Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 Review — The Most Unoriginal Shooter in Years
Marred by technical issues, last-gen graphics, and stale gunplay, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is one of the most unoriginal shooters of this console generation.
Over the past few years, the first-person shooter genre has seen a rise in games that focus on pinpoint accuracy rather than the spraying and praying methods that are often found in other titles within the genre. Franchises like Sniper Ghost Warrior and Sniper Elite have led the charge in this new sub-genre and have added new, unique ways to play shooters.
Coming into Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, I was incredibly excited to see what it offered. This game served as my first entry into the sniper focused shooter genre and I was looking forward to seeing how it fared when compared to other shooters on the market. Unfortunately, my time with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 left me frustrated, bored, and indifferent to its poor graphics and weak gameplay. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is completely out of its element in 2017, and instead feels like a game that we would have seen in the last generation of consoles.
From the opening moments of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 — and before you even begin to actually play the game — you know that something is wrong. There’s a good chance at this point that you’ve heard about the loading issues that the game has on PlayStation 4, which is where I played the game.
To simply load into the world of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, you’re forced to sit through load times that range between four and 6 minutes. I wish I could say that this was hyperbole, but it isn’t. These long load times are also present within the game whenever you travel from one open world area to another. Keep your phone handy for these moments because you’ll want to text your friends or scroll through Twitter while you wait.
I think what’s most absurd about these lengthy load times is that I cannot fathom what is taking so long to load. Sure, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the first entry in the series to go open world, but the landscapes are segmented and are honestly not even that large compared to other massive open worlds we have seen within the last couple years of gaming.
Plus, the graphics in the game are almost laughably bad. Trees, enemies, and weapons are all completely devoid of texturing. While many games don’t do textures very well, SGW3 is one of the first games I’ve ever played where this issue seriously bothers me. When I say that I’ve seen better graphics on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, I’m telling the truth.
To put a cherry on top of this already poorly running game, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 crashed or froze for me multiple times in the middle of various missions. You know what that means, right? Time to relaunch the game and sit through those exciting wait times again while it loads the most graphically underperforming visuals of this console era. So much fun!
Graphics and performance issues aside, the actual gameplay elements of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 will put you to sleep quicker than a warm glass of milk accompanying a bedtime story from your mother. Maybe I expected too much coming into it, but the sniping elements of the game don’t feel unique when compared to the sniping in most other first-person shooters. There’s a few different options such as setting your scope to account for how far away an enemy is, or setting your sniper against a sturdy surface to keep your weapon more still… but that’s about it.
The strangest thing to me about the sniping in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is that whenever you are aimed and ready to fire upon an enemy, holding your breath will make a little dot will appear on your scope. This dot represents the final landing point of your bullet after accounting for distance and wind speed. Essentially, as long as you place this little dot over the enemy’s head, they’re going to drop to the dirt.
This pretty much negates any need to set your scope to account for distances or wind speed and instead just becomes a game of put the yellow dot on the bad guy’s head. No matter how far off center from the actual crosshair of the scope this dot may be, you’re always going to land a headshot as long as you focus on aiming this dot rather than aiming the crosshair.
Accompanying the sniper element of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 are two other combat strategies called “ghost” and “warrior.” You get it? It’s like the title of the game. Anyway, these three separate categories determine how you will be given experience points based on the way in which you take down enemies within a certain scenario.
Wanna pick off enemies from afar? You’re gonna get experience points in the sniper category. Want to sneak in close and silently kill enemies with your knife or silenced pistol? This will fall into the ghost category. The warrior category is pretty much for when you want to live out your dreams of being John Rambo and charge into an outpost with your full auto weapons letting everyone know that you’ve arrived.
Each category has its own skill tree which you can then upgrade using the experience points you gain from each style of play. Sadly, most of these “upgrades” straight up suck and have almost no positive benefit to how you’ll approach your next combat situation. There are some abilities like increased breath holding time that help a lot but, for the most part, I found the skill trees to be useless.
