The Sniper Ghost Warrior series isn't exactly known for being a quality franchise. Our review of 2010's original received a terrible 2/10 (reads like an Avoid), while its sequel just managed to scrape a 6/10, with Eurogamer contributor Simon Parkin labelling it 'a game of limited worth'.
That's why I was more than pleasantly surprised when I sat down to play Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and found it to be a highly polished and genuinely exciting experience.
CI Games has gone fully open-world for its latest installment and this brings a sense of freedom that was severely lacking in the previous titles. I found surveying mission areas and planning my approach from afar to be immensely satisfying. Using a handy, pocket-sized drone to spot and mark potential targets and prime sniping positions, I was able to maneuver myself through occupied zones and take down enemies one by one whilst remaining relatively undetected.
This gave me a sense of immersion that you really don't get in linear first-person shooters. As I lay atop a flat, rocky outcrop adjusting my scope for bullet drop and windspeed before holding my breath and taking a shot, I felt quite powerful - like I was truly owning my environment. Basically the game had me thinking and feeling like an actual sniper might, and this made every confirmed kill quite thrilling.
The game does however borrow shamelessly from Ubisoft's Far Cry series, which in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're tired of open-worlds littered with outposts to liberate and towers to climb, you may feel less enthusiastic about the whole experience.
Anyway, you can watch my full 36 minute hands-on with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 in the video above, in which I play through three full missions, each with their own distinctive objectives. Keep an eye out for the second one though, which was my favourite. In that, I pass by a compound full of hostile soldiers, make my way up a ruined tower block, and snipe a target in the building opposite before making a James Bond style escape down a zip line - all without being spotted once. Enjoy!