Over the past weekend, while the boys played Ghost Recon: Wildlands, I played the PC open beta for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3. My initial impressions were that it's not a bad game, but it's also not a great one. However, after a few hours, the challenge the game represents grabbed me and I could see how SGW3 has the potential to be the game fans want. With a few tweaks, the developer, CI Games, can deliver an immersive and rewarding experience.
Please note: My PC is above the minimum specs and below the recommended. I have the R9290 overclocked and i7-4790K. Recommended requires the RX 480 GTX 1060.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
The open beta only allowed two missions, both without one of the AI partners (you'll have three), and it should've perhaps been a feature CI Games included. You get barely a hint of the overall story, and the intrigues between the characters could've been a good teaser. Most of all, I hoped to experience team play, but alas, we'll have to wait for the full release of the game.
On a side note, the PC version of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 requires 50GB of hard drive space, so this is going to be a massive open world, which also means the game can easily become monotonous - unless the overarching story is done well. I can't give an opinion on it as you cannot judge a game of this size from playing two solo missions.
The first objective was to get to your safe house, and, of course, there's a jeep nearby to drive to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the driving; it felt smooth, responsive and easy. The safe house in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is a cave set deep within a mountain, and it's a pretty cool feature. There you'll find your workbench where you can modify weapons, ammunition, and gadgets. (You loot crates and enemies for materials). There's also an ammunition case where you stock up or change your loadout - all at a cost. I have to admit that I didn't use the workbench much as I obtained whatever I needed from the weapons cache. The safe house is your command centre where you get new mission and Intel about key characters, villain and friendly.
When it comes to your loadout, there's plenty of variety to choose from in weapons, ammo, gadgets, and armour. A lot of the options were still locked in the beta, and I could only use the drone as my primary gadget. I loved this nifty little tool and can't see how you'll even want to attempt any mission without it. The drone is like having a teammate that provides vital information that can determine the success or failure of a mission.
As you improve the Sniper, Ghost, and Warrior skills, you unlock perks where you can, for example, repair the drone while in the field. Specific actions during a mission (like interrogate or take down), adds points to the three sections. When the point limit is reached to unlock a new perk for Sniper, Ghost, or Warrior, it becomes available at the end of the mission.
I love how CI Games made it so easy, yet effective to expand in those three areas. Players have three distinct approaches to how they want to play the game - or in a combination of the three. It's a great synergy of stealth, action, and tactical first-person action. After each mission, you'll get a detailed breakdown of how you performed in each section. For example, I got points under "Sniper" for 100% sniping accuracy in the two headshots I performed in the Blockout mission. The most points in "Sniper" was allocated to my "longest shot" which was over 130m. I gained the most points in the "Ghost" section because my drone picked up 20 bogies, and because I interrogated three enemies. I earned the least points in "Warrior" because I chose to play as a stealth sniper.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 isn't an easy game; I loved the challenge, and I could only play on normal as the beta was limited to that difficulty mode. My first few attempts failed miserably, and I was forced to take a step back and do some tactical thinking - this isn't a "run in guns blazing" type of game (although I am sure you can pull that off if you want to). I opted to use "rest mode" in the safe house so I could complete missions at night time. I never left home without the drone and a silencer for my sidearm and sniper rifle.
I completed both missions with as few kills as possible and used 'Interrogate" whenever the opportunity presented itself. By doing that in the first mission I could take down my target from across his building while he walked passed a window. To get that one shot kill from that distance was immensely satisfying, and it must be why gamers love this type of game so much. Take note - you can't complete the side mission once you've eliminated the target or met the primary objective.
Another big plus for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the map and fast travel system. Both are again - simple yet very effective. It provides exactly what you want from those two features - detailed information that you can quickly add or remove from the world map - and fast travel over long distances.
As you'll see in the clip below, (and the drone clip above for that matter), there are small glitches in the game. You have to position yourself just perfect to get the prompt to perform actions like "loot" "pick up" or "climb down." What sniper has time to waste and exposing him or herself while trying to dance around a body so you can loot it or carry it away! Luckily, for looting, you can just press the pre-assigned key, but there's no such luck when you have to climb down a cliff. You have to stand this way and that until the prompt finally picks up.
I can't make a judgement on how well CI Games designed the AI as I couldn't pick up a pattern in their behavior from the two missions. I made sure to hide all bodies well away from any guard routes, yet they were always noticed. Their line of sight would be a demon to predict in hard mode, but luckily there's a perk you can unlock to counter it.
Aside from a few glitches that will probably get patched before the full release, I had only one "bad," my graphics card. Even though I had way above the minimum, I suggest you only play Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 if you have the GTX 1060 or RX 480. The graphics looked terrible and took away from the overall experience. Objects appeared flat, colourless and presented a world I didn't want to spend more time in.
I recommend that you wait for reviews to see gameplay of the final product. Bad graphics aside, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 seems to have a lot to offer fans of the genre. The small section I played was a good tease for what could be a very immersive and satisfying experience. I would love to hear some feedback if anyone played the open beta.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 releases on April 4 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Han: Twitter / MWEB GameZone: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram