By Madeline Ricchiuto
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 from CI Games is an FPS that takes realism to an almost absurd level. Your character does not level up. You do not have a health bar. You have to adjust your sniper scope to the wind speed, humidity, and distance of your target, which gives you a guideline of where to aim, but doesn't aim for you. You have multiple sniping positions from completely unsupported to lying down flat on the ground, which affect your accuracy so body awareness is key. You can handle your missions any way you want, and will only fail if the alarm gets raised before you kill your target. And failure does not mean you start over, oh no, you have to move on to another opportunity to kill your target.
Rather than give you arbitrary difficulty settings, you're given different opportunities to carry out your missions which allows you to go for varying levels of challenge, all at your own determination. If you really want to try and stab a man to death while guarded by at least two armed soldiers at all times, you can certainly do that. There's an opportunity for that, just as there is an opportunity to shoot that same man from over a hundred yards away, and several others in between with their own tradeoffs.
Realism is absolutely the key to this game, and if you want to complete your objectives with as little fuss as possible, you want to be very stealthy about how you approach Sniper 3. Often times it is easier to kill enemy agents with your knife so as to stay hidden than it is to actually use your sniper rifle. "Scout mode," a sort of heightened senses/night vision view, is certainly an advantage on staying away from land-mines and out of the range of enemy fire. You can also use the terrain to your advantage, because your incredible scout-sniper is also a master of parkour.
The game features dynamic weather patterns and a day-night cycle, which go into that whole realism thing. Sniper 3 is not a run-and-gun FPS, it is very much a tactical game and thats what makes it such a joy to play. While the game doesn't have a leveling system for your character, you do have a skill tree which is determined by repetition. If you use knife kills a lot, your character will get more accurate with them. You can control your breathing to steady your aim for accurate headshots.
This game demo was probably the most fun I have ever had playing a first person shooter. Even if the demo doesn't allow for look inversion (my brain is backward, I admit it) and I died horrifically early in the demo, I enjoyed the absolute immersion this game creates with its hyperrealistic details.
In terms of specifics, Sniper 3 will be available on Next Gen consoles as well as PC, is powered by Cryengine3, and features an enemy AI that reacts in real time.
The only downside is the somewhat clunky, Watch_Dogs style hacking mechanic, but I can get over that for everything else this game represents.