Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Review
Kill or be killed.
I’ve only recently begun to appreciate the life of a good Sniper, with Sniper Elite V2 pulling me over to the dark side of shooters, so I was excited to get my hands on City Interactive’s Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 last week. I hadn’t played the original, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my new-found love for sniping had me more than ready to look down its scope.
The single player campaign puts you in the shoes of Captain Cole Anderson as he travels around the world, using his Sniper Rifle to provide backup for his team. There’s a story being told, but there’s not much to it and it’s really just there to give why you’re doing what you’re doing some substance. City Interactive’s focus was clearly on making the best sniping game they could, with a little bit of story sprinkled here and there for good measure. In the end, the lack of a deep story is the least of Ghost Warrior 2’s problems.
Throughout the campaign you will either follow your spotter through Modern Warfare inspired stop, hide, let them pass type missions, setup camp and provide back up to your team from high above the action or you’ll be on your own as you make your way to the next objective. The missions that have you providing backup for your team are the best ones in the game if you ask me. You have a nice clear view of the entire area and must eliminate targets to clear a path for your team to sneak in and complete their objective. The rest of the game just feels like I’ve played it a million times before. Go here, kill these guys, move to the next area, kill these guys, rinse and repeat. There’s nothing unique about it, until you’re setting up the .50 Cal to have your team’s back. The other part of the problem is that I’m not sure if an entire game of that would be fun, so I think City Interactive needs to find a better way to fill up the game between those missions.
At its core, Ghost Warrior 2 is a game with so much potential, but there are so many failures along the way that ruin what could have been a really cool game. The lack of a good story and underwhelming missions are part of the problem, but the biggest issue that Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 faces is the AI. When you’re following your spotter or providing backup for your team, the AI is generally pretty good, but it’s a completely different story when you’re on your own. Enemies have a mind of their own, and you can’t predict what they are going to do because of this. Sometimes they won’t notice when you silently take out their sniper in his tower, and other times they notice right away, run towards your location and kill you instantly.
There was a part where I had to clear out all of the enemies in two different areas and sometimes the second set of enemies wouldn’t notice me killing the first set and sometimes they would come to their rescue and just overrun me. I would sneak up and kill the first guy with a knife and sometimes the guy on other side of the building would hear it and rush me, and other times he would just stand there like nothing happened. There’s no way he could ever see me kill the first guy, so there is something, somewhere causing the AI to not work properly, which really ruins a large part of the game. There’s also little things that bugged me, like how long it takes to reload your Rifle and the fact that you don’t have any cool gadgets or equipment, aside from Binoculars, like in Sniper Elite V2, but those may not bother everyone.
The name of the game is sniping, and it’s one thing that City Interactive nailed. The motion sense trigger system affects your accuracy based on how hard you squeeze the trigger and your heart rate affects how steady you are. If you just ran up a long path, you’ll have to wait until your heart rate returns to normal before you can get a steady shot off. Both of these systems help add a little realism to the game and make you feel like a real sniper. You can’t just run in, go prone and start firing off shots like a madman and expect to kill anyone. If you want to stay undetected, you’ll have to relax your body, take the time to line up your shot and pull the trigger properly. Sniper Elite V2 didn’t focus on these aspects of being a sniper and it was nice to see something different in Ghost Warrior 2. Unless you play on the highest difficulty, you won’t have to adjust your shot based on wind or distance, which makes longer shots a little too easy, but it’s insanely hard to get a good shot when playing on Hard, so there isn’t much of a balance for those.
Outside of the campaign, the only other single player mode is the Shooting Range, where you can practice your sniping skills, but there is only one range and there isn’t a whole lot to do there. If you really feel like you need more practice, just keep playing the campaign, you’ll get better eventually. There are collectibles to find during each mission, but unless you are trying to get all of the Achievements/Trophies, there’s no real reason to play the campaign again.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 does not feature any cooperative modes, but does feature one competitive multiplayer mode: Team Deathmatch. It can only be played on two maps, either in a private or public match, and doesn’t bring a whole lot to the game. There’s nothing special added to the game when playing multiplayer, with no progression or ranking system, and things like your binoculars are actually taken away. I had more fun trying to get across the map and sneak up on the other team with my Pistol than I did trying to snipe them.
One multiplayer mode isn’t going to keep people around and City Interactive would have been better off spending that time on something else. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is one of those games that would benefit more from having some sort of co-op, rather than the tacked-on multiplayer that’s there now. Sniper Elite V2 proved that you can do some interesting things with snipers in multiplayer and that sniping is better with friends. City Interactive failed at both of those in Ghost Warrior 2.
City Interactive have done a great job with the core sniping mechanics, but until they improve the AI, create a more interesting story and more original missions, Sniper: Ghost Warrior will never reach the status of being a great series. Ghost Warrior 2 isn’t very long, with limited replay value and I don’t see many people wanting to stick around for the barebones multiplayer. If you were excited for Ghost Warrior 2 and have to check it out for yourself, I would recommend renting it if you can. If not, you’ll probably be back next week to trade it in.
Price: $59.99 on Consoles, $29.99 on PC
Available On: Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC via Steam