There’s always been something satisfying about getting a headshot in a video game, especially when it’s with a sniper rifle. Then you add a slow motion Matrix style bullet time as the bullet whizzes towards the targets face and the satisfaction rises. This is the first Sniper: Ghost Warrior game I’ve played but I have played through a few other sniper based games, Sniper Elite games, so I am familiar with the style. Plus I like stealth based games, so I was looking forward to finally checking this series out.
You play as Marine Captain Jonathan North and the game opens with him and his brother, Robert, on a mission to deal with Russian Bio-Weapons. Before they deal with them a group called 23 Society kidnap Robert and knock out Jon. The bulk of the game takes place two years later in the country of Georgia and your mission is to deal with the Separatists taking over territories, search for the 23 Society and rescue your brother. To me the plot wasn’t bad or anything but I didn’t think it was great either. The pacing is fine and feels like actual things you’d be doing to gather information. You don’t always kill your target and by the time you find out about what happened to Robert it didn’t feel forced and I actually liked that. I wont spoil what it is but I thought it was cool. My biggest grip with the story is the dialogue and the lip-syncing. Some of the things Jon will say to the people helping him are so generic and don’t fit the situation and when there are cutscenes the lip-syncing is so off it’s kind of painful to watch. The voice acting is fine for the most part. I would’ve liked some more emotion in people’s voice considering some of the things they see and do but it’s fine. The story gets the job done and does what it needs to do but I would’ve liked it to be a little tighter and cut a few missions out that didn’t move the story forward and just have those be side missions.
The gameplay is where this game shines! The act of snipping feels great and the gunplay overall feels good. I love that when you look down the scope you can adjust the distance depending on how far away your target is. There’s even a trophy for killing an enemy from 500 meters away. And when you click the left stick in you hold your breath, which is pretty standard, you get a dot that lets you know where the bullet will go. I do find it a let down that the gore isn’t there much because when you shoot someone in the head they just kind of fall over and some glitchy gore happens every once in a while. I love what Sniper Elite does with the X-Ray stuff and would’ve liked something like that in here. I get that this game wants to do it’s own thing but it does feel lame when you shoot someone and they just fall over, even though some of the rag doll physics are pretty funny. You do have a skills tree that breaks off into three sections: Sniper, Ghost and Warrior. I like how they handle these because you get points in each by using skills associated with them. So if you want Warrior points kill enemies when they’re alerted or when you go loud, Ghost skills by getting stealth kills or using the drone and Sniper skills by ya know…using the sniper. I will say that the gun customization is deep and some of the skins look awesome! I rocked a skin with skulls all over it once I unlocked it. You can customize the scope and clip size with every gun in the game. It’s not as deep as other games but it was nice to see that level of customization here. You can also create bullets and you get access to explosive bullets late in the game and those are sweet! If you don’t have the materials to create them you can also buy them which is nice.
The game is open world and I’m not sure it needed to be. Every mission takes place in an isolated area and when you get done with the mission it’s just over even if you alert the entire place all you have to is get out of the area and they immediately lose you. After every mission I just fast traveled back to my hideout to get the new mission and kept moving. The game does have side missions and points of interest but once I got the trophy for doing 20 of them I kind of stopped. Not because they’re bad or anything but they’re just the same thing over and over and I didn’t feel the need to do anymore cause my experience and equipment always seemed fine. I did like the Most Wanted side missions though. You have a few people on a most wanted list to kill on each map and killing them was fun. You’ll actually kill a few of them during main story missions if you want. It’s pretty basic but I enjoy stuff like that. You do have a Batman style vision where you can see tracks and you can follow them to rescue prisoners or find materials, and there’s also some collectables in the game as well. The collectables are marked on the map so I’ll give them props for that as someone who likes getting trophies! I can just mark them on the map and go get them. You can get around the open world by fast travel spots or driving. The driving is similar to the driving in Far Cry but not quite as tight. I mainly used fast travel once I opened them up.
There are two things that show that maybe the open world wasn’t the right choice: One is the glitches and open world jank is pretty real here. I’ve had a ton of clipping when doing a stealth kill and when I grab a dude his body disappears. One time I did a stealth kill and went through a wall and ended up in a different room, so that was first for me in a game. The game also crashed twice on me during the final few missions. The second reason is the load times. Bloodborne before the patch didn’t have load times like this game does. Granted it only has extremely long loads when booting the game up from the main menu and going to new areas but still. I clocked one at just over four minutes and thats entirely too long for a 2017 release. I did play this on a PS4 Pro cause I’ve seen some streams and it took them around five minutes on a standard PS4. The game is good looking but not great looking. The details on the guns are sharp but some of the enemies look like PS3 graphics. It looks more like an early PS4 game rather than one that takes advantage of the power of current gen systems.
I overall had a good time with this game because of the gameplay but I can’t recommend getting this at full price. When it’s on sale for around $30 then it’s definitely worth checking out if you like sniper games cause it’s a solid one of those. If you go into this wanting a vast open world with a great story then you’ll be disappointed but if you go in wanting some excellent sniping gameplay then you’ll have fun.
- Gun Customization
- Most Wanted Side Missions
- Bland Open World
- Load Times