Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 can be split into three sections: time spent having fun playing the main missions of the game, time spent toiling around in an empty open world – complete with underdeveloped RPG mechanics, and finally time spent waiting for the game to load. I’d love to say that the first of these took up the majority of my time with the game, or even an equal share of it – but it was more likely the opposite order, meaning Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 has very little to offer as an overall package.
Graphically, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is passable at best. Textures are often blurry, and basically every character look as if they’ve been pinched out of a high end PS2 game, or maybe a low end PS3 game. The world itself is good looking enough, but its bland and empty and grey… so grey. The lighting effects are often sub-par and driving around the open world of Georgia is almost unbearably dull – I’m not sure if I experienced any other vehicles on the road and the games’ version of collectibles and side quests are rarely enticing enough to pull me away from driving straight to the next mission. To make all of this worse, the loading screens are basically constant throughout, and the major ones can take in excess of 5 minutes – I thought I was exaggerating when I wrote this on the first draft and decided to time it, 5 minutes 43 seconds. During the entire time that I waited for the game to load, and listened to the god awful music that plays, I just keep thinking how the game really isn’t worth waiting for.
The main missions of the game represent a high point of the experience. They’re well crafted, vary in pacing, length and scope of area. The various objectives are relatively the same, but they game does a good job of framing “kill target A” or “analyse evidence” in different environments to make it always seem fresh. Using the drone to scope out the mission areas to find your target and mark all of the enemies works fairly well throughout, although flying the drone can be fiddly at times – and the enemies seem to see it a lot easier that they see the player (sometimes I managed to evade enemies’ line of sight by just laying down). Sniping in the game, as you’d expect, works spectacularly well – although on the easier difficulties most of the work is done for you with a reticule showing where you should actually aim.
However the game really falls apart whenever you have to stop being stealthy and get up close and personal with the enemies, usually the game struggles to cope with basic gun fights, with frame rate drops frequent throughout. The shooting mechanics are also choppy and way below the expected standard of Battlefield and Call of Duty. The skill system also does little to reflect any real style of play – with only 9 options per branch (of Sniper, Ghost, and Warrior – all of which you will level up naturally throughout the game). The crafting system in the game is also somewhat underdeveloped. You have access to a variety of rifles, pistols and knives but most of these are two similar – and modifications do very little to make each gun feel personalised or special from the last. Despite setting out with the view to upgrade and build my arsenal I eventually gave up in favour of using the same rifle for the majority of the game. Playing with the season-pass content also gave us access to the compound bow, which despite exciting me at first was just not conducive to the demands of the game at all.
Finally the game has no multiplayer at launch, and the story or side missions are not compelling enough to pull me back for another play-through. I’m not sure if you can replay missions… I’ve tried to figure it out multiple times but it seems like the game won’t allow me to – which is another disappointment because some of the specific missions are great and I would love to try a different tactic a second time through. I feel like this review sounds a lot worse than I mean it to, I did have a really good time with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s missions. But for all that it does wrong I can’t recommend it to anyone other than the die-hard Sniper Ghost Warrior fans…