It’s 15:00 Hours on Day Three of my sniping adventures. I find myself perched on top of a high, rocky cliff face, overlooking the seemingly abandoned outpost of my enemies below. I’ve been sitting here for several hours, waiting for my target to arrive by convoy.

Finally, the target arrives. The security escort is light. My rifle is primed in my grip, ready for action.

I take aim, quickly adjusting my scope to compensate for the distance, and square his fleshy head in my sight. Lightly, my finger caresses the trigger and then squeezes.

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Nothing. The screen freezes, but the sound continues. A shop rings out followed by a succession of other concussive beats. Finally, my screen comes back to life and I find myself lying on the ground in a bloodied mess. Thanks Xbox One.

I want to say that this was a unique experience during my time with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, but that would be a lie. Like most games, this one was filled with high hopes that were quickly dashed by questionable design choices and buggy mechanics.

The Gameplay

Sniper games are an unique breed in the industry today. Games like the Sniper Ghost Warrior and Sniper Elite franchises mix a little bit of action, strategy, stealth, and role-playing into a unique experience that sometimes even borderlines the real thing. When you have to deal with the effects of gravity over distance and time, combined with wind and weather, you can’t help but feel somewhat immersed into the gameplay.

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 promised to be the latest edition in the space. This has been a good year for sniper games with the introduction of Sniper Elite 4 and, after several delays, now this game.

Unfortunately, the gameplay fails to live up to its competitors.

The best thing I can say about the gameplay is that it does stay true to the genre. The mechanics force you to take your time and plan out your actions in order to stay alive.

Cover is basically nonexistence and enemy bullets actually kill you within a couple shots. Therefore, you have to use the elements of surprise and stealth.

It also gives you choices on how you play the game. Each mission has multiple routes to take, some with more advantages or disadvantages than others.

Despite all this, the gameplay is plagued with bugs and poor design choices. A poor ammo counter, spotty inventory system, dreaded frame rate dropouts, and a black screen of death are some of the bugs that should’ve been dealt with ahead of time.

More than that, the game developer decided to include five-minute loading screens to cut down time during times like reloads and fast travel. If you like to multitask, then this features for you. During the five minutes, I usually found time for a snack or light laundry.

On top of all this, the most egregious offender I found was the music selection. Most companies will give you a diverse musical offering as you are on hold for tech support. This game only gives you one song that is a mix of folksy Georgian and soap opera music.

I found myself ad-libbing lyrics to a song I did not understand after the fifth or sixth time. I figure the lyrics are Georgian for “You spent $60 on something that makes think ranking up in the military might be faster. Good job!”

The Storyline

Despite the questionable mechanics, gameplay choices, and music variety, the storyline is decent enough to warrant one or two play throughs.

Nothing particularly stands out, much like the other Sniper Ghost Warrior games. Without spoiling any major points, the basic premise is your alone assassin who has to save a family member from a typical foreign evil. It’s essentially James Bond if you gave him a sniper rifle and took away all the women. Rest assured that there are a few questionably and scantily clad female characters because… yeah, because.

When everything’s going right, the storyline is immersive. It’s very easy to lose two to three hours at a time as you diligently scope out a hostile area and plan your exact angle of attack.

The dialogue and acting is what you would expect for a game of this genre. It’s not going to be winning any golden awards anytime soon, but it gets the job done.

The one major issue I had with the storyline was the ending. Once again, without revealing any spoilers, be prepared for a climactic buildup in the final few missions only to be let down as if a narrative trapdoor was released under your feet.

Final Thoughts on Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

Overall, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is worth a playthrough or two if you don’t mind spending $60 of your hard earned cash. Some people may question whether it’s a smart investment or not, but ultimately that’s up to you to decide.

I know for myself, if I could go back in time and do everything over, I would encourage myself to take up knitting to pass the time waiting at the loading screen.

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