I’ll admit that I never paid much attention to the Sniper: Ghost Warrior series because I broke one of the basic rules of life: never judge a book by its cover. Since the cover of this book looked like military wank along the lines of Medal of Honor, I was quick to never pick up the series. Unfortunately, it looks like I’ve been missing out on some intense action, because the preview shown by CI Games for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 was fantastic, full of tense moments and a surprisingly tight story focus.
The demo shown began with a quick background explanation: you’re a soldier stuck behind enemy lines in Georgia as a new Cold War engulfs the world. As a sniper, it’s your job to gain allegiance with some of the warring factions and use their power against each other. You’ll also be taking out political and powerful targets, turning the tide of the war with each kill.
What’s immediately noticeable about Ghost Warrior 3 is the detail put into the open world, which can be traversed with what the team called extreme navigation. This gives you plenty of options for climbing around the terrain, which is made even easier through the use of scout mode, which highlights climbable surfaces as well as other points of interest.
Scout mode was used in the demo to locate footprints and track where they were headed, as well as give information about who made them. A path of prints led through a minefield, made by the one who laid the mines. Since scout mode made it easy to follow the footprints, it was easy to avoid the traps without blowing up the entire forest.
After returning to his hidden (and awesome) underground safe room, our sniper gears up to embark on a mission to kill a nefarious general in a nearby mining town. Luckily, the developer was playing the hands-on demo they were offering, so he was just as susceptible to death and failure as any other player was. It made the rest of the demo that much more harrowing.
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On the way to the kill, it was revealed that each shot had to be highly strategized, taking into account wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity levels and the distance of the target. As the devs said, they wanted to have a good mix of realism and fun, keeping the proceedings grounded in reality without sacrificing the fun of the game.
A flying drone is also available for scouting ahead, but just like the protagonist, it can be seen and can cause the enemy to raise an alarm if it alerts them. The sniper used this drone to sneak into a server bank and use the info there to hack security cameras and find the target without causing a scene.
Eventually, the sniper had made his way to a vantage point he unlocked by completing various missions that gave him an easy view of the general. Although the shot goes off without a hitch, the enemies were quick to respond, pinpointing the origin of the shot and taking the sniper out rather quickly. It’s amusing watching a dev die in their own demo, but it made for a much more realistic and respectable look at the title.
The devs also made it clear that there was no leveling up or XP points, with skills only improving through practice. The more you clear mines, the better you get at it, and so forth. In a time where almost every game has arbitrary skill trees and XP systems, it’ll be nice to take advantage of a naturalistic approach instead.
From what’s been shown of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, CI Games is finally going to be able to step up their game and give the series the AAA feel it deserves. While the complete title won’t be released until Q2 of 2016, the demo shown left a lasting impression that hints at a surprisingly quality experience. Even if you’ve never cared for the series before, this entry might be the one to finally catch your interest.