After our multiple hours with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, we don't see it stalking much besides the bargain bin. Obviously this property has no relation to the sniper games created by Rebellion (Sniper Elite and Nazi Zombie Army), and after just a few minutes anyone can realise it definitely doesn't deserve to be riding the coattails of Oxford-based outfit's output.
Developer CI Games touts Ghost Warrior 3 as the first AAA produced title in the series, citing an open world and a fleshed out story as affirmations. The story features a man named Jon, an American Marine Captain who is very hung up with the kidnapping of his brother two years prior to the first act of the game (somehow managing to bring it up in every conversation). He's tasked with stopping a cold war in Georgia (the Eurasian country, not the place known for its excellent chicken fried steak), which is pretty high stakes.
However, it seems as if he's driven only by the theory that he might find his brother in the country (how patriotic), with voice delivery and writing making it sounds insincere. While it would be unfair to expect a plot on par with a title such as Spec-Ops: The Line, the generic and boring stereotypes this game draws on prove that it's on the opposite of the spectrum. While digesting the story, we felt that the game had a story of necessity, not because there was one to be told.
Nevertheless, the game definitely has some fun gameplay mechanics. While they may essentially just be mediocre reincarnations of the ones found in the Rebellion's games, it is absolutely satisfying to line up your shot and execute an enemy NPC. The game features a cheaper, less grand iteration of the bullet-time visual found in Rebellion's games, and while it's held back by not featuring an x-ray graphic, it's also held back by the unpolished presentation.
We'll admit it, we're not as perfect as others at these Sniper games, so we definitely missed shots without knowing it. However, the bullet-time sometimes clearly shows you missing your mark before panning away and showing your target receiving a slug through his frontal lobe. Fortunately, missions are quite well constructed in the game, which when played on the title's hard mode end up being incredibly satisfying to perfect. For most of the time, we were scouting out areas and interrogating only to slowly pick off individuals one by one. It definitely feels as if you're a ghost, dismantling baddies one-by-one without them knowing.
Certainly, the game looks good in some spots on the PS4 Pro – especially after the 14 GB of patches which we had to download alongside the game – but it definitely doesn't run well in any sense imaginable. The game is incredibly unoptimised, one of the worst we've seen this generation. To put in perspective, we did around a three hour play session with the title tallying a multitude of problems. During this time it crashed two or three times, requiring a hard reset, and each loading screen when averaged amounted to 4 minutes and 23 seconds (allowing us to thankfully catch up on some reading). Finally, we had gotten stuck in the environment almost twice with our vehicle. This kind of stuff is absolutely inadmissible, and should have warranted a delay.
During an opening splash screen, an ethereal voiceover tells you that Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 was "Achieved with Cry-Engine". However, while playing the game, we failed to realise at all what was achieved. Some moderately entertaining combat aside, the release takes too liberally from other, better titles. Technical issues are the final nail in the coffin, making it interesting to see a game aim so low, yet still manage to miss its mark entirely.