All things considered, the mechanics of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 are just okay at best. It doesn’t feel as snappy or responsive as other shooters on the market but it does its job. I think what really hinders the game from every spreading its wings and setting itself apart from other titles on the market is its uninspired missions.
Most missions center around — big surprise here — you driving to a random part of the map and sniping someone. Do I really know who it is I’m killing? No, but that’s another point entirely. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the missions themselves are all incredibly bland and don’t offer anything that I haven’t seen before. Most missions feel like they’re only there to help fill out the game and lengthen it rather than offering unique objectives or situations to give you a chance to play in the open world.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about that open world. The bland graphics and textures don’t do it any favors in terms of how it looks, but it’s also just not memorable in any way. After my time with the game, I couldn’t tell you one notable location that stands out to me.
Additionally, I didn’t really understand the purpose behind making the game open world. More often than not, a vast majority of the game’s areas are full of dead space that simply serve as filler for you while you drive to your next mission start point. While it’s nice to be able to traverse around at your own free will, it often seemed like the missions that I were doing focused me down a specific path anyway and showed me where I should set up shop for sniping.
There’s no reason why Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 needed to be open world other than because many other video games have also made the transition to this genre as of late and have found success. Don’t make your game open world just for the heck of it, make it open world because you want to try something different that no one else has done before.
The one big thing that I have yet to touch on is the game’s story. You play as Marine Captain Jonathan North who is sent to Georgia — not the state — to help take down some local Georgian Separatists. Jon takes this mission with the ulterior motives of finding his lost brother, Robert, who was captured in a mission with Jon two years prior at the Russian-Ukrainian border. While your overall objective is to take down these Separatists, your personal goal is to find Robert and bring him home.
I think what annoyed me the most about the narrative is the way in which it jumps around. The opening scene of the game focuses on Jon and Robert as children before quickly jumping into the future and seeing them both as soldiers on the mission at the Russian-Ukrainian border. At the end of this prologue mission, you see Robert captured and taken away. Then, the story jumps ahead two years. What’s frustrating is that this time jump is poorly conveyed and left me confused as to what was even going on and how I ended up in this new area suddenly.
Confusion is a big theme in this game’s story because I often had no idea what was happening. This includes who specific characters are, what my overall objective was, or why I needed to complete a certain mission to progress. I don’t know why I need to kill this guy, but the game told me to do it, so sure.
On top of that, the writing is poor and the dialogue specifically sounded incredibly unrealistic. Not to mention, the voice acting narrating said dialogue wasn’t doing it any favors. I found myself yelling at my TV on more than one occasion that, “People don’t talk that way!”
Additionally, you can see some of the major plot “twists” coming from a mile away. There are some interesting themes within the game’s story focusing on brotherhood, family, and loyalty, but they’re hindered by poor writing and confusing plot delivery methods.
There’s a couple of other notable elements to Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 that I haven’t touched on such as the ability to use a drone to spot enemies and a crafting system. Like a majority of the rest of the game however, none of these elements feel fleshed out or necessary, and were instead just included for the simple reason of being there.
In the end, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 feels like an amalgamation of gameplay elements that were thrown together simply to check some boxes. Open world? Check. Skill trees that offer no notable upgrades? Check. Totally unnecessary crafting system that you’ll never even think to use? Check. Everything in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 ranging from the gameplay to the story falls below average of every other shooter on the market right now.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 feels like an amalgamation of gameplay elements that were thrown together simply to check some boxes.
I also think it’s worth addressing that some have complained that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 didn’t ship with its promised multiplayer at launch. However, if that game mode ends up being anything like the single player, then it’d be better if it never showed up.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is filled with unforgivable load times, piss poor visuals, and gunplay that is better in nearly every other military shooter. From top to bottom, it’s an uninspired and technical mess. Many of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s issues could have been looked over maybe five years ago, but not in 2017. It’s a game that is almost certainly undeserving of your time and even more undeserving of your money. Dodge this bullet and go play almost any other first person shooter from this console era. I can guarantee you that you’ll have a better time.