Sniper: Ghost Warrior has always been that game that critics seem to dislike but gamers just love. I’ve had the chance to play the first two via PlayStation Now and would agree with gamers despite its flaws. To its credit, CI Games has always tried to take what the critics have said as a learning experience to better improve the series. This can be best exemplified with the quality of an experience that Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 offers.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is the kind of adventure gamers would like if they enjoyed a massive stealth action title like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Players are tossed into a massive open world that is inhabited by hostile forces and plenty of secrets to unlock. CI Games has gone all out to give Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 the AAA treatment and the end result is one of the best titles in the series.
I will admit it does have a few problems but the series has come a long way since its humble roots while its flaws will mean nothing to the fans.
Players take on the role of Jon North, a Special Forces operative who is deployed to Northern Georgia to help cripple the Separatist army, take out its leadership while finding out who is supporting them. North is also on a personal mission, locate and rescue his younger brother who was taken prisoner during a botched mission on the Russian-Ukraine border.
North must work to cripple all Separatist operations in the region while hunting down the leadership. Helping him are his handler in the field Frank Simms along with Lydia Jorjadze a mercenary from the region with connections with the resistance and his ex-fiance. They are also receiving support from Raquel Shein, a Mossad agent who is looking for a rogue scientist.
Without going too much into the story, it starts strong but then jumps the shark by becoming something unexpected. The story started as a stereotypical Tom Clancy adventure (I say that in a good way) before it morphed into a work of bad Metal Gear Solid fan fiction that unnecessarily borrowed a lot of context from Captain America: The Winter Solider.
The story is easy to follow and not that complicated, but it does go off the rails at the half way point. This results in making the audience unsure of what just happened. Given that past games had their story rooted in realism, the inclusion of a shadow conspiracy and super soldiers makes the story feel like a B-Film that nobody was expecting.
Anyone who has played Far Cry 3 or Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be very familiar with the gameplay setup. The game is set in an open world environment that can be explored on foot, with a car or players can fast-travel to certain areas. Enemy forces have setup bases and checkpoints that can be cleared out in exchange for special rewards. Players will also have access to a safe house to were they can upgrade their gear or replenish their supplies.
Stealth is key and players need to scout the area, mark all the enemies while looking for weaknesses in the defense. While players have access to automatic weapons (like an AK-47) its best advised not to go in guns blazing. Gamers need to study the area and be prepared before engaging the enemy. The best tactic is to give yourself some good distance while using the drone to scout the area. Be patient before making a kill and beware of the surrounding area. Seriously, do not go Leeroy Jenkins.
The environment itself is not bland and empty as there is plenty to explore and ones curiosity is always rewarded. Players could find special collectible items, new weapons, or special attachments for their weapons. Finding these secrets requires a little detective work and a lot of exploring. Other times players may be asked to rescue civilians who have been taken hostage by the Separatist, doing so will build a better relationship with the resistance. Finally one has to appreciate that even though it’s an open world, the level is not so massive to the point that traveling becomes a choir.
The games biggest performance problems is all the issues that come when a studio creates their masterpiece using the CryEngine 3. While the CryEngine 2 was a technological marvel, its success has always been an unpolished bastardization that has hindered on the players experience. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is no exception as most of the bugs and gameplay issues are the baggage that seem to comes with using the CryEngine 3.
Sometimes you just want a game to play for fun without anything ground breaking or layered in a complex story. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 may have a story that is half cliché and half bad fan fiction, but in the end its a fun game that fans of the series will enjoy while new comers should also pick it up.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is the result of trial and error that improves on its predecessor without compromising on what has made it a great title. Any gamer who wants a familiar action experience but would also like it to have some kind of challenge should either pick this up or download it at the PlayStation Store.
Final Score: 8/10
Disclaimer: Evolve PR provided the game used for this review.