Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (PS4) Review

I wasn't sure what to expect when starting up Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, other than you probably play as a sniper.  I figured it would kind of be like Sniper Elite, but what I got was something....better.

The campaign starts off where most do: a video showing back story, then a quick tutorial mission.  The prologue was actually more difficult that I would have thought.  I failed the first time when trying to tag all the targets with the drone.  I took too long to find everyone, and one guy saw the drone.  Oops.  Second time, I guess I took too long to shoot the target, but the game said "you missed the shot" even though I didn't pull the trigger.  Ooookay, another reload.  Then they told me the target was X distance away, so I shot that guy.  Turns out he was the wrong one, and somebody saw him die.  Oops again, and another reload.  That was my last mistake in that chapter, but I was still worried, failing so much during the tutorial.

Part of that stems from trying to learn the controls and part from learning how to adjust for wind.  It's not something in most game I play, and it's always a bit different in the few that have it.  At first, I didn't even know where the measurement was on the HUD, since my attention was elsewhere in the brief time I could hit the touch pad and read the tutorial page on it.  Basically your scope can be adjusted close to the target's altitude, which can make your aiming more precise.

After some more story, the game properly picks up.  I was surprised to see that it takes place on a large, open map with many unknown places of interest and other things to explore and gather.  Kind of like a sniper-focused Far Cry 3 or even the more recent Ghost Recon Wildlands.  I was happy to see that, since I do like that style of game, and was eager to try out one with a sniper bias.  The only trouble is, when presented with such a world, it takes me forever to actually do the story.  I like to wander around and do the side activities.  The 23 main missions and 16 side missions are spread over 3 big maps.  That's a lot of points of discovery.

Besides the scope mentioned previously, there are other things to learn while playing.  Silencers are very helpful, but must be repaired to function.  You have three different healing items, which you use by holding triangle.  This is also used to loot weapons (breaking them down), so it's easy to accidentally use a medkit while trying to break down a weapon.  It's not a deal breaker, but it is annoying.  Like the actual sniping, after a few hours I was able to sort it out.  Shooting was also easier and I had a good grasp of where to aim to accurately hit my target.  Practice makes perfect...or at least something close.

To round out the game, there are three skill trees.  Certain actions grant experience in one of the three trees, and every 1000 will grant you a skill point.  Each skill takes multiple to purchase, and I'm fairly sure you can end up with all of them if you play enough.  You also get a multitude of equipable things, like gadgets, gun parts and drone abilities.  You can also unlock new weapons, and switch between what you have purchased at your home bases.

If you stuck to the main missions, the game would probably run 20-30 hours (especially if you are patient at sniping), but much more if you do all the extra stuff, like I do.  The game's not too hard, as there are a few checkpoints during missions, and you can reload/retry pretty freely.  As for problems, sometimes the stealth kills are glitchy, resulting in a body disappearing, or moving somewhere else nearby as you do it.  There's also the load times.  Reloading a mission takes a bit of time, but the initial load of your save file takes a ridiculous amount of time.  Putting the game in sleep mode instead of closing it out helps with that.

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was surprisingly fun.  I wasn't expecting such detailed sniping mechanics, nor the open world with many points to explore and loot to find.  The intricacy of the sniper rifle and the sometimes odd controls might chase some people away, but I'd recommend trying the game out.  As long as you are patient, you will be rewarded.

The Good:
Open world with fun sniping action.

The Bad:
Super long initial load, and the control configuration feels a bit weird.

The SaHD:
Why does a sniper shot through two heads not get old?

(Review code for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was provided by the publisher)

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