Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 Xbox One Review

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: CI Games  Developer: CI Games  Genre: Stealth/Action

Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

The Sniper: Ghost Warrior series has been such a big success that this third game has been given the biggest budget yet. As the game introduces an open-world environment, the bigger budget has certainly been put to good use. Don’t get me wrong, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 certainly hasn’t been developed on the scale of a truly big budget game, but it certainly feels much higher quality than the previous games in terms of its production values.

Sadly, the story around the game is bland and predictable with mostly boring characters. The narrative features two brothers in the form of Jonathan and Robert North, and the flashback scenes of the two are certainly the best portions of the story, but the rest of the plot is lacking in its execution. A flashback prologue mission sees the brothers fighting alongside each other in Russia, which ends with Robert being captured. Fast forwarding two years later, Jonathan is sent to Georgia on a mission unrelated to his brother, although he also knew beforehand that rumours suggest that Robert is alive and well in the country. You, as Jon, must find out if these rumours are true.

The drone can be deployed at any time, and is a very helpful tool, although if you are careless, it’s possible for it to be seen by enemy eyes and then shot down. The drone can also be upgraded at safe houses.

The new open-world environment is definitely the headline feature of this sequel, and has been crafted in a confident manner, making the environments feel as if they were made for a sniper. There are high mountains for you to look through your sniper scope from, there are watchtowers to scale, and huge buildings to climb to the top of. All ideal for a sniper then, but also based enough on reality to feel as if you are in a real place.

Even with a bigger budget it seems that developer CI Games still had to settle for some workarounds. A good example is that while each of the three areas are linked together, moving between them is a painful process. Loading screens in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 can be on your TV screen for up to five minutes, and in this day and age, such long loading times are extremely annoying when you just want to play the thing. Hopefully a future update will improve things somewhat. I have also experienced three or four crashes, and the long loading times makes these crashes even more painful to tolerate.

Fortunately, the sniping is a lot smoother than the horrendous loading times. As usual, you get your usual assault rifles and sidearms, but typically the focus is on the sniping, and it feels better than ever in the game’s bigger environments. For a true sniper experience, playing on the tougher difficulty levels limits your assists, although for a more fun experience, playing on normal and below is definitely the way to go. Whichever you opt for, the sniping is satisfying, and controlling your breathing, your stance, and keeping an eye on the direction of the wind in order to score the perfect shot is always fulfilling.

As excellent as the sniping is, it has to be said that the rest of the shooting feels a little off, particularly when you are going head to head with enemies, and in no way does it match up to the shooting in the best FPS games. First and foremost, this is a sniping game though and, as mentioned above, it’s very gratifying.

The game also has an XP system, with XP points being rewarded to three different skill trees based on your behaviour. Every time you earn 1000 XP to one of your skill trees, you’ll earn a skill point, and skill trees include sniper (sniping actions will earn you XP), ghost (stealthy actions will contribute to this one), and warrior (taking a more action approach will give you XP towards this skill tree). Each skill tree features 9 different skills for you to learn, allowing you to do such things as hold your breath for longer when sniping, make less noise when running and jumping, increase your health, and so on.

The game’s new open-world environment also gives you the opportunity to approach missions in multiple ways, and if you fail in one way, then there’s always another one to attempt. You can make use of a drone for an overhead view of your environment, which helps to determine where enemies and missions are, and also tags enemies, allowing you to keep tabs on their location. You can also get behind an enemy, and then interrogate them for information, Metal Gear Solid V style. You can head to different areas of the environment for sniping points, and so on. There’s certainly no shortage of different approaches, then.

In a number of ways, the game actually feels like Far Cry, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.

There’s also safe houses in each region, and here you can modify weapons and purchase other weapons and equipment. You can also alter the time of day, and it’s in these safe houses where you are able to select missions to undertake.

Being open-world, the game also gives you other things to do outside the main missions. There are prisoners to rescue, targets to take down, trading goods and collectables to find, and so on. It’s not the most lively open-world environment ever seen, and it massively pales in comparison to other much more detailed and fruitful open-worlds from other games, but it certainly does the job, particularly as it is the first open-world game in the series.

What about multiplayer? Sadly, the game has been released without it, although CI Games are promising a free update in the future, so this was obviously part of the game that just wasn’t ready for release. Only time will tell how this portion of the game will fair, and how much extra value it will add to it.

Moving into AAA development, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is higher quality than previous games in the series, but it is still lacking in polish in important areas. Still, this is definitely a step in the right direction, and is easily the best game in the series yet. The future is bright for Sniper: Ghost Warrior, and I’m looking forward to seeing CI Games build on this promising new beginning for the series in future instalments.