Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 Official Launch Trailer
Starting out as a young boy just laying in the dirt trying to blast a couple bottles with his small rifle, it's evident early on that you, Jon North, were destined to be a trained military sniper someday. Older brother, Robert, is already in the military but most likely a fresh recruit. The two reminisce on old times playing hide-and-seek in the woods together, before Jon shows Robert that he's a lot more skilled at being stealthy than when they were younger. Fast forwarding some time in the future, both are trained Marines and are sent on a mission in the rocky hills of the Russian-Ukraine border to sabotage bio-weapons. As events unfold, the two successfully complete their mission, but evacuation goes wrong, and Robert is taken hostage. The story continues 2 years later as Jon hears about his brother being somewhere in Georgia, so it works in his favor that he is given an assignment to infiltrate and destabilize terrorists organizations within. With the help of some close friends (and an ex lover) Jon ventures forth to save the world from terrorist threats and save his brother from captivity.
The sniping, which makes up the heart and soul of the game works in just about what you could expect. You'll traverse the environment looking for the best spots to strategical rain hell on your enemy one bullet at a time. Verticality is handled nicely with a repelling feature and by grabbing ledges as to shimmy from side to side or to jump to another ledge. These ledges are not the easiest to see; I jumped into a pit for loot early on and was stuck for a few minutes before I remembered a neat feature. You get a kind of sixth sense that hazes the screen slightly, highlighting these points of interests. When you need to scout the area, you'll throw out a drone (exactly like Ghost Recon Wildlands but with a few handling differences). The drone is ridiculously touchy and sways more than I would like. It was annoying how it didn't feel like I had ultimate control on it, but I got used to it after a couple hours of play.
Once the targets are marked, or you choose to recon via the scope on your rifle, you are just about ready to pull the trigger. It helps to make adjustments such as scope zoom and the distance it's set to for bullet drop. Using the directional pads will do both, which was actually really cool looking. Both adjusters are located on the side of the scope, in view when you're looking down the sight, so when you press one of the directional buttons, Jon reaches up and clicks it accordingly. If you're playing on the easier difficulties then when you hold your breath, a small yellow circle will appear showing where the bullet will go based on wind and drop. When you line this up on the enemy perfectly it will turn red. This is when the trigger gets pulled and you watch it strike the enemy from however far away you are. Do this enough times and you can progress along a skill tree for three self explanatory categories (Ghost, Warrior, and Sniper).
Sound and Graphics
Graphically the world is gorgeous when you look at it the right way. When you travel through the dense woods or within buildings, everything appears smooth and detailed. Expanding your horizons, and looking into a valley, for example, will allow you to see how short the draw distance is. To be fair it's not exactly "short," but in an open-world game like this, you would expect to see details for the furthest of environment corners. Character models look great as well, especially the enemy characters as the long ranged shots close in on their bodies. I would have liked to see even greater attention to the slow motion bullet cam though, similar to the Sniper Elite titles. Occasionally the bullets would pierce through an enemies neck when I was very sure it should have been through the temple, and vice versa. It just felt a tad disconnected but not seeing a skeletal camera it's hard to always tell.
The graphics are gorgeous, especially in the dense woods. However, the game suffers from draw distance constraints. The hills across a valley lack details that would make for an incredible immersion, and this problem extends to scope usage with pop-ins. Again there are issues with the game, but there is still a lot to love, just maybe not for the current price. It includes a season pass which will later provide more single-player expansions, as well as multiplayer opportunity. It's not at all a terrible title, and in fact could be looked at as a knockoff Far Cry mixed with Ghost Recon Wildlands ambitions. Let it go on sale and watch for patch notes in the future to make sure you're getting a polished experience, and it'll be well worth giving a shot at.
+ Ambitious, and somewhat delivers
– Many bugs and technical issues as of launch
+ Strong sniping mechanics
– Texture pops and lack of draw distance
+ Some gorgeous environments
– Inconsistent enemy AI
|– Long load times|