Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 01.05.2017

Review for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 on Xbox One

It was supposed to be a simple mission. Destroy abandoned Soviet-era bio-weapons before they fall in the hands of terrorists. When they're not trading insults or punches, Marine Captain Jonathan North and his brother Robert are two of the best men in the field. For them, this mission might as well have been routine training. However, their success was short-lived, as they were attacked by an unknown group of soldiers. Their leader, the enigmatic Vasilisk, captured Robert. That was two years ago. Now, Jon is in Georgia. His mission is to destabilize the rapidly-growing Separatist cells. However, he also seeks his missing brother, who is believed to be somewhere in the country.

In the most remote region of Georgia, among all of the snow and ice, lies a massive fortress. Its impenetrable walls are bordered by impossibly steep cliffs. At the foot of this structure is Jon North; he reviews his latest Intel. The target's name is Dr. Darya Kuznetsov. A sociopath and a murderer, her immunology experiments resulted in the deaths of over 100 patients. Now she's hiding out in this stronghold. Her apprehension (or death) will further blunt the Separatist's war efforts, and the reward money will be needed to purchase new equipment.

Thanks to his years of training, Jon has developed instincts far beyond that of an average soldier. With his scout vision, he notices a series of indentations along the otherwise insurmountable walls of the stronghold. After making his way to the top, he sends out his remote-controlled drone. The latest breakthrough in surveillance technology, this drone "tags" enemy soldiers, so that their present position and the direction they're facing is always on the map. Though a lone wolf like Jon can always count on being outnumbered, any and all information is imperative to survival.

The odds, overwhelming as they are, don't really matter to the Marine Captain. After all, he's a sniper, one of the best in the world, and the top of the wall provides a perfect vantage point. He scans the area, taking note of any isolated troops. Oftentimes, their patrols will intersect, and they will alert the base if a body is discovered. Jon notices a soldier, his face is entirely covered, yet somehow he's smoking a cigarette, but that's not important. What is important is that he's alone. Jon adjusts the scope of his rifle to account for the difference in elevation, noting the direction and speed of the wind. After taking a deep breath, he pulls the trigger. A second later, the soldier's skull shatters like a cheap vase. With surgical precision and unbelievable quickness, Jon eliminates everyone outside of the base's solitary entrance.

Screenshot for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 on Xbox One

A sniper rifle isn't much use in the claustrophobic hallways of the base's interior. That's no matter, seeing as how Mr. North has extensive stealth training. After taking a second to make sure the silencer on his handgun is in working order, he proceeds with his mission, taking great care not to be seen or heard. After slitting an unwary guard's throat, he decides that the best course of action is to move the corpse to where it's unlikely that someone will stumble upon it. However, shortly after picking up the body and slinging it over his shoulders, the most peculiar thing happens. The lights go out, plunging the entire room in darkness. Surprised, Jon drops the body, and immediately the lights come back on again. Puzzled, Jon picks up the corpse again, and again the lights go out. He's seen a lot of strange occurrences since arriving in Georgia, but this has to be the weirdest yet.

After killing the last of the guards, the Marine Captain resumes his search for Kuznetsov. Upon stepping into an office, he hears two voices, both of them female. One is repeatedly saying "I surrender", like a broken record. The other is screaming incessantly. After turning a corner, Jon finds the doctor, inexplicably the source of both voices. She's on her knees, begging for mercy from one of the inanimate workstations. All the while, the screams and "I surrenders" continue unabated. He tries to get her attention, but she isn't responding. "The authorities can deal with her." Jon sighed as he walked away.

In another region of Georgia, where the air isn't quite as cold, Jon finds a hidden room under some old ruins. Dotted throughout the valleys of this country are various points of interest. Most tend to be enemy outposts, though there can also be civilians that need rescuing, or valuable treasures to uncover. Whatever the case, they're all clearly marked on the map with question marks, drawing the curiosity of any explorer. Among all of the loot, Jon also finds a unique weapon. Feeling satisfied with his haul, he leaves the ruins, and then slides down a hill to where his car is waiting. Unfortunately, he somehow gets caught in a rock and is trapped in an endless sliding cycle. Though severely annoyed, he takes solace in the fact that a fast travel option is almost always available.

Screenshot for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 on Xbox One

Upon returning to the safe house, Jonathan starts preparing for his next mission. There's a safe house in every region, and it's important to make regular visits. Opportunities to replenish ammo, medical supplies, and gadgets are few and far between. Anyway, after taking some time at the crafting station to fashion explosive ammunition for his sniper rifle, he orders a thousand rounds of 7.62 mm for his light machine gun. It's an expensive purchase, but the extra ammo will go a long way. However, shortly after leaving his weapon cache, Jon discovers that he didn't receive the ammo he ordered. He heads back to the cache, places a second order, and is greeted with the same result. It's important to note that he was charged for both attempts. How could something like this even happen?

