside” a solid object or enemy head to discover it’s a hollow shell of itself. Remind you of anything?

… It’s a cheap $40 title pretending to be one of the big boys …
Audio:
Audio is solid, but I don’t feel like they took full advantage of Surround Sound. Since there is a stealth element, it would have been great to see them expand on this a bit more.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
I’m genuinely disappointed. I had hoped for something good. Something that would stand out and show that CI Games was a developer to be taken seriously. Instead they’ve only highlighted what makes their game inferior to the competition.

One thing I have yet to mention is the weird way in which they are selling this game. $59.99 USD gets you the “Season Pass Edition.” But from what I can tell, this is the only version they are selling. If you’re including free updates in the future, just tell us. Don’t try to hide it in “AAA” gaming lingo.

And that perfectly demonstrates what this game is. It’s a cheap $40 title pretending to be one of the big boys. If I were you, I’d pass. Go get Far Cry 4 or Ghost Recon and have yourself a proper experience.

Score:
4.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Sam Jividen

Sam Jividen

Musical guy, went to college for it. Now like many musicians I’m working at a tech startup.

My first gaming memories harken from the NES. While I had a Genisis later, I always found myself going back to the NES to play Super Mario 3 or Mega Man 2. These days I’m usually gaming on my PS4 or PC.

Some day I’ll be Honey Boo-Boo famous.

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  • I played through the first Sniper Ghost Warrior. I dug it, but like you mentioned with this game, CI Games just doesn’t have the same resources as the AAA guys and it was definitely rough around the edges and I noticed far more bugs and glitches in it than most games. It was still a decent sniping experience though, and oddly enough, it had a level that was a break from the methodical, intense sniping levels with a level that was just very linear run ‘n gun, in ‘n out level that was a great pallet cleanser. Too bad it sounds like they attempted that here with their open world options and it just flopped on its face. I’ll probably stick with the Sniper Elite games instead since they have been consistently of better quality. Nice review Sam!