Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 Xbox One Review

I was sitting here, doing some work when a new game was offered to me to try. Now, the guys at AAG know I’m a sucker for two things, sniping games and open world games. Combine those two things and surely, surely, I’ll be in heaven, right? Well, mostly. Some games can do it beautifully, hell, Far Cry 3 wasn’t a sniper simulator, yet it managed to turn itself into a joyous example of arcade sniping, even Far cry 4 for all its major faults, was a decently fun time. Sniper Elite 4 eschewed the open world aspect in favour of wide open, multi approach levels, which I found to be a wise approach that worked heavily in its favour, and fine-tuned its sniping into a goddamn art form. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 approaches us with an open world, bro-shooter-sniping style, swaggering in with no remorse… the question is… how does it fair?

Controls

The controls are honestly fine, I was playing on the Xbox one and everything, even without the tutorial at the beginning, fell right into place. It uses the most generic of first person controls to its advantage and everything feels intuitive, right down to using the DPad while zoomed in on targets to fix your scope zoom and range on your rifle. In this sense, CI Games has absolutely nailed the controls in every aspect. Well done guys, it’s quite hard on consoles to get a sniping game right, but you’ve excelled here. Even when the game sprang into balls out COD mode in the prologue, or when I screwed up raiding a compound, the controls remained fluid and intuitive, reaction times for the character were excellent, button layout was exceptionally done and this led to a very enjoyable experience (as quite frankly, bad controls can ruin a great game).

Graphics

I know I’m playing on an Xbox One, I don’t expect to see the highest of quality graphics being pumped out while I’m playing, and quite frankly I don’t need amazing graphics in my games for them to be playable. However, with this game, it was schizophrenic, most of the time in the open world setting, I felt like I was playing a PS2 era game, occasionally, it’d flicker over to feeling like I was in the current gen game it was always meant to be but this would be followed with a *drastic* framerate hit dropping me to what I would estimate would be 10 – 15 frames per second, making aiming almost impossible at the best of times. The low polygon enemies, the shockingly bland detail, the low-res textures, all combined in some areas to make me balk. Then I’d walk into another area and some high-quality textures would kick in with some fantastic looking scenery and some enemies who looked damn cool in their heavy armour. Ok?

The animation was poor, bordering on truly bad. The animals, the people, the cars, all of it. At one point, talking to a blonde woman in the safe house you find yourself in in the open world, her motion, her lip-syncing (or distinct lack of), all combined to give one majorly jarring experience. If anyone tells me this was motion captured I’ll laugh in their face, there’s absolutely no way. There’s no goddamn way. Even hand drawn animations can look wonderful, but quite regularly the animations in this game can go from acceptable, to questionable to downright awful. There’s moments the enemy will be walking along, then suddenly, a 90-degree turn will just… BANG! HAPPEN! The person won’t turn naturally, they’ll just POP 90 degrees to the left or right and continue along that path. It’s jarring, it’s annoying AND THIS SHOULD NOT EXIST currently of technology. Often, frames will skip, causing animations to look jittery and stutter randomly, making you wonder how this got out of quality testing? How CI Games? How the hell did this make it past your quality testers?

On the upside, your gun looks fantastic. You can make out the dials, the notches and when you get that nice little slow-mo killcam (sans x-ray unfortunately) with the bullets that’s oh so *not* inspired by a certain other sniper game *at all*, the detail on the bullet alone is almost worth the price of admission alone.

There’s also an immediate drop between the quality of visuals in the prologue mission, which is extremely linear, telling the backstory of the main character, his brother and in incident that leads to the core story of the game, and the graphics you eventually see in the open world. This is extremely jarring, as the prologue graphics mostly, were not too bad. Why the sudden change in quality? Was it the open world aspect drops texture quality in comparison to a linear corridor?

I just can’t help but feel this game needed to be in development a little bit longer or maybe the current generation consoles just shouldn’t have been considered, because I’m going to be blunt here, this port *sucks* graphically and really needed more work done to it. As it stands, at least on the Xbox One, visually it’s a two-gen old game in current gen games clothing.

