Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 preview
Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 might be a weapon-packing military shooter, but far from the gung-ho action stylings of the Call of Dutys of this world, it directs the action from the eyes of a sole sniper. Stealth is the name of the game, in what is already shaping up to be a most immersive shooter. Ahead of its 15th January 2013 release Stephen Ebert had an early play.
The Sniper series isn’t quite the household name of its more headline-hogging military peers, but if a 20-minute spell with the game is anything to go by, Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 deserves to be.
As the story goes, a batch of deadly weapons are making their way into the wrong hands. Playing as super sniper Captain Cody Anderson AKA the ‘Sandman’, it’s down to players to intercept the deathly weapons at all costs, setting the scene for stealth gameplay set in a variety of locations from the leafy rainforest of Borneo to war-torn Sarajevo, and even the Himalayas. Crytek’s jawdropping CryEngine3 – the same engine used to transform Crysis 2 into one of 2011’s most visually impressive shooters has been employed once again to add sheen and shine to the jungles settings, and more tactile-looking textures to the crumbling city structures.
Each setting (and there are many) comes with its own set of challenges, used to both the players and enemies advantage. From taking cover behind broken walls, to using the dense foliage of a jungle to mask your cover – the stealthy gameplay alone is as satisfying as that moment when you finally pull that trigger.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 feels like an espionage game first, and a shooter, second. Developer City Interactive has worked up a delicious blend between the extremes of action and stealth that on early evidence, is sure to keep players trodding softly on their toes come October.
Armed with just a handgun and a sniper rifle, players explore levels, taking out enemies without so much as alerting them. A radar in the bottom left of the screen displays their whereabouts and alert status.
Grab their attention, and said radar goes all crimson, resulting in a blaze of enemies on your trail, and a hasty need to resort to handgun tactics. Good luck surviving that. It can be done, but it’s stealth where Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 really shines, as you move slowly through rubble, slip through foliage, and wade silently through lakes to size up enemy targets with military precision, making sure the path is clear, before sizing up the target, pressing a button to hold your breath to steady your shot, and then finally squeeze the trigger.
Perfect hits initiate gory slow motion cinematic sequences letting you know just what a sharpshooter you are, increasing sniper satisfaction ten-fold. Long range sniper battles are another highlight, requiring precision aim, speed and skill. It’s like a game of peekaboo – with guns – as you try to not be the first to take a bullet in the dome, in an unflinching test of nerves and patience.
In a time of endless samey first person machine gun shooters, it’s this part of Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 that really helps make it stand out – that blend of action, not too much, mixed with elements of stealth – that help rid it of any Call of Duty carbon copy pretensions.
From what we’ve seen, Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 is much more than that. It’s a slower breed of military shooter, and a welcome change of pace for PS3, PC and Xbox 360 players when it goes on sale on 15th January 2013.