While previous installments in the Sniper Ghost Warrior franchise didn't give people much hope that the third time would be the charm, there were a few reasons to be optimistic. The budget was increased, the setting was expanded and an open-world feature might be exactly what it needed. And while that's all true, that doesn't negate what is quickly turning into a disastrous launch for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3.
The first thing you'll notice is load times. It's been commonly reported that the game has five-minute loading screens, which seems about the average I can report, as I've had loading screens anywhere from 3.5 to 6 minutes each (my longest was 6:10). It's not a fun experience, no matter what sort of jazzy tune they want to play over it. These are the loading screens in between each level. In-game loading times are more reasonable and never take longer than one minute.
That being said, the theme here is a lack of response from CI Games about this and other issues. Over on Sniper Ghost Warrior's Twitter page, they're retweeting people who are streaming or thumping for the game, the latest blog post on their official website is "Top 10 Things to Know About Sniper Ghost Warrior 3," and the Steam page has no other updates. We have reached out to CI Games to see if any fix is on the way, and we will update this story upon receiving a response.
Prepare to stare at this screen for a while.
The only official response about load times I found was a Steam post about in-game load times. It ended saying "Ultimately we feel like this inconvenience is rewarded with a comfortable experience once the game is loaded." Though, as you can imagine, this serves as little consolation for people forced to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for the game to load.
And load times aren't the only issue affecting Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, other bugs have been reported, such as missing enemy character models resulting in floating weapons bouncing around, and a bug reported by Eurogamer where enemies beyond 250 meters would disappear and reload (which is weird for a game about sniping).
And then there's perhaps the biggest issue: the lack of multiplayer. CI Games announced just today that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 would launch without multiplayer, and that would be patched in later. There's no other way to put it: the developers waited until the last possible moment to tell its consumers that the game wouldn't have a feature it advertised, at least not immediately. If they'd waited any longer, we would have figured it out.
To their credit, CI Games did respond further to this, telling Eurogamer that they will be including this feature later and that they didn't want to "dilute […] single player experience."
Our review for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 will be up later this week.