Gameplay

Some games need the open world element to thrive. Look at Ghost Recon Wildlands, it’s utterly fantastic when you go off the main missions, in fact the game gets better tenfold when you start exploring the open world randomly and just create your own adventure. I wish the same could be said here, but honestly it feels bland. It feels like Far cry light, with little purpose to it. That’s not to say I didn’t come across any events, however a good game will throw random, unscripted events at you. Everything I came across here felt staged, scripted and waiting for me to trigger it to occur? Some incidents were cool mind you, the two guys I stumbled upon in a shack interrogating a civilian, that was genuinely fun. Creating my own havoc at Far cry inspired outposts wasn’t half bad either. Sneaking around, eliminating the bad guys who inhabit the outpost. But the enemy AI is bad, and to be honest, so is the friendly AI. They’re not much better either. Three times at one outpost, an enemy I was sneaking up on turned around (fair enough, I thought I alerted them), only to stand, staring at me for around ten seconds, gun lowered, while I raised my rifle and casually popped them a round in the face. Easy. Other times, they would casually walk by and through mystical use of what I can only assume was “The force” knew I was down through a series of boxes, laying on the ground, rifle out, looking at them between the narrowest of slits, and would come running at me guns blazing…

This iteration of the Sniper series is set in the country of “Georgia”, easily mistaken for the state in America given the limited range of accents on offer no doubt. Your character, should you choose to accept it, Bro McBro-erson, I mean Jon North, has been sent in by the higher ups to take on a bunch of militants (aren’t they always?) The dialogue, characters and incident in the game are ripped straight out of the hammy action movies of the 80s and 90s, this isn’t a bad thing, the COD series has been surviving on this since its inception quite frankly and so have most other story based, gung ho FPS games. However, the poor story in this game grates particularly with the shockingly bad dialogue “YOU know what happened in Iraq!” “YOU know what happened (insert vague reference to location)”. No. I don’t. Elaborate. Did you spend the night waxing kittens and laughing maniacally? It’s just *so* boring. I don’t CARE what they did, I’m not invested in them, it’s got no resonance with me, no emotional investment, thus if either character speaking in the bunker when this dialogue was said copped a bullet to the fact, I’d probably high five the shooter for my relief!

This doesn’t really help that the story is backed up by one of the goddamn ugliest maps I’ve seen in an open world game in both this and last generation. I get CI games wanted to go open world with the series, that’s a brave move, it really was, but the dip in quality between the linear prologue and the open worlds ugly look on current gen hardware seals it that maybe this move to open world wasn’t the best decision honestly. Or maybe it’s time to use a better engine and upskill the devs? But what of side quests, there’s got to be plenty right? Well sure, they’re dotted by question marks located around the map, and icons and they’re probably the least interesting, least inspired missions I’ve seen in an open world game. When you want to step into this arena, this open world arena, you must realise you’re playing with the big boys. There’s standards people expect to be met. No one expects ultimate busywork like in Mad Max, but people would like some sort of variety in side quests beyond the same essential thing over and over and over ad nauseum.

There’s a crafting system for your ammunition, traps and other resources, now while I respect the effort here of putting in one, kudos devs for doing that, I also point out that the frequency of coming across resources in general kind of renders it moot. I never once really needed to craft my own ammo in the dozen or so hours I’ve put in now, having found plenty on the fallen bodies of my enemies. But the skill tree system also provided, while an interesting, novel idea defeats the purpose of you being some sort of ultimate badass from the getgo in my opinion? If the stealth, gunplay and hand to hand were above the levels of basic in the game, maybe the skill tree would ultimately matter, but realistically, it too is rendered moot by the fact you never *truly* feel like you’ve been affected that much by upgrading?

Now, Sniper Elite didn’t create the ‘slow motion kill cam’ in videogames, that courtesy stretches way back to the first Max Payne (Perhaps there was one before? Can you remember by chance?), but Sniper Elite does it better with the X-ray function. Unfortunately, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 does it rather poorly. Yes, you get the bullet flying slowly, rotating around with the camera as it flies. Yes, you see the bullet hit, but the poor blood texture that results, plus the lack of detail results in something that feels like a distraction from the main game, rather than a delight as it is in the other sniping game, Sniper Elite 4.

