There are few things in video games as exhilarating as pulling off an impossibly long shot with a sniper rifle, and Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, as the title would suggest, doles out shots of those endorphins in heaps. For the most part anyway.
Somewhere in a fictional country
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is a first-person stealth tactical game with a semi-open world structure. You play as an operator codenamed Raven, who is tasked with taking out some unwanted elements in a fictional Eastern country, that threaten political stability in the region