PSX 2016: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

A lot of modern first person war shooters have dipped from the well Infinity Ward built. It makes sense, Modern Warfare sold incredibly well and anyone with an interest in profit would be crazy not to jump on the wagon. It also ushered in a new era of war games that left World War II behind, setting of a trend of shooters set in more contemporary (and potential) theaters of war. While Call of Duty and its derivatives focus on fast paced combat, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3  goes for a much different approach to fighting the bad guys. And honestly, it’s a nice change of direction. 

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 stars Jonathan North, a retired Marine who travels to Georgia (the Eastern European one) when news of his brother - originally thought dead after an op went south - surfaces. A veritable one man army, Jonathan must snipe his way through a large open world to find his brother and handle three factions vying for control over the province which could easily spiral out of control. Judging from the demo, it looks like Jonathan will be going into enemy territory alone and even though he’s armed to the teeth, CI Games decided to go for a more realistic approach in gameplay. Though skilled in the shooting arts because of his military training, Jonathan can only withstand so many bullets before he’s killed. Meaning, the player has to utilize Jonathan’s role as a sniper to successfully engage the enemy. It’s not enough to just point a gun at someone and pull the trigger. The realism of shooting a long range rifle means the player has to account for distance, wind, and gravity (i.e. bullet drop) before firing a shot. Thankfully, these factors are presented in an easy to understand UI via the gun’s scope. Don’t come to Ghost Warrior 3 thinking it’s going to be like Far Cry. For example, a sniper engagement I played in the demo went something like this:

  • Mark the targets using a drone (don’t get it too close to the enemy otherwise they’re hear it and shoot it down). 
  • Adjust the gun’s scope to account for the distance between you and the target.
  • Account for wind and gravity
  • Take the shot. If the kill is undetected, maintain position or move to different vantage points to take out the remaining enemy troops. 

Combat gets especially interesting if miss a shot or the enemy sees a dead body. The enemy AI responds to sight and sound - all the more reason to analyze your surroundings. If you fail to make a clean kill or get noticed by soldiers, they go into an alert mode and search the area for your position. If a soldier sees you, they’ll run to a mortar pit and start taking potshots at your last known location. A good sniper will move from different vantage points and tackle the objective with minimal detection. You can kill up close, there are wide range of different guns to use in the field, but you’ll want to minimize enemy contact because of how easy it is for them to kill you. You’re not meant to run in guns blazing and trying to enter that frame of mind took some real discipline. 

I usually have a hard time with games as punishing as this. I prefer games like Deus Ex and Metal Gear Solid V because even though they encourage stealth play, you’re not  punished by fail states or instant kills when detected. It’s fun to sneak around areans and bases, but I play comfortably with the knowledge that I can blast my way out if things go south (and they usually do). That said, I’m glad difficult games like this exist. They’re a nice break from the action arcade experiences of modern war shooters. If there were no developers willing to take a chance in creating a FPS with higher than average difficulty, we wouldn’t have games like Dark Souls. I wasn’t sure Ghost Warrior 3 was going to be a game I could see myself liking. By the end of my appointment, however, my hands from tension. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 isn’t due out until April 2017, which gives CI Games more time to keep it in the oven.

Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.