Developer: CI Games
Publisher: CI Games
Release Date: April 25, 2017
ESRB: Mature, PEGI 18
Players: 1 (Singleplayer Only)
Available Platforms: PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PC
Genre: First Person Shooter / Tactical Shooter
The sniping in SGW3 is fun, challenging and requires smart strategies to stay alive. Enemies are very unforgiving. Even a single enemy will kill you in 1-2 seconds on lowest difficulty at close range. This really pushes the player to take a stealthy sniping approach (how the game is meant to be played). I was afraid it’s one of those games where you can fall into a “Rambo” style of gameplay where you just rush in and kill everyone from up close – but that’s definitely not the case! The enemies are organized and have different roles. Enemy Snipers need to be taken out first, then the enemies roaming around on their own, and then it’s time for double kills and headshots to eliminate the ones standing close together.
If you are detected, enemies will start shooting mortars at your position. This forces the player to keep changing positions (as a real life sniper would) and helps in delivering a realistic sniping experience.
The missions where you have to protect team mates are the best, but there are too few of them. They really test your sniping skills on long distances which is fun. The side missions are often annoying. On one instance I was supposed to blow up a bunker with C4. So I collected the C4 from a nearby table, went into the bunker and it told me I didn’t have any C4 – because when I picked it up, my inventory was full so it got sent to the safe house. Fast travel is disabled during mission so I had to run all the way back to the safe house (1,5 kilometers) because no car was nearby. Then I had to drive back to the bunker. That’s just bad game design and an inconvenience for players. On another occasion I was supposed to search the body of a cell leader but it wouldn’t let me due to a bug (couldn’t search his body). Replaying the mission solved the issue.
Unlike the previous two games, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 plays in an open world. There are all the basic side activities that come with open world games – including collectibles, side missions, enemy outposts and the so called “Most Wanted Targets”. You can also drive around in cars and even hunt animals. It reminded me a bit of Far Cry 3 (just not as good).
Getting 100% game completion is a chore. This is the case with many open world games, but it’s especially true with SGW3. The objectives of missions are always similar. You have to go to an outpost, clear out the enemies there, collect an item, free a hostage or steal a truck. It’s fun for the first 2 Acts but gets a bit repetitive over time. Furthermore, searching for items in missions is a daunting task. The game doesn’t always show you waypoint markers, but rather general search areas. Often times it’s not clear where to go.
The enemies respawn when fast traveling to a different region but there’s no challenge in clearing out the same outpost again. There are three regions: Mining Town, Village, Dam — which feature woods and many mountains with ample opportunities for a sniper to hide. In village it’s snowy and cold, the other two regions have moderate climate and mixed forests, no jungles this time.
There is a large array of weapons (34 in total). You can choose between 14 sniper rifles, 10 secondary weapons and 10 sidearms. Whether you want to play with caliber 7.62mm, .388 or .50 cal is up to you. The bigger calibers require more story progress to unlock. There are also different types of ammunition, ranging from normal bullets to explosive, armor piercing, tagging bullets, luring bullets and even self-guided DARPA bullets. In addition to all this you have access to traps, mines, grenades, even a silent recurve bow and drone. The drone is very useful for tagging enemies before engaging in combat.
Graphics / Sound / Animations:
The graphics are not good at all. It looks like a PS3 game and runs very laggy. However, it does look better at night than it does at day. When you want to look through the scope of your rifle, it will often show weird rainbow colored pixels but they go away after a second. Sometimes the picture is “jumping around” or there’s massive screen tearing all of the sudden. Things like this make the game feel very cheap.
I do like the use of the DualShock 4 controller speakers (PS4 only). Makes it sound like a walkie-talkie transmission and suits the gameplay. However, the dialogues were rather primitive sometimes. A lot of swearing words, such as “f**k you” and “shut up” were said far too many times. Did a 12 year old write these dialogues? When the characters communicate they sound annoyed of one another. Your own character shows no enthusiasm whatsoever. The tone of his voice is always mildly annoyed when he receives a new task.
When I had to tell a quest giver that his brother was tortured to death, he simply responded “Oh no. Thank you” with lips out of sync and no facial expressions whatsoever. It feels like the protagonists in this game are incapable of showing emotions and just don’t care about what’s happening.
Bugs & Glitches:
It’s sad I have to make a category for this, but I want you to be aware of how glitchy SGW3 is before you buy it.
