Go behind enemy lines with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
The Sniper Ghost Warrior series has traditionally been geared towards a specific audience looking for realistic sniping mechanics. However, CI Games is looking to change that with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s the first game in the series that breaks free from linear gameplay and adapts an open-world format.
With no narrative connection to previous games, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the perfect time to jump into the series without worry of missing out on anything. Does CI Games risk of changing gameplay from the tried and tested linear format to an open-world pay off? Let’s find out!
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: CI Games
Publisher: CI Games
Genre: First-person shooter, tactical shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer (coming later in 2017)
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A story of brotherhood, faith and betrayal
Previous games in the Sniper Ghost Warrior series were never really story driven. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the first game to revolve around a full fledged story. You play as a “follow the book” type American sniper named Jon North.
Along with your brother Robert, who uses unorthodox methods and is skeptical of authority, you are both dropped into enemy territory in northern Georgia, nearby Russian borders. Your mission is to destroy an abandoned stockpile of Soviet-era bio-weapons before they are stolen by terrorists.
While you and your brother are successful in your mission, Robert is captured by an unidentified group of special forces. It’s now two years later and you have accepted an assignment to return to Georgia to help destabilize local Georgian Separatist cells with a hidden agenda of locating your brother Robert.
For the most part, CI Games does a great job pulling you into its world by telling a story of brotherhood, faith and betrayal. However, I would have liked more of an established history between Jon’s relationship with his brother, which drives much of the game’s story. This relationship building would have went a long way into building bonds that are key to the plot.
Dynamic open-world freedom
While Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s narrative may need a little polishing here and there, the game more than makes up for it in gameplay. As the game’s name suggests, one may think the gameplay is heavily focused on sniping. However, along with sniping and armor-piercing bullets, you can stab foes, use exploding barrels, run enemies down with a vehicle, and give bad guys a swift knee to the face. There is even a new drone tool, which you can use your drone to spot and mark enemies, hack terminals, and more.
The game is divided into four acts, which are composed of three maps each with a varying number of main campaign missions. From finding hidden items and searching for collectibles to rescuing civilians and clearing towns of terrorist—there isn’t a shortage of things to do in any of the game’s three maps. Traveling the terrain can be done by driving an off road dune buggy or by unlocked fast travel points in the map.
Another addition to Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 are safe houses. Scattered around the maps, they allow you to sleep so that you can heal, purchase and modify weapons, choose a new mission, or craft equipment and bullets by using resources you gather off of your opponent’s bodies. Aside from the main campaign missions, there are also optional side missions that unlock during certain points in the campaign. While these side missions aren’t necessary to complete the main story, it adds some minor along the way.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 features a progression system that allows you to acquire skills and abilities in three different skill trees; Sniper, Ghost and Warrior. In order to acquire these skills and abilities you must use experience points.
Be it killing enemies at range, marking targets from a distance or just getting up close and personal with stealth takedowns—there is a wide variety of different tasks you can do to earn these points. Additionally, there are a number of secondary objectives that when completed award precious bonus experience points.
Some valuable skills that you can earn include gear crafting taking less resources, extra magazine capacity, and auto loot on corpses. While far from being imaginative, these are skills that become very useful as you progress through out the game.
Crytek’s CRYENGINE shines
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s visuals are powered by Crytek’s CRYENGINE, which allowed CI Games to create a vast open-world that surpasses previous games in the series visuals. I have to admit that the game’s visuals might not be able to go toe to toe with some other AAA titles in the same genre.
However, given the fact that this is CI Games’ first AAA game, they did a great job. The snow-capped mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, forests, and quaint villages—Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s open-world is more than satisfying.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 exceeded my expectations and then some. I have to applaud CI Games for taking the gameplay to the next level and bringing the franchise into the modern area with an open-world. There is plenty to see and lots to do.
The game’s multiplayer portion is still being worked on by CI Games. While it is a bit of a bummer that this component didn’t ship with the game, it will be available via a free update in the coming months. I particularly liked the introduction of the drone to the game. It makes it a lot easier to scope out the area and mark your enemies.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is undoubtedly the finest entry in the series to date. It shares common key elements of games like Sniper Elite 4 and Ghost Recon Wildlands. That being said, if you are a fan of either game then you’ll want to check out this game.
+ Excellent shooting and sniping mechanics
+ Multiple gameplay styles
+ Great variety of weapons
– Loading times can be long
– Multiplayer not available until later in 2017
– Occasional framerate issues
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5
Overall Rating 3.5/5 (70%)