Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is the sequel to the original Sniper: Ghost Warrior (Ed: Your observations are simply stunning in their accuracy.) and, while other FPS games tend to focus on fast action, teamwork, and hordes of enemies hell bent on filling you with so much lead that they could use you as a pencil, Sniper focuses on a single aspect of the FPS genre. Killing silently and efficiently. Preferably from a gooooood distance.
Normally, the realistic shooter genre requires you to have hair-trigger reflexes and the ability to shoot first, ask questions much much later. Very few of them require a crazy amount of patience. Welcome to the world of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, where itchy reflexes will more often than not end in your demise.
The basic storyline is this: you take the part of a sniper called Cole Anderson. At the start of the game, you’re deployed to the Philippines in search of an Al-Qaida operative who has been very naughty lately. The idea, of course, is to put him in the naughty corner—with a bullet. After that, things go wonky (this is no surprise, of course. Wonkiness is the only way that plot progresses) and Anderson meets an old enemy from his chequered past. The story is fairly generic and largely forgettable. If you want story, you’re better off playing a JRPG. Still, the characters and situations aren’t of the kind that leaves you wondering who’s been hammering on the fourth wall, and the immersion is fairly good. You feel the tension of the atmosphere when you’re in the thick of enemy territory.
What brings us to a game like Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is the whole sniping experience, and by the time you’re done with this game, you’re going to have had your fill. It’s fairly technical as far as video games go. You need to take a number of factors into consideration before taking your shot. Factors such as wind speed, gravity over distance, whether enemies can see each other as you’re dropping them, and even such things as your own heart rate and breathing. It’s a lot to take in initially, but you soon get used to the idea of compensating for all these things. What IS difficult to get used to is the idea of waiting, of holding fire until the moment is right. On the other hand, you can’t also hold your fire too long, or else you get noticed eventually.
In terms of graphics, the game seems to be lagging a little behind the curve of what’s currently out there. I played the Xbox360 version of the game, and even on this older console the environments look a little dated. It’s not terrible, mind, just a little less than what we’ve come to expect lately. Furthermore, for someone who is colour blind (like me), the palettes leave a bit to be desired. It’s an added level of difficulty that I imagine otherwise-normally sighted people don’t face. What I did enjoy, though, was the bullet-cam that kicks in every now and again, showing you some of your more impressive shots. It adds a level of “you see what I did there?” to the game.
If you’re going to be playing this game, I hope you enjoy replaying sections of game over and over again. The checkpoints in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 and few and far between, and if you’re the kind of person to make silly mistakes due to hastiness or impatience, you’re going to have a very long, hard lesson to learn.
For reasons I’m still unsure about, there’s a versus-mode multiplayer mode in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. It’s a bit of a strange one, too, since you’re all trying to outsnipe each other. It’s pretty much a game made for campers. You know, the player that everyone in every other FPS hates? Yep, there’s a game just for them now! I feel that what the game really needed was a co-op mode in the campaign, but I guess it’s pointless to weep for what was never going to be.
For all that it is, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is not a bad game, and I found myself enjoying the campaign mode far more than I thought I would. If ever there was a game that was going to teach you to be patient, this is it. The action is fun and rewarding, but with the campaign wrapping up in less than 10 to 12 hours, it’s not going to be very long lived. Still, if you enjoy stealth-based games, you could do worse than give this one a go.
Final Score: 7 “Boom! Headshot!” prawns out 10
Developer: City Interactive
Publisher: City Interactive
Distributor: Apex Interactive
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 (Reviewed), Steam
Age Rating: 18