The original Sniper: Ghost Warrior sold over 2 million copies. It also was received with mixed reactions by the review community; with Metacritic scores ranging from 45% to 55%, nobody can call it a technical success. But Sniper still rests dearly in the hearts of many gamers, providing them with a slower, more steady approach to warfare shooters than the likes of Call of Duty or the Battlefield franchise. This summer City Interactive will be providing “One Shot, One Kill” junkies with the follow-up title: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. While at E3 I got the chance to do some hands-on time and try out the redefined feel City Interactive is bringing to the franchise.
The act of sniping itself was heavily refined and focused in Sniper 2The game requires you to factor in wind and distance from your target while making your shot, a practice familiar to sniper-style games. As I aimed down the sight a small red dot indicated how to adjust my shot to make the perfect kill; veterans have the option of turning the assistance off. As for me, I had enough trouble trying to make shots even with the assistance on…I’m an RPG player myself. Still, the game rewards perfect shots with a slow-motion killcam, and I did get to see two or three shots make their way to perfection. Long-distance shots have a delay between when the shot is fired and when it reaches its target, and shots could be taken through thin walls to take down enemies in cover. The mechanics felt familiar compared to other first-person shooters, but definitely carried a slower pacing that make the game feel different than a Call of Duty or Battlefield.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 plays up the strengths of the original game while addressing the complaints issued by gamers about the last one. I talked to Matt Schlosberg, Vice President of the Highwater Group about the game and he was very optimistic. “We really listened to gamers and what they had to say about the last game,” he said. “They said that they didn’t like the run-and-gun levels, didn’t understand why they were in the game, so we took out assault missions.” I could feel the stealth focus as my spotter and I crept through a small base of rebels in a train depot, crawling underneath train-cars and otherwise avoiding any up-close combat we could. Eventually we ended up at the top of a water tower and set up for action; approximately 15 marked targets which needed to be silenced. I, however, missed the first shot and alerted the entire group to my presence…that situation ended poorly.
Other voiced problems were also taken care of in the new game. Many complained about the AI in the last game, complaining that enemies seemed to hear you move from miles away, firing one shot off from a pistol and ending your life. The AI’s definitely been tweaked in Sniper 2; missed shots that flew into trees weren’t as likely to alert surrounding people as shots that broke glass or flew inches in front of a target’s face. Even so, there were a couple stray bullets that I would have sworn would alert the guards that got no response; my hope is that it was just due to my easy difficulty. Some also voiced concerns about the lack of scope in the last game because it all took place in the jungle. This will be resolved in the new game as Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 takes you through multiple environments ranging from familiar jungles to urban landscapes. The game was created with CryEngine 3, and though I wasn’t playing a final build, the graphics still looked great. Fans of the last game ought to be very pleased with its sequel.
Overall, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 felt like a step in the right direction for the franchise. Grab a copy when releases on August 21st 2012 for 360, PS3, and PC.