It feels almost as if the developers got annoyed with developing their own game, just threw together the last few missions real quick and couldn’t be bothered with testing and bug fixing. The game runs like a badly optimized Alpha build. It’s very glitchy, laggy and unpolished.
In late missions (especially the final mission) the glitches and lags get even worse.
Currently (with patch 1.00 – 1.03), the game cannot be completed 100%! It’s missing one “Most Wanted Target” in version 1.00 (Dr. Darya Kuznetsov). They patched in this target with 1.03 but deleted another one (Stepan Chbaarta). So with either version one target is missing. There is currently only one solution! Play with the unpatched 1.00 version and kill all Most Wanted Targets there. You should end up with 15/16 targets and only be missing “Dr. Darya Kuznetsov”. Now update to the latest patch and get Dr. Darya Kuznetsov there. This is only possible with the retail disc version! With the digital PSN version it will always download the patch automatically with the game. With the disc version you can simply disconnect from the internet and it won’t download anything.
Just take a second to let this sink in. It means that NOT A SINGLE PERSON in the entire development team bothered to complete their own game. Otherwise, how could they possibly miss the fact that one Most Wanted Target is nowhere to be found and that the corresponding “Marshall” trophy is unobtainable. They then went on to patch the game and deleted another target in the process. Sorry, but I have seldom seen such incompetence. Kinda gives you a glimpse of what the devs must think of their own game. Even they can’t be bothered with playing through all of it.
To make things worse, after beating the game there is a glitch that randomly deletes / locks all of your weapons. So you took 20 hours to do all side missions and get all guns and then suddenly you boot up the game one day and all you have left is the starting weapons. The only fix is to play through the entire game again from the beginning. More proof that nobody of the dev team bothered to play through the game. These are by no means rare issues and tons of people are affected by it.
Trophies / Achievements / Game Completion:
Two years ago I attended a private showing of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 at Gamescom (2015). The developers struck me as dedicated developers who seemed very involved with their project. But somewhere between then and the completion of the game something must have drastically changed. It’s as if they couldn’t be bothered with polishing up their own game and got bored by it. Not a single person in the entire dev team cared to do bug testing, or else they would have noticed that the game cannot be completed 100%, Most Wanted Targets are missing from the game, a trophy / achievement is unobtainable, the statistics messed up, weapons randomly get reset… the list could go on and on.
I’m ultimately very disappointed – even more so as a game completionist. Would’ve loved to get that platinum trophy but it’s going to have to wait until there is a patch to fix this mess (if ever).
The trophy list is pretty decent with a nice mix of completion, collectibles, side activities and other tasks. But then again, there are tons of bugs that also affect trophies and require a lot of luck and trickery to get them with the current build.
I’m really torn what final score I should give this glitchfest. As a trophy hunter and game completionist I am absolutely repulsed by the fact that there is an unobtainable trophy and they literally patched out a Most Wanted Target with the day-one patch. How the hell does this happen? It shows incompetence on the highest level. Dear developers, either you do not have a QA team or a really bad one. If you do have QA, fire those people before your next game. The amount of glitches is unbearable.
On the other hand, the sniping is fun. If it weren’t for all those glitches and ran a bit smoother it would be a solid 7/10 game. The game would have been much better served by being mission based like the last two games. The open world comes with too many problems and doesn’t do the game any favors.
This is Great:
+ Realistic and challenging sniping experience (especially on higher difficulties without aim helper)
+ Tactical gameplay, not your everyday Rambo-style shooter
+ Large array of weapons, equipment and ammo types
+ Many side activities, including Most Wanted Targets, Side Missions and Collectibles (but a Most Wanted Target is missing from the game so it cannot be completed 100%, see negative points)
Not So Great:
– Laggy, glitchy and unpolished
– Game crashes too often
– Extremely long loading times when traveling between maps
– Doesn’t meet the technical standards of what’s expected from a current gen game
– Gets repetitive after a while
– Game cannot be completed 100% with patch 1.00 – 1.03 because a Most Wanted Target is missing from the game. A trophy / achievement is also unobtainable. Clearly not a single person in the development team cared to do QA (Quality Assurance / testing).
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a glitchy, unpolished, currently uncompletable game (due to bugs). It succeeds in delivering a believable sniping experience but fails on all other fronts.
Played on PS4 Pro with Patch 1.03. A free copy of this game was provided for this review.