I’m not a developer, but I’d imagine that making sure a game can be played from start to finish without breaking is a mandatory requirement.
At the time of writing, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has received three post-launch patches and so far the game has broken down on me four times. Despite the legwork to fix a seemingly insurmountable list of bugs, it still presents a bug-ridden experience that suffers severely from technical issues. What baffles me the most is that Ghost Warrior 3 has the framework of a great game and if it were only given a few more months in quality assurance, then perhaps its developer’s lofty ambitions would have been met.
Compared to the series’ first two entries, Ghost Warrior 3 steers clear of linear level design and moves to an open world environment. The in-game map is split into three sections and each one is filled with a set of main missions and optional side-quests. In spite of the game’s technical shortcomings its gameplay presents some of the best sniping action I’ve seen to date.
Its open-ended design allows you to approach objectives from multiple angles and before embarking on a mission you can choose the gear that best fits your chosen playstyle. This not only includes picking a a weapon, but also deciding which ammunition to take along as well. You can tinker with every bit of your equipment and each weapon / gadget (such as your drone, which is used for scouting) can be modified and upgraded extensively. It’s the emphasis on player choice that I enjoyed the most and I was always afforded the ability to experiment. There were many aspects of its design that reminded me of Ubisoft’s Far Cry series. The map’s use of near-identical icons stood out to me and the focus on exploration by car is also very similar.
Unfortunately, what struck me the most was its long-list of technical bugs and to give you an impression of what I encountered I’ll list the most regular issues in bullet-point form:
- Loading the game / loading to one of the map’s three segments took in excess of 4 minutes each time.
- Whilst in conversation with another character on the radio the audio of the person I was talking to would disappear (but still remain in subtitles) whilst my character read his lines alone. As a result I couldn’t understand what was going on in the story – not that it was very interesting to begin with.
- The game has broken down and frozen multiple times.
- When performing a melee takedown near scenery, I would regularly clip through the level.
- If you drive into the river you can’t get out of your car and your character can’t drown.
- Its lip-syncing is terrible.
When you combine all of this with the delay of its multiplayer component to a vague Q3 2017 release date, it’s hard to wonder why this game released at all.
What is the point in giving players and critics such a bad first impression when it damages the game’s reputation? Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 offers everything I want from a sniping game, but its shoddy presentation and lack of finesse destines this for the bargain bin.