Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a series that, from the outset, I would consider, at best, derivative. The Sniper Elite series, originally developed by Rebellion, was a moderately popular, but successful foray into the realm of technical shooting, released at a time when run n’ gun was the flavor of the year. Sniper Elite’s most infamous mechanic was its usage of the now-common “bullet-time” for successful kill shots. The games rewarded patience and skill with a visceral payoff.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is not Sniper Elite. Not even close.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a game riddled with graphics inconsistencies, questionable AI, and a clear desire to make technical sniping a faster-paced gameplay type. At its core, it is fun, but not if you came to the table expecting an experience somewhat true to the actual sniping experience. Disclaimer: I am a Marine Corps Veteran with a lot of shooting experience; in fact, my Parris Island bunkmate went on to become a Scout Sniper, while I rubbed elbows with Radio Reconnaissance outfits. My point being, I have a very good idea of what this is supposed to be simulating, and, for me, it falls flat.
From the opening cinematics of the hand-holding tutorial, it’s clear that the developers at CI Games are trying really, really hard to create atmosphere, make you care about the character you control, and ensure you why you are doing what you are doing. For the most part, on the surface, they succeed. Where Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 fails is immersion.
The kinds of drones that you use in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 are designed from the ground up to be difficult to see, and very quiet – so, why is it that the enemy AI can see them in places you can’t even see them from? Your character is a highly trained, stealth-minded Recon Sniper – so, why can the AI see you through doors? The once-touted bullet-time feature that was pioneered by Rebellion is a mere afterthought here, and just disappoints, utilizing no unique animations or effects whatsoever. All it manages to succeed at is slowing down the gameplay with zero payoff.
I’d barely got myself used to shooting several enemies with my sniper rifle (graphics clipping all the way), before I am inside the compound, essentially playing the tail end of a discarded BLOPs2 mission. In the game’s attempt to draw me in, it just threw out all of my investment in one pass.
On top of all of this, the visuals look like a poorly-upscaled PS3 game, and has voice acting that is more stilted than a carnival performer with a Napoleon complex.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 tries way too hard to be everything at once, and never hits one thing 100%. Despite some laudable attempts at mission variety, the gameplay itself never quite takes off. Combine that with inconsistent AI, poor graphics optimization, and a generally hollow feeling experience, and you have a game that you should pass on.
Addendum: Patch 1.04, released over a month after initial launch, appears to be attempting to fix many of the game’s most rampant bugs. I doubt they will change the overall bland feel of the game, but have hopes it will at least smooth out the roughest edges for most players.