Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is a decent follow-up in the Sniper series. CI Games went above and beyond with the game, utilizing the CryEngine, creating a relatively large open world, adding many RPG elements into the game. All of these updates give the game some much-needed pizzazz, and the hopefully it helps the game reach a larger audience.
The game follows a US Marine in Georgia (the country, not the state) intent on destabilizing a series of Georgian separatists intent on sowing dissent and anarchy through the region. While not a massive military operation, it is still a US-led mission meant to help the region. Jon's in it for another, family-related reason, but over time comes to find out that not everything is quite as it seems, and the conflict he finds himself in may not be only about a simple power play in the country.
After completing the game's initial tutorial and getting set up at your local safe house, it unleashes the beast of Jon and his sniper rifle, letting you go and do whatever you want to your heart's content. There are several main missions and side objectives to complete, each advancing the story in some fashion or unlocking new weapons, but the bulk of the game is as freeform as you make it. Enemy outposts litter the region, there are several points of interests and hidden collectibles to find, and the game uses a currency and crafting system to expand and upgrade your arsenal.
While I did enjoy some of the main missions and the banter between Jon and his compatriots seemed to help flesh out his personality some, Jon felt like a dead fish for most the game. The missions as well felt similarly dead in a sense. Most times I could set up shop somewhere nice and remote with a good vantage point and proceed to murder everyone via sniping. As a bonus, successful headshots were treated with slow motion views of the bullets destroying enemy skulls in bloody fashion. Once everyone was dead, I'd ease my way in and collect whatever there was or spend a few minutes toying with the last, terrified soldier before finishing up the objectives. During that last man standing scenarios, I also enjoyed getting up close and using either the melee kill or interrogation for some last minute fun before finishing up a mission.
Killing off my enemies granted XP and skill points from three distinct categories - Ghost, Sniper, and Warrior - each with their own perks that allowed me to become a better soldier over time. Looting enemies, searching points of interest, or completing missions also brought money and goods, as well as unlockables, that all helped to pad out my arsenal over. Anything I didn't directly buy could be built at my workshop, helping me fill out any low ammo counts or missing items. Honestly, I ended up just collecting money from my random raids, looting dead bodies and using that instead of bothering to craft many items. Weapons and items didn't unlock fast enough, and I was intent on using those found on the battlefield. The sheer ability to go where ever and do whatever against unsuspecting enemies gave me more fun and enjoyment over the missions themselves.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is a beautiful game using the CryEngine, it also supports HDR on compatible displays. The foliage looks great, enemies stand out, and my rifles are works of art dealing out death. With boost mode enabled on a PlayStation 4 Pro, the game's framerate handles the game better than a standard PS4, but it is still not consistent. However, even a beautiful game like this doesn't negate some of its larger problems. Numerous times I found myself dealing with glitches, poor loading, or general crashes. One frequent and reoccurring example was during my attempts at interrogation; enemies would suddenly disappear as I grappled with them and my attempts at forcing information out of them would instead become "wait it out" scenarios to see if I ever let go of my invisible and mute adversaries or wind up dead. Heck, one time "we" even floated up to the ceiling and waited there while another enemy walked in and questioned if his buddy was okay - quite the scene considering I was floating six feet off the ground and wrestling with a ghost.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has some good moments when you focus on the sniping aspect set in the open world environment. It's a shame it suffers from several bugs and feels a little misguided. I couldn't find myself invested in the main character or the plight of anyone around me, but rather I was just interested in the game's excellent array of weaponry and ability to kill everyone. Maybe that's a bad sign, but to my defense, hunting down collectibles gets old.Note: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 was reviewed on PlayStation 4. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.