The beta for CI Games’ Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 - the series’ first entry to boast “AAA production values” - goes live exclusively on Steam today. Having had an early look at the build, we’re left impressed by what could be the sleeper hit of the year.
Note: The game is now scheduled to launch on 4 April.
The beta’s first mission, Blackout, reminded us of Call of Duty 4’s iconic All Ghillied Up as we crept and clambered our way through a decaying apartment block. The tight corridors and small rooms weren’t by any means ideal stomping grounds, so utilising Scout Mode for careful traversal was a necessity. While it’s a similar mechanic to Batman’s Detective Vision, it isn’t quite the same solve-all, offering only hints as to unmarked enemy locations by visualising sound cues. After reaching our perch upon the roof, we located and assassinated our high-priority target before zip-lining the hell outta dodge; a cleaner exfiltration than Price and MacMillan suffered, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Through a budget injection and some strong influences, CI Games look set to make Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 a realisation of the series’ strong potential.
Next up was Cut Off, in which you’re assigned the task of manually realigning three satellites so that allied forces can intercept Separatist communications. It’s much larger in scale and draws another favourable companion, this time to one of Metal Gear Solid V’s base infiltrations. You’ll interrogate enemies for valuable mission intel, namely patrol and item locations, before repositioning their bodies to cover your tracks. Certain environmental elements can be tampered with to distract your opposition, but due to the scale of the base and the timed nature of an impromptu objective it’s likely you’ll be spotted. In this case we elected to go loud and eliminate any immediate threats, before utilising hiding spots to wait for things to blow over.
Breaking out a secondary weapon isn’t all bad, as switching up tactics now and then helps in the levelling process. Specific acts fittingly fall under the Sniper, Ghost and Warrior skill trees, earning experience and eventually skill points that improve and unlock abilities to aid in each area, ensuring you can always play to your strengths.
A tangible level of challenge made both missions compelling, but outside of their structure the open-world draws another, less-favourable comparison. The available secondary tasks - points of interest, outpost and item caches - each mimic Far Cry’s busywork and in much the same vein could become tiresome in time. That said, it’s all optional content and the sandbox setting is both easy to traverse and more than justified in affording the player great choice of approach.
While we’ll reiterate the game is in beta - and properly, it’s still two months out - the current technical performance left a little to be desired. Our resting frame rate sat ~80, yet there were sporadic and baffling drops to ~20 during even mundane scenes. Some items couldn’t be interacted with; locked and loaded weapons would frequently appear to be out of ammo until switching them out and back in; on one occasion the perspective even got stuck in third-person, forcing us to reload with nought but movement now functional.
None of its issues significantly impact the overall experience, however, and they can only be ironed out between now and launch come 4 April. Through a budget injection and some strong influences, it appears the developers at CI Games have been afforded the opportunity to make Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 a realisation of the series’ potential. The beta certainly earned it a place on our radar, and we’d recommend you find space for it on yours.