There’s a bigger killer than you in this game though, one stalking you from beginning to end as you play, breathing down your neck every second… Framerate. I would be shocked to find out the framerate went above twenty while I was playing. At times, I was trying to fine tune my shots, but the extra low fps made my aiming jump left, right or up and down drastically. Quite often, this was literally the reason I would miss shots. If this game played at a locked 30fps, I wouldn’t have a concern, after all, many fps on consoles do and they’re fine. Hell, that other Sniper game does and it’s perfectly fine in that regard. But when a game that requires skill and finesse in aiming can’t get a solid framerate going, causing you to literally miss shots *and auto aim is turned on*, there’s something horrendously wrong there.

But let’s not make it feel like I’m bashing the WHOLE game endlessly. There’s moments in this game, where you find yourself camped up somewhere, be it on a peak, or a hill, or a building and you’re given the orders to take out a target. Or maybe you’re simply taking out the bad guys at an outpost. This is where you morph into that badass you should be. This is where the game shines, and to be honest, it shines like almost no other sniper game or FPS. Yes, it even beats that other sniper game to a degree. You’ll sit there, waiting, you’ll measure distance with your scope, you’ll adjust your range, your zoom, look at the targets, judge which bullet to use, what angle of approach would be best. This is probably, ironically given all the other issues, one of the best sniping experiences you’ll get in a game outside of the ARMA series on PC. It’s just that goddamn framerate that kicks it in the balls… the graphics don’t kill it for me, the sound doesn’t, it’s that framerate in the end that’s the biggest issue and if CI games can release a patch to fix this issue that locks the game to 30fps? That’ll be magnificent in my opinion and improve this game out of sight.

Sound

The guns sound generic, I wish I could say they hit the high points of a COD game, or that other certain Sniper game, but the truth is they don’t. There’s no real atmospheric sound to notably speak of, it’s stock standard open world stuff, nothing impressive to be honest. There’s the crunches of your feet as you run along and some decent doppler effect going on when cars drive away from you but that’s about it. The music was ok… I just… I really don’t feel like putting much effort in here because they didn’t put much effort in there? I mean, we’re talking about a sniping game for Christ sake, a game where sound is an all-important factor. Guns should be recognisably different due to calibres, but they really don’t seem to vary that much. Enemies sound generic with only a few different voices. There’s a distinct lack of effort that seems present throughout all aspects of this game and that is truly unfortunate.

Value

At the current price, take it or leave it. But edge closer to leaving it honestly. If you’re a diehard sniping fan you may still enjoy it. Hell, the PC version I’ve seen has a higher framerate meaning a more fluid game, higher texture resolutions and a more stable experience. But at this point, I don’t really think the current price recommends a purchase on consoles. I’d wait for the price to go down, especially given there’s a season pass attached to this game. Or, wait for the inevitable ‘game of the year’ edition, with all content supplied. But as it stands, don’t pay full price unless you’re aware of what you’re getting into first.

Conclusion

I want to like Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 more than I do. God knows I do. The concept is solid, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired unfortunately. It’s a shame too, because this game shows a lot of potential. Maybe if there’s a part 4, it’ll do justice to the concept? An open world sniping game should be a thing of absolute beauty, a game where sound, physics, graphics and controls come together in one harmonious package to deliver a fantastic experience. It’s not a disaster, it’s not a terrible game, I just don’t recommend picking it up for full price. If you do pick it up at some point, at bargain price, you’ll get some fun out of it, it’s just that this game is a B grade game priced at AAA game standards, and that to me is a big letdown for it. Had it been released as a budget title? Hell, that might’ve made for a slightly different experience, but premium price, plus season pass… that just all adds up to a score I don’t want to give, but feel I must.

Pro’s:

  • The great moments you feel like a badass sniper.
  • The kill cam is neat still.
  • Open world concept is a good one for a sniper game.
  • Controls are uniformly excellent

Cons:

  • Graphics are very low res on Xbox One, look last gen, possibly 2 gens ago in some parts.
  • Sound is average.
  • Priced exceedingly high for what is essentially, a budget game.
  • The character models are poorly textured, bland and uninteresting, looking like store mannequins.
  • Animation is bad across the board.

Rent or Buy this game from GetGaming now!

Similar posts plugin not found.
Comments are closed.