Review: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has its moments but was not ready for release
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is a step-up in the design department, but a relentless number of glitches and crashes prevent this game from being worth a buy.
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Developer: CI Games
Publisher: CI Games
On the surface, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is the kind of game military fans dream of. While it’s primarily known for its sniping mechanics, the game lets you freely explore an open world environment, while tackling story missions, side-ops, or whatever you may find in the wilderness of Northern Georgia. It doesn’t hurt that the game’s mission structure is a natural playground, empowering the player to tackle concrete objectives in a way that feels naturally free and fluid.
It’s just a shame that it all crashes and burns almost right away with its hit or miss performance, cliche narrative, and a poor save system. While I can put up with a story that makes you laugh by trying too hard to cram “badassery” down your throat through its characters, it’s when I start missing out on shots when a frame freezes on me, yet the action keeps playing out, resulting in a miss and a cheap enemy alert. Or when I’m right in the middle of a mission, popping gloriously gruesome headshots while maintaining my cover and a black screen of death pops up, and I’m forced to restart the game and the mission from the very beginning.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3.
When Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 agrees to play along, it’s easy to lose yourself in its missions.
As mentioned earlier, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 succeeds in its mission structure. Each one feels unique from the other, and the game doesn’t hold your hand in determining how to go about tackling each one. There’s a legitimate build up to each mission, as your survey the lay of the land and enemy position from your drone in the sky, as you gather the necessary intel to formulate a plan on the fly.
It’s this flow of going from the build up of recon to planning, and seeing your plan through to completion that can make Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 feel as rewarding as any military shooter on the market. What also helps the game are its three pillars, Sniper, Ghost, and Warrior. As a Sniper, you can choose to keep your distance and pick off enemies one at a time to create a path to your objective. There always seem to be just enough perches that are far enough away to keep from being spotted and to pull off double kills, that manage to find the right balance between convenience and effort.
As a Ghost, you can go in close, silently taking down and/or interrogating enemy soldiers for added Intel while a Warrior is the guns blazing approach. Obviously, with the name Sniper at the head of the game’s title, that is the pillar that feels the most refined, while Ghost and Warrior are often only serviceable at best.
The world of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is pretty vast regarding its size, but considering the glut of open world games that have come out in 2017, SGW3 doesn’t do anything to push that genre forward. If anything it feels like it checks off the boxes of genre conventions, which is fine, it’s just worth noting.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is a war of attrition just to play.
For all of the things Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 does well, there’s a lot it does wrong. This game was delayed due to Beta feedback, and its multiplayer component is curiously missing, chalked up to the developers not wanting to “dilute any potential from the single player experience.” So considering the technical state that the game is in (I.E. not good), it makes me think that CI Games was not finished with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. And boy does it show.
From the outset of the game (literally the first scene), I had major problems with frame stuttering on both CG and gameplay. At times, the stuttering would be so bad that the game screen would go black and crash, which is an issue being reported by many Steam users as of this writing. The stuttering has proven to be inconsistent, as it doesn’t seem to be a particular area, and there are moments where everything works as intended. But it can get out of control in a hurry, and you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time waiting to play Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 than actually playing it. Yes, some segments can take up to five minutes to load.
There are also a few inventory glitches, which if you aren’t careful, can run you into some problems. The game seems to have a hard time remembering how many bullets you carry, or sometimes won’t register ammo that you purchase, but will sometimes recall it if you shuffle through your weapons, restart the game, or even die. Sometimes I found that the bullets would come and go simply by reloading my gun, which was pretty frustrating. Fortunately, you make enough money from each mission to where you shouldn’t be left without any ammo, but it’s certainly a glitch that needs fixing.
As fun as Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 can be to play, it’s just tough to recommend the game in its current state, especially since CI Games is asking the full $60 for it ($50 on PC). A lot of the game’s problems can be fixed via patch, it just feels like Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 was not ready to hit the market on release, which doesn’t help anyone.
Perhaps things will change in a few weeks or so, and at this point who knows what state the multiplayer mode is in. It’s just worth wondering if there will even be enough of a player base left to make it all worth it. For now, you’re better off waiting for a sale until this game gets patched.