Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
Stealth-based games are going through somewhat of a difficult time right now, particularly ones featuring any sort of tactical elements. Take for instance one of main flag bearers of the tactical stealth-action genre, Ubisoft’s various Splinter Cells games. These games were the epitome of putting the player into situations that demanded the utmost of patience, planning, and subterfuge. If you tried to rush into a map willy nilly and start popping off rounds, you’d usually quickly find yourself in a body bag…or worse.
Unfortunately, in this present day and age where attention spans are measured in milliseconds and everyone has their heads buried in some sort of screen or device, patience is perceived as something bad. Many gamers (mainly younger ones) seem to be constantly clamoring for more and more constant action, faster and faster movement speeds, and so on. Some developers have caved into this incessant and virulent cacophony of petulant whining. An example would be Ubisoft’s most recent Ghost Recon game (GR: Wildlands), which allows players to run rampant throughout its beautiful environs, with hardly any sort of penalty for doing so.
Well, one developer has stuck to their guns—in fact they’ve rallied around their brand of stealth action gaming. CI Games seems to be one of the only standouts left which are still delivering old school-style games that require patience and careful planning in order to have a chance at achieving objectives. Their Sniper Ghost Warrior series is in its third iteration and from my perspective at least, is finally coming into its own.
Titled Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, CI Games has gone open-world with its latest SGW game. That means that players are free to take on missions in any order they want to for the most part. But let me back up—SGW 3 is set in the country of Georgia, a war torn place that not many Americans have ever even heard of, evidently. In fact, in every review I’ve read on SGW 3, the authors write “the country, not the American state” as if from an automatically egocentric viewpoint.
For those not in the know, Georgia has been through several crisis as of late. In fact, the entire Caucus Mountains region (Chechnya anyone?) has a long and troubled past, mainly from top-down meddling from the Russian Federation, but also because of internal conflicts and a long history of rampant corruption. Therefore, I was pleased that CI Games chose this new settling, as opposed to the usual standard backdrops of Russia, the Middle East, or some South American country.
You play as an elite Marine Sniper who is tasked with taking down a group of Georgian separatists. Fail in your endeavors, and the entire country of Georgia will slip into a tumultuous state of chaos and anarchy. Missions can be chosen from within your Batcave-like safe house in the Georgian mountains. From there, you can strike out and perform a wide variety of objectives, both primary and secondary.
There are all manner of military weapons and equipment to play around with. Your choice of hardware will primarily be dependent on what style of play you fancy. After completing each mission, players will be awarded experience points for which they can assign to their character’s various skills sets.
For those who want the classic experience, choosing to invest your experience points into the Sniper specialty will see you picking off targets from hidden positions over long ranges. If you like getting up close and personal in order to utilize quick and silent takedowns, try being a Ghost. And for those who like more of the Call of Duty experience, the Warrior specialty is all about loud gunplay and even louder ordinance. Or, you can be a jack-of-all-trades and allot points across all three fields (although being a little weaker at each of them).
Speaking of gunplay, SGW 3’s combat mechanics are very polished. The moment I squatted my sniper down into some brush from an elevated position above the enemy, and gazed down my rifle’s scope, I knew that the game’s developers had finally perfected their brand of sniper-based combat. Wind, gravity, and other factors lend a realistic feeling to the grisly proceedings as you deal out hot metal death to your foes. There is even a Sniper Elite-esque kill-cam that activates at certain times, showing your handy work in all of its gory carnage.
I also really enjoyed how dynamic each mission can unfold. For instance, I was on one mission where I had to assassinate a separatist leader and as such, was initially positioned above a group of dilapidated apartment buildings. Somehow I got spotted by an enemy sniper whom I’d missed during my recon sweep and he promptly started firing on my position.
I ran from that spot and relocated near the apartments. Slinking along their dreary enclosures, I pulled out my silenced pistol and began playing the game as a ninja-like assassin, taking down foes within close quarters as silently as possibly. Ultimately, I was discovered by a group of extra-vigilant guards and had to whip out my AK for some Rambo-type gunplay. In other words, things can change in the wink of an eye, which forces players to either think fast and adapt—or be overcome.
SGW 3’s graphics are exceptional. While not quite on the level of your typical triple-A game developer, I’d certainly consider them double-A. The environments look suitably drab and dreary, just like the war-torn country of Georgia which they represent. I also thought that the character and weapon models were well done, with only a few glitches here and there. It looked great on my gaming laptop with GX 1070 graphics card.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 represents the series stepping up their game to almost triple-A levels. The overall presentation has improved dramatically over SGW 2 making it a covert ops-lover’s paradise. After I’m done completing it, I’m really looking forward to what CI Games has in store for the next game in the series.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is packed with some excellent visuals that suit its military theme well. However, you have to have a fast gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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