When we think of the word “Sniper” in pretty much most generic First Person Shooters nowadays, one might be brought to the thought of the “MLG Pro” Call of Duty montages that seem to circulate the internet nowadays. Sniper: Ghost Warrior, released by Polish developer CI Games in 2010, now almost five years old, remains the epitome of a true sniper simulation.
The campaign mode has you play as three different characters, the “main” one of the bunch being Sergeant Tyler “Razor Six-Four” Wells, a covert ops sniper who is sent in to the fictional island of Isla Trueno, whose government has been taken down by rebel forces. It’s a nice change for the big US boot not to be up the Russian’s ass for once. Your first mission is an attempted assassination on the general of the rebel regime against the islands government; General Vasquez.
During the mission, your other generically named friend, Rodriguez, is captured and General Stereotypiquez manages to get away. The next few hours of the story is primarily spent on doing missions that will lead up to the eventual freeing and heroic rescuing of your ally, but also switches to the viewpoint of Private Cole Anderson and a rebel character serving under the regime. While this does offer a nice range of viewpoints and offers a sort of “Spec Ops: The Line” feel about seeing warfare from different perspectives, the main intention of this is purely to undermine the whole ‘sniper’ thing and pits you against set pieces of enemy NPC’s to gun down in classical corridor style gameplay. The same thing we’re use to in, oh, say, Call of Duty. Call me old fashioned, but if the game is entitled “Sniper: Ghost Warrior” and only 40% or so of it is spent on actually sniping and being stealthy, then what is the purpose of using it as your marketing tool?
Regardless of the satire storyline and contradictive characters, the game does actually manage to stand up on two legs pretty sturdily when it comes down to the gameplay. The sneaky-deaky is good in a sort of Farcry sort of way, in the sense that you can hide in bushes and stealthily take people out from afar with assortments of silenced weaponry, throwing knives and other conventional takedown methods.
However, comparing it to Farcry wouldn’t be right, because it all just still feels so linear. Granted, there are various ways to sneak through a base, but even then you’re still going down a straight path, because the paths are so littered with NPC’s and obstructions you’d swear it was just a case of trial and error until you found out which was the best route to take.
There’s no sense of tactical maneuverability, no scoping out the base from afar and going about it your own way, no base weakspots to exploit and use to your advantage. Just, hide in this bush; kill this guard, quickly run to the next one, rinse and repeat. No exploration. No imagination. Nothing. Even with the fancy stealth mechanics and cool shooty-bang-bang features, it still all just feels so ‘eh.’
In spite of this, for a game that came out in 2010, it still retains its graphical achievement. Sniper: Ghost Warrior is built off of Chrome Engine 4, which is a ridiculously nice looking engine to use, offering dynamic lighting and intricately detailed foliage and oh, it’s every level designers wet dream. (If you’re into that sort of stuff.) With a half decent soundtrack that compliments the variety of scenarios and situations you’re put against, if you’re into fancy setpieces and the like, this is probably the game for you. For anyone looking for a better and more varied and intriguing experience, I’d probably recommend anything else. For all it might shine, it’s definitely no gem.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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