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Review: Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

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Dead on arrival

During one of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3's early missions, a covert agent refers to protagonist Jonathan North as a "badass killing machine." It's meant to be a compliment, one that reaffirms the player's role as the sole arbiter of change amid the chaos of a war-torn Georgian countryside. But after completing the game's 26 core missions, I can't help but feel like it's the most insincere piece of dialogue I've heard in a video game. There's nothing special about North, just like there's nothing badass about Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is dull. It's a boring open-world shooter stitched together with half-baked gameplay systems and incongruous storytelling. The game sets out to explore the concepts of "brotherhood, patriotism, and betrayal," but instead stumbles for a dozen hours, falling back on by-the-numbers narrative beats and flaccid shooting. 

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: CI Games
Publisher: CI Games
Release Date: April 24, 2017
MSRP: $59.99 

Most of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 revolves around North's efforts to topple a force of Georgian insurgents while searching for his previously captured brother. It's a threadbare plot to begin with, but stilted dialogue, shallow characters, and an insistence on a self-serious approach to storytelling make for a muddled mess of a game that limps forward with reckless and misguided abandon.

Even outside of narrative shortcomings, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 disappoints. Like in other open-world shooters, players can approach any given mission in a handful of different ways. North's training makes him no slouch with a sniper rifle, but he has other proficiencies too. He's also a capable silent infiltrator and he's more than equipped to rush into a firefight guns blazing. Performing actions nets experience points, which are then used to unlock skills in either the Sniper, Ghost, or Warrior upgrade trees. Both the Ghost and Warrior paths do little to elevate the game, as there's rarely a reason to leave a vantage point before picking off any enemies who might get in your way. Playing as a sniper is not only the path of least resistance, it's the fastest way to complete the game.

There are a smattering of tools at North's disposal that can spice up what would otherwise be a glorified long-range shooting gallery. Launching a drone skyward affords players a safe way of scouting ahead as it can mark targets and other places of interest on the map. Night vision goggles and grenades function as assets during an assault, but they're never a necessity. I threw one grenade during my time with the game, simply to see what would happen. It bounced off a rock, rolled backward, and killed me. That was the most enjoyable part of the game.

Much like the unnecessary skill trees and mostly useless equipment, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3's open-world structure is a detriment to the game. After starting a mission from one of North's safe houses, it's inevitable that players must drive across vast stretches of Georgia. You will never see anything interesting on these drives. Not a car. Not a random NPC. Instead, you'll listen to thirty seconds worth of bland dialogue ("this is American justice!") or a single song on the radio before the game falls silent, hoping that its geography is enough to hold your attention. It's not.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is not a good game. Even before mentioning its egregious technical issues, I can't in good conscience recommend picking it up. At time of publication, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is plagued by absurdly long loading times. I averaged around four-and-a-half minutes just to load up the map. On top of that, it freezes and crashes fairly often, and many of North's first-person animations result in him clipping through the level geometry. Developer CI Games has stated that addressing many of these issues are its top priority, but I doubt that will make the game much better. Eliminating long loads doesn't excuse boring gameplay and bad writing.

The view from a sniper's scope has the potential to tell a compelling and meditative story about the nature of armed conflict without the boom and bravado of video game warfare. It can also magnify issues and expose glaring flaws. In the case of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, the later is true. It's a sloppy, uninspired game at its best. At its worst, it's -- to quote Jonathan North -- "one fucking long exercise in triage."

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 reviewed by Ray Porreca

3

POOR

Went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice it has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.
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Ray Porreca
Ray PorrecaContributor   gamer profile

The blogger formerly known as wutangclam. I like strange games and weird people. more + disclosures


 



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