Also on his most wanted list is Grivapsh. An elite commander in the Separatist army, her thirst for vengeance has led to countless innocent deaths. Upon arriving at her last known location, a quaint unassuming village, Jon makes all of the necessary preparations. After scouting for enemy troops with the drone, he decides on a direct assault, using the winding streets to effortlessly cut down soldiers. The "warrior" strategy isn't quite as effective as sniping or sneaking, especially when not wearing body armour, but it's pretty exhilarating and to the point. While making his way towards Grivapsh, something absolutely bizarre happens, she dies. Although Jon is credited for her death, he had absolutely nothing to do with it. When he reaches her lifeless body, he searches everywhere for any possible cause of her unexpected demise, but can't find anything. It doesn't make any sense at all.


 
Open world games offer infinite possibilities, though they also tend to have quite a few bugs. There's an acceptable threshold for issues such as these, and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 pushes well past it. With every hour of play, two or three mishaps are bound to crop up. There was the time Jon witnessed a scientist walk into the air as if he was climbing an invisible staircase. On one occasion, the marine had the brilliant idea to lie prone in a way that caused him to clip through a rock. Even though he was spotted by the enemy, they couldn't hope to hit him. The rock deflected their bullets, but it didn't do anything to dissuade his sniping.

Then there are the load times, which are flat out absurd. Upon starting the game, one can expect to wait five minutes just for the initial load to finish. In-game load times, such as when fast travelling or reloading a checkpoint, are a bit more manageable. However, players are subjected to another three and a half minutes of loading whenever they head to a different region of Georgia. The song "Unappreciated Beauty" by Aurelia Schrenker plays during these exorbitant wait times. It's a lovely little tune, but anyone who plays this game will grow to hate it after a while. The mediocre framerate will sometimes dip into the teens during intense firefights.

Screenshot for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 on Xbox One

In accordance with the genre, Jonathon North has limitless agency. He can approach a location from almost any direction, and implement his own methods for handling anything that might happen. The difficulty settings also allow for a fully customizable experience. Numerous user-friendly implementations are available, or they can all be disabled for maximum immersion. For the most part, the missions are solid in their design and execution. They further the storyline and aren't headache inducing. They get a little repetitive, but there's always an incentive to change tactics. New equipment and abilities are earned at a consistent rate, so Jon will always have some neat weapons to play around with.

Unfortunately, Jon and by extension the player are the only individuals that have any agency in this game. The enemy simply doesn't operate outside of their assigned locations. When Jon runs away after a failed assault, a few soldiers don't get into armoured trucks or helicopters to head off his escape. There aren't any patrols on the roads either. In fact, the enemies won't even use vehicles outside of scripted situations. When infiltrating a base, it's likely that Jon will see an ATV with a turret mounted on top. It's an imposing sight, but he has nothing to fear, because the enemy will never make use of it. Soldiers will also disappear outright if the protagonist is too far away. This tends to happen at around 250 meters. Of all the problems a game with Sniper in the title could have, this one takes the cake.

Even in the face of all of these issues, Jon presses onward. Like a man possessed, there's nothing that can stop him. Intel reports that there's somebody that knows of his brother's whereabouts. On the outskirts of a village lie more ruins, presumably from a castle that was demolished long ago. There he meets a soldier working for the informant. He tells the marine that enemy troops are due to arrive any moment. As if on cue, Jon hears the rumbling of an engine. He turns around and sees a truck carrying four elite soldiers. Without a second thought, he hurls a grenade, which rolls under the vehicle and explodes. As the smoke clears, Jon walks up to the demolished truck to investigate. Three of the men were killed in the blast. What about the fourth? He's still alive and sitting in the passenger seat, bobbing his head to a silent radio, not a care in the world. Jon can only stare in disbelief.

Screenshot for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

The problems with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 are manifold. Although some players might be able to stomach the long load times and poor framerate, it's unlikely they'll endure the countless bugs. The three regions that the game takes place in are sufficiently large. They're also filled with the appropriate amount of secrets and general busywork. Unfortunately, Georgia feels static and lifeless. Enemy troops don't have a purpose beyond shooting it out with the protagonist. While putting an end to these hapless goons is entertaining, it doesn't justify suffering through all of the other setbacks.

Developer

City Interactive

Publisher

City Interactive

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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