Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the third installment (duh) of the franchise so you would be forgiven in believing that, at this stage, the developers CI Games would have learned from the errors of the previous titles and have presented the gamer with the most complete and enjoyable sniping experience to date… but they haven’t quite managed it.
The game has you as play as John North, a lone sniper travelling though the vast expanse of Georgia, attempting to break up a separatist movement with his unique ability to fire bullets into enemies from extraordinary distances. Somehow, you become involved in a ridiculously uninteresting international conspiracy which is told through some uninspiring voice acting and foreshadowing which is as subtle as a brick to the face.Sniper Ghost Elite takes the bold move of making it an open world game this year but don’t really use the space created to anywhere near it’s full potential. The numerous side quests are dull and repetitive and the experience of driving from A to B is uninspiring.
It’s not all doom and gloom however as the game comes into it’s own when you are actually required to do some sniping. There is a lot of satisfaction in planning and perfecting a 300 meter shot that takes down an enemy soldier and the requirement to adjust for wind and gravity makes it all the more worthwhile when you see your target’s head explode.
In many ways, this is very reminiscent of the recently released Sniper Elite 4 (read our review here), even down to the bullet-cam cut scenes which sporadically appear after firing a successful shot. While the bullet-cam is a welcome addition, it isn’t as visceral or as well designed as Sniper Elite 4 and pales in comparison.
The AI in the Ghost Warrior titles has always been substandard and it is disappointing that this hasn’t been rectified in this outing. The enemies will notice a dead comrade and sound an alert, only to check the perimeter briefly and then go back to their set patterns a moment later, sometimes walking over the corpse of their buddy without a care in the world.
The main missions are fun and can be approached in many different ways. Obviously, you can do it as a sniper but you can also opt to be a Ghost, which involves sneaking up behind someone for a stealth kill, or you can be a Warrior, which requires you to go in all guns blazing. Each one of these gives you XP points and allows you to upgrade your abilities. This opens up some scope for the game to be a hybrid of Sniper Elite 4, Hitman and Call of Duty, which would be great if only the game wasn’t vastly inferior to all of the previously named titles.
There are serious issues with loading times. Not only does it have the world’s worst title music that you are forced to listen to (your character even acknowledges this in the opening scenes), but when starting up or travelling to a different area in the game, the loading time can be up to 5 minutes which was unheard of on PS3, never mind the PS4 but that would be forgivable if it was to ensure that the ensuing game was lag and glitch free. But it isn’t. Far from it.
The graphics are fine in the most part, but there is a ridiculously bad frame rate and drawing distance which is totally unacceptable in this day and age, especially considering the ability to see targets at a distance is the main appeal to a sniping game. There are also freezing issues which cause the game to stall and force the player to reset, losing all of their mission progress in the process.
With regards multiplayer, well, there is none. Yet. In an unusual move, CI Games have decided to announce that multiplayer will be available, just not at the time of launch. Their reasoning was to alow the player to immerse themselves in the campaign and to not be distracted by other game modes. The more realistic reason would be the fact that it simply isn’t ready, but if they could realise that with the multiplayer, then surely they could have noticed that the main game is full of bugs too.
At its core, there is a fantastic game just dying to get out but some game-breaking glitches and game-play foibles stop Sniper Ghost Warrior from hitting the heights that it could.
SNIPER GHOST WARRIOR 3 IS OUT NOW ON PS4 (reviewed), XBOX ONE & PC.
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