Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the first game I’ve played in this series and if Emma Bunton asked me “What took you so long?”, I wouldn’t have an answer for her, nor for you why I dragged up a long-forgotten 16-year-old song.
You set out as Jon, younger brother to Robert, who greets you in a pre-game CGI segment, just before he ships out to Afghanistan, while you’re a kid, about to try your first attempt at sniping (just watching, though, and he doesn’t get to go through with this, either), but once you’re in the army now, circumstances force you apart after the opening scene, and you’ll want to get the band back together as soon as possible.
Plot-wise, the baddies start off with a Russian guy. I could name him, but you’re hardly going to meet up and break bread together, and once one is killed, it’s onto another baddie to kill them, too, occasionally rescuing hostages along the way. The enemies ultimately want to set off a load of bioweapons, too, so it’s up to you alone to take care of that side of things as well. Nothing complex here, but the fun comes in getting to an area and first using your drone to go high up in the area for a recce, locating the position of each enemy so they pop up on your HUD. However, you’ll undoubtedly miss the occasional one, so from time to time, you’ll find a bullet flying through your brain and wondering how you missed that particular bad guy… well, you would if conscious thought was still possible after your synapses have been torn apart… I haven’t tried, and even if I did, I’d be unlikely to be in a position to report my findings.
The story isn’t much to write home about, but it’s okay. I don’t worry too deeply about such things – videogames are not Shakespeare, and at the end of the day, I just want to get in there and start killing things!!!
As you walk around each area, when enemies spot you, their level of detection increases – allowing you to step back a little and make you lose interest, but once they know you’re there and everything turns red, it’s too late to pretend any more. As a newbie to the SGW franchise, I’m still very familiar with this in the Sniper Elite and Hitman series, so it serves this game very well, indeed.
There’s lots of other standard stuff to this, too: inbetween missions, get to the safehouse where you can rest, check your weapons and loadout, craft items, etc. And make sure you buy new ammo – it doesn’t just refill at the start of each new level like most games.
And as you’d expect, you can buy and upgrade your weapons as you go, but like most games, once you’ve got your trusted favourites in your hand, you’ll stick with them to take out the enemy.
There’s also multiplayer content to this title, but for me, single-player campaign is my bag and I was looking forward to this one as I didn’t have to faff about with controlling AI ‘colleagues’ such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Graphically, this looked outstanding when it began. I saw glorious textures close-up on land, as well as looking down into a fast-flowing river, seeing the water rush by. Running through the forest, it was like being in The Revenant… although with less bears. But then the problems began. Let’s list them all one by one, and I’m sure that the majority of them can be resolved by patching:
- While the graphics are fast and fluid a lot of the time, there are times when everything breaks up like a Norman Collier's 'faulty microphone' routine (old ’80s reference, there… good job I linked a video), so you lose the flow of the game as the picture and sound pause briefly. I can’t see any reason for this. I know it’s not me as it happened when the game was trying to do other things, such as tell me I’d reached a new area as a mission was about to start. And I’ve got a beefy PC.
Alas, it happened way too often which made me wonder whether this game had any play-testing at all, since if it had, it would’ve been noticed within two minutes. Yes, Hitman has similar issues but nowhere bad as this. The problem’s not exactly Batman Arkham Knight, but it falls somewhere inbetween these two titles.
- There are crazy-long loading times when you start the game or in loading in the next level. Thankfully, whether re-loading in a checkpoint after you die, or for the next level.
- The ‘bullet-cam’ shots aren’t quite as cool as those in Sniper Elite 4 and the previous titles, but they’re still decent enough. However, you don’t have control over when they appear as they don’t come up every time.
- There are some pre-drawn kills in this. Whereas Hitman and Sniper Elite make you feel like all the kills are happening in real time with respect to where someone falls – basically, because that’s how they’re rendered, in Two Birds, the first mission proper for SGW3, I got killed a couple of times, but each time I attempted the mission, I took out the sniper first. His death scene was exactly the same every time. This very much takes you out of the loop. Okay, so the SE series also does the same for the mahoosive end-of-level explosions on occasion, but that’s a big mother compared to just offing one man.
