Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is a single player open world first person shooter somewhat similar to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands but with a very noticeable Farcry feel to it.
The game emphases long range shooting and stealth. Players take on the role of Marine sniper Jonathon North, tasked with destabilizing separatist operations in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. He’s also searching for his brother Robert, who went missing two years prior in an operation that takes place in the prologue to the game (used to familiarize the player with controls, skills and options).
As already noted this is a single player game, so unlike Wildlands, friends cannot join in and help the player. On the flip side, the player also doesn’t have to worry as much about the pitfalls of online games.
The game is open-world but the main story line missions are fairly linear. Side missions are available. These offer other opportunities to get rewards though special “most wanted” assassination missions where players are tasked to kill war criminals not “bad” enough for the Hague, but too nasty to continue breathing.
Like other tactical shooters this game is somewhat gear centric. It has a skill tree which players can use to sort of customize the character to their play style by placing points within three separate skill trees: Warrior, Ghost and Sniper.
As one might surmise from the title, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is pretty heavy on long range shooting. But as the skill trees suggest, you’re not strictly confined to taking long range shots.
Regardless of how a player chooses to play the game stealth is a big deal. It’s ruthlessly encouraged by the player’s lack of durability and the degradation of certain items. You can unlock armor, but players will find that a “run and gun” strategy is difficult to pull off. And XP rewards for such tactics are nowhere near as good as if you play the game the way it’s meant to be played.
You can customize the load-out for each mission. But once you’ve unlocked certain items (by purchasing them), the general kit remains the same: sniper rifle, carbine, pistol, knife, medical gear and other objects (e.g., grenades, mines and gadgets). That’s along with the main tool that helps you covertly scout an area: your drone.
The drone is an extremely useful tool. Unlike Wildlands it doesn’t have an extremely limited range but it does have a limited battery life (like Wildlands). Enemies can detect the drone by sound. When they do, they’ll open fire on the drone and begin searching for you.
When used to scout an area the drone automatically detects and mark targets — even if the player doesn’t actually see them. But you have to center the enemies within the drone’s view.
The minimap in the lower left corner shows a red circle around the player (or drone) indicating the distance by which they can be detected. Louder actions on the player’s part increases the size of that circle, sometimes past the edges of the minimap.
Firing a rifle unsuppressed generates a lot of noise that travels a long distance, so players will want to be a long way off if using a rifle with no muffler and be aware that hostile AI in locations other than the target area may become aware of the player’s presence.
Ghost Warrior 3’s map system is a bit of a cross between Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Farcry. Players can use it to look for “side ops,” get an idea of terrain, see where they’ve been and fast travel from known locations to other known locations.
These locations may not just be towns or safe houses; they can also be sign posts you’ve passed on a road (which means you don’t have to fast travel right into a location without scouting it from a distance first). When traveling to a safe house the player’s transported directly inside.
Safe houses contain a number of important items including a crafting bench, laptop and weapons cache and a bed. You have to pay for the crafting and weapons cache in game currency, which you get from completing missions. Buying ammo and restocking isn’t automatic.
The bed allows you to pass time in the event you want to do a mission at night and will also heal you to full health for free. The laptop is where you get your missions.
The game also gives the player the ability to “track.” Entering this mode highlights useful features: ledges you can use hop up on, a route you can use to climb a rock face or the boot prints of someone you’re following. You can analyze some of the items you find in track mode to provide more data.
A seriously obnoxious part of this game: enemies have mortars.
In and of itself that’s not bad. But once the bad guys in an area are aware of your presence, if they have mortars, they magically know your location — even if you’re firing from a distance and using a silencer.
They will use the mortar if you don’t kill the NPC operating it. Their mortar fire is on target and effective. If you miss a shot in a way that puts a group on alert and they have a mortar (or mortars) you need to scoot to avoid being blown to pieces. You don’t have to move terribly far to avoid it, but the mortar impacts will throw off your view if you’re not far enough away.
None at this time.
Guns and Gear
The weapons in Ghost Warrior 3 are fairly realistic, but not entirely so. Most of the weapons — such as the MacMillan TAC-388 — exist in the real world. Other weapons don’t actually exist, are misnamed or are prototypes.
