At first glimpse Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 has all the potential of being this generation’s marriage of Splinter Cell and Hitman wrapped in the open world exploration of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Offering free roam ‘do it how you want to’ gameplay, plenty of side missions, mod friendly load outs and several options for completing missions, I really had high hopes for this latest title from developer CI Games. Yet despite a promising first hour or so of gameplay, it’s repetitive, lackluster gameplay and weak storytelling find Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 missing the mark. So let’s take aim at this title and see what it has in store. Yes, I did that… twice! This is our Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 review.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 finds you taking on the role of John North, a no-nonsense Marine on a mission to destabilize the separatist leadership of Georgia (not that Georgia the other one!). With his brother MIA and reports surfacing that he may still be alive, John works tirelessly to complete his mission all the while searching for his brother.
Unfortunately, the storytelling falls flat and left me with zero desire to see how it all unfolded. With poor character animations during cutscenes and weak dialog and delivery, I found myself face rolling the keyboard every time a cutscene started, desperately trying to skip it. What could have been a great set up for some rich storytelling, that could have touched on real issues of loss, desperation, and determination instead delivered a hollowed out placeholder.
With the lackluster storytelling, I found most of my time spent wandering the wilderness of the open world of Georgia. One thing I do appreciate about this title over its predecessors is that it tried to develop an open world allowing players to explore and take on challenges as they see fit. For the most part, you can engage most situations any way you like. This coupled with the loadout system really gives you the freedom to play the way you like.
If you’re like me this means you’ll spend a lot of your time planning, scouting and positioning yourself for long range, silent sniper warfare. This is especially satisfying as you need to adjust for elevation, range, etc. The reward for a perfect shot is a nice slow bullet cam of the kill. These were always quite satisfying moments after having spent the time to line up the shot.
If you prefer a more direct approach load outs offer a lot of options for blowing things up, shooting everything in sight and spreading chaos any way you like. Perhaps your find yourself missing the days of your splinter Cell glory; feel free to sneak up on enemies while monitoring your noise meter on the mini-map. Success sees you perform a sweet knife kill. Hide the body and lay in wait for your next victim. These are all options and this freedom is definitely one of the strengths of the game.
In regards to the open world I have to mention that although the game claims open world and to some extent achieves this, the world you are given feels empty and bland. Perhaps the developer was trying to convey a sense of being alone and outnumbered, in an attempt to create tension but all that came across was a lack of polish and thought on world design. The only time I really ran into people that weren’t targeted was when I was rescuing them from the aforementioned red and deads. The world has no sense of life to it. It’s as if the table was set and the invites were sent out but no one bothered to show up to the party. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 isn’t the first title to suffer from this kind of shortcoming as an ‘open world’ title but it does make me wonder what could have been if the game had stayed in development a bit longer.
As mentioned before the game offers some side quests and I really appreciated the distraction from the story. For the most part, you will find these missions to be of four major varieties; kill the target, fetch the thing, rescue the hostages and disable the other thing. That pretty much sums it up and unfortunately, that is only fun for about four or so missions, unless you get the same type more than once in a row.
Don’t misunderstand me, I understand that there are only so many types of missions you can put in a game but it’s the repetitive nature of the presentation that makes it so painful to play though. Little effort seems to have been put into mixing it up in regards to side missions and when you do complete them the payoff doesn’t really have much impact. Sure you may get a nice loot crate or a little rep with a faction but the game doesn’t do a great job of communicating what you have achieved or make you feel like your contribution really has an impact on the world. This is disappointing and feels, once again, like a missed opportunity.
Final Thoughts on our Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 Review:
Overall Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a slightly below average shooter. It does have tight controls, some solid RPG elements in the form of load outs, weapon unlocks, etc and gunplay does feel satisfying. Sadly, however, the title never realizes its full potential and we are left with some mediocre systems and ideas that are never fleshed out. If you like a ‘slow, thinking person’s shooter’ that rewards patience and planning, it might be worth your time, but understand that you’re in for a lather, rinse, repeat type of game that ultimately uses systems and ideas that have been better developed and implemented in other titles.