- You can’t instantly replay previous segments, so after completing the prologue, I couldn’t go back and retry it to get a decent video.
- When I first met Lydia, the graphical definition on her motion-captured face felt a bit… how I can only describe… “like a game made a few years ago”.
- I can invert the Y-axis while walking about or for using a drone, but when it comes to driving my 4×4, there is not an option to invert looking up/down in that.
Go to page 2 for some more thoughts on this game…. and a fake Amazon review??
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 – Strange blocking over enemy face
(Very High settings) (1080p HD) – PC – DVDfeverGames
And some more problems:
- There’s a serious problem with the journal, which contains all the Tutorial material. It’s a list of things you need to know, which you can scroll up and down, and with the latest addition always being at the top. However, mine kept sticking on Detection Bar, so when I tried scrolling up, it’s like it flicked back to Detection Bar once a second every second. WTF?! Occasionally, I managed to get to the latest one and briefly read it before it did it again. Several attempts at this allowed me to read most of it, but whatever the hell is going on here, it’s really poor. This happened to me at one point during the game and then not after I’d moved on. However, the problem doesn’t just end there.
- I also found it annoying that when you go to a place on your map, or highlight anything on it, yes, it tells you who/what it is, but… it clicks off a split-second later, as if you’ve knocked the joypad even when you haven’t. Quite how this is beneficial, I have no idea, but it does need patching.
- And a third time came about when I was trying to buy ammo in the weapons cache – it would only let me look at my primary rifle. I couldn’t select ammo with my gamepad or anything else. For this time, I had to use the mouse to navigate round that screen instead, but there’s no reason why I was precluded from using the gamepad.
- While the enemies will lock onto you when they know your location for sure, they can also occasionally be quite dumb. For example, I shot one in the head from a distance while he was stood next to another one, but the latter could only look at his brains-deprived friend and ask, “You there! Are you okay??!” Well, duh!
- Amongst all the graphical issues, a couple of times I’ve come across big blocking appearing in front of a baddie’s face. I wasn’t sure at first if it’s something unfinished in a press version, or whether it’s just something else that’s badly programmed. Maybe it was just an occasional glitch? Well, no, since the second time I came across this, it was in an area where I died (again), so I was quickly able to recreate it (above).
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 – Top 10 Things to Know About Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 – CI Games
And a few more problems:
- The open-world gameplay area covers a large expanse of 27 square miles, and reportedly a gameplay time of 35 hours… although you can double that for me because I keep dying all the time like an idiot 😉
- Oh, and it crashed mid-level once, too.
- And is there a fake review of this game on Amazon? See below. Under the name Lukasz Kurukow, there are three identical reviews written on May 1st – one apiece for each version. The title is “Looking for even more fun!” with the text: “Bought it a few hours ago, enjoying way more than expected. Looking for even more fun!”
No-one does that, so that looks very bizarre indeed, especially with the glowing review when it’s got so many problems. What do you say, CI Games??
I’m reminded of the dodgy ‘reviews’ on Amazon about the film Extraction, a Bruce Willis actioner that was as much fun as the time I broke my arm last year.
Overall, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is something I can run through once, but when I’ve finished the last of the missions, I doubt I’ll be going back for a second run-through – certainly not in its current borked state. This is why I wish I could’ve retried them immediately, in order to make a decent video of each one. You know the layout at the time, but when you can only re-attampt a game’s levels after you’ve gone through the lot once again, you’ve forgotten said layout, and so you must re-learn then again. Grrrr!
The scores on the doors:
- Graphics: 6 – Looks around 9, but plays like an absolute dog
Sound: 7 – Nice explosions and gun-fire, but keeps breaking up
Gameplay: 4 – The stop-start problems are such a headache
Enjoyment: 7 – Somehow, this keeps me coming back despite the gameplay issues
Fake Amazon review? Click on the image for the full-size version.
- Publisher: CI Games
- Players: single-player, multiplayer
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Languages: English
- Subtitles: English
Writer: James B Jones
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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