The most annoying and obviously unrealistic thing about this game: silencers degrade over time. They’re field serviceable using a “silencer repair kit”. RW silencers degrade over time, but they don’t degrade nearly as fast as they do in game. And there’s not much you could do to field service a sealed rifle muffler in between shooting bad guys.
Ghost Warrior 3 offers a wide variety of weapons that offer you a fair amount of customization to your play style. Modification options for your weapons are not as extensive as some other games, but they’re not ultra basic either. Like ammo, upgrades such as scopes and extended magazines must be purchased. (The weapons themselves are unlocked by completing a mission.)
Ghost Warrior 3 accounts for bullet drop and windage. The game will tell you the range to target when you view through the scope, as well as wind direction and speed. You manually set your rifle to range. Then it’s either “Kentucky windage” (using a bar at the top of your view) or hold your breath. That creates a dot in your reticule telling you where the bullet will hit based on your settings and the wind. Bonus XP points are awarded for not using this feature.
Players can also choose a number of gadgets to carry, such as NVG’s and throwing knives. There’s also the aforementioned silencer repair kit, available via a radial menu. Items can be used to repair your gear, distract or kill enemies, or enhance your vision.
While the game incorporates a number of different types of ammunition, the AK takes plain Jane 7.62×39 and doesn’t have the other options available to your main weapon. These rounds vary from regular old bullets to AP and explosive ammo. There are some more exotic ammo selections such as “luring,” which attracts enemies to the place you fire it via noise. Farther out on the fringe: DARPA ammo unaffected by wind or gravity.
Ghost Warrior 3 is well rendered, visually pleasing and boasts terrific graphics. The environment changes in small but expected ways, like putting mud on your vehicle.
Controls in this game are not as smooth as they could be and the menu system is clunky. CI’s original keymapping isn’t particularly intuitive, especially if you’re coming from other similar games. Fortunately, you can remap your keys.
Hostile AI isn’t particularly bright but sometimes they show flashes of impossible brilliance that throw off the balance of the game. Their ability to magically locate you in certain circumstances is a frustrating flaw. Sometimes you can pull some serious Splinter Cell type stuff, kill some AI, hide the bodies and be undetected. Other times you miss a shot from 200m out and need to head for the hills due to incoming mortar fire directly on your position.
Ghost Warrior 3 incorporates a number of pretty cool features, but not in any original way. Certainly nothing that rises to “Oh man, that’s so cool!” levels. IN fact, Ghost Warrior 3 feels kinda lazy, like someone put Farcry, Sniper Elite 4 and Wildlands in a blender, added some poorly thought-out crafting spice and poured the contents into a glass.
Specifications: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 – CI Games
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Price: Steam: $49.99 other platforms vary with prices as low as $34 in the wild.
DLC Content: None at present.
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, PS4
Ratings (out of five stars):
Graphics: * * * * *
It’s another CryEngine 4 game. (Note this game was reviewed on a different GPU from prior games, in this case a GeForce GTX 1080Ti.)
Physics: * * * * *
Story: * *
It’s kind of standard for the game type and doesn’t go out of it’s way to add engrossing elements.
Playability: * * * *
A lot of keys and menus to master and the game doesn’t use a standard key mapping (you can remap keys to suit your tastes). Ghost Warrior 3 has some lag issues from time to time on inputs. It’s nothing major and doesn’t ruin the game but costs them a star.
Customize This: * * *
Weapons and gear are reasonably customizable. Given that the game stands on the shoulders of Farcry (crossed with Splinter Cell and Sniper Elite), they could have made it more interesting
Weapons: * * *
Realistic and pretty. Some don’t exist but most do and they function as you would expect. The game doesn’t get as far into modification as some other games, where you can swap out parts down to barrels, grips and other internals. Not happy about that silencer repair kit . . .
Balance: * * *
Single player only, so hacking isn’t a concern. Overall the game is well balanced and forces you into a generally careful and precise play style; you don’t have the durability to go toe to toe with the enemy most of the time. The enemies’ oddball ability to locate you precisely sometimes but not notice you other times is a major flaw.
Overall: * * * 1/2
A good showing but with some drawbacks. For all the work they put into the game the story lacks depth. Customization isn’t as high as it maybe should be and a lot of the game feels like playing Farcry 2 while using the dart rifle.