The Sniper: Ghost Warrior franchise is an enigma in the FPS market. City Interactive clearly wants it to be a franchise capable of competing with Call of Duty and Battlefield, but the games are continuously designed to appeal to only the hardcore sniping audience. The developers are back for a third try and I recently got to go hands-on with the game. Though the demo was short, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 might finally be able to compete with Call of Duty and Battlefield.
You play as retired Marine Scout Sniper Jonathan North who has been pulled out of solitude and dropped into war-torn Georgia. Your task is simple; find and eliminate your brother, a rogue sniper. He’s gone insane, and his intrusion on Georgian soil could trigger a second cold war between the United States of America and Russia.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is the most accessible of the Sniper games, but doesn’t abandon its roots. The enemies are smart, the weapons are deadly, and the aiming is realistic. City Interactive has included assault rifles and light-machine guns for those with itchy trigger-fingers, though you’ll find yourself at quite the disadvantage when surrounded.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is built on three pillars of gameplay; execute, target, and survive. My demo began in the heart of a jungle. I had to make my way back to my bunker to collect weapons and supplies and get my mission. Using a remote-controlled drone I was able to target hostiles, allowing me to successfully navigate towards the bunker without being seen.
At the bunker, I was tasked with assassinating a general visiting the area. Here I had to use a mix of execute and survive. To survive, I needed to navigate a minefield by using my Sniper’s Vision. This vision allowed me to see exactly where the mines were, and either disable or sneak around them. I quietly made my way to an abandoned hotel under the control of the general’s men. Once again, I used the drone to locate the general. He wasn’t there, so I created a distraction with the drone. While the enemies converged on the mill, I made my escape.
Finally, I came upon an open area where the general was inspecting some prisoners. I needed the perfect sniper position, but it was already taken. Enemies are much smarter in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 than I anticipated. Enemies typically travel in pairs, and aren’t afraid to booby trap their lookout areas. I had to be careful, quietly taking out the spotter before moving onto the sniper.
Going prone, I was ready to execute my target using Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3’s innovative sniping system. Players will have to be aware of wind, gravity, breath, shooting stance, and enemy movement while taking their shots. This isn’t like other FPS games where you can just ADS and get a perfect headshot. So, I pulled the trigger and missed his head, but got him square in the heart. With my mission accomplished, I boarded a helicopter and escaped the scene.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 isn’t just an intense game to play, it’s also rather gorgeous. Running on CryEngine 3, City Interactive has created a stunning open world filled with vegetation, large trees and dynamic weather. Weapon models in particular look amazing, though the humans don’t appear to have the same attention to detail.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 might end up being just as niche as its predecessors. While the game isn’t as hardcore as previous entries, it’s clear that the focus is still on sniping. The short demo got this assault rifle player to actually snipe for a change, however, and have fun doing it. The game presents unique challenges not found in a typical FPS. Whether or not this helps or hinders the game remains to be seen.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is out Q2 2016 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.