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Hands-on With Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2
- Updated: July 12, 2012
The first Sniper: Ghost Warrior game sold by the bucket load, thus making a sequel inevitable. Before I got to play Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 at this year’s E3 Expo I decided to get in a bit of practice firing a real-life Dragunov sniper rifle. This experience left me wondering if any game could really replicate that mind-blowing experience.
Things did not start off well. The game’s plot sounds like something from the pen of ex-SAS soldier-turned-authors Andy McNab or Chris Ryan. Sarajevo is an urban battleground with an evil army Major called Vladic killing people all over the place. Some plucky, gung-ho soldier has to collect evidence of Vladic’s nastiness and take him down.
I played a sniper called Sergeant Anderson who unfortunately had the potty-mouthed Commander Maddox as his spotter, for at least the first mission. Amongst all the orders that marched their way out of Maddox’s pie hole were some truly god-awful ones like “we’re in a major shit sandwich.”
Seriously, who writes this stuff?
Like its predecessor, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 puts you into the world of an army sniper. This means lots of crawling about in bushes, general sneaking around, tracking targets and killing from afar. The demo was largely concerned with teaching me the ins and outs of stealthy sniping. Maddox not only pointed out all my targets but also told me exactly when to walk, crawl and how to wipe my arse. Ok, maybe not the last point but you get the idea.
At one point, we had to sneak past a big group of soldiers by crawling under a handily placed train carriage. Cue tension-filled pause as they marched aimlessly by.
When I looked down the scope of my sniper rifle I discovered this was no ordinary scope. On top of my bog-standard crosshair I had a meandering circle showing me where my bullet was likely to hit along with the current wind speed and distance to target. I could hold my breath for a short period by holding down the left joystick to steady my aim. This really helped my accuracy but, ultimately, it all came down to plonking the wobbly circle on the enemy’s head. Every time I did that and pulled the trigger it was bye, bye head. Splat!
The gameplay isn’t just shooting stuff from a distance. There is a bit of running around and quietly knifing enemies in buildings too. Thankfully, I had a handgun available when everything went a bit Pete Tong during one of my attempted “stealthy” kills. A few very loud shots later, everything had calmed down. People were dead and I crawled away to go shoot someone else in the head.
The game did become more intense and challenging as I attempted to kill 15-20 soldiers and even a dog without anyone noticing. Working in tandem with Maddox, after he identified my target(s), I tracked them for the perfect point to strike. Sometimes this was during their cigarette break away from their colleagues or when they wandered too close to a handily-placed group of exploding barrels.
The full game will feature missions set in the streets of Sarajevo, mountains of Tibet and jungles of Burma. The game is powered by CryENGINE 3 so it looks very pretty. However, the AI could do with being a bit more intelligent – less walking zombies and more threatening and sentient soldiers please.
My experience from firing the Dragunov sniper rifle made me realise how scary and powerful these guns are. It physically shook me every time I fired it and made one hell of a noise. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 has many of the ingredients for an intense, fun-filled sniper experience, but it’s missing the scares and tension. I wasn’t fearing for my life enough during the game. It was all too easy. Certainly, much better AI and more recoil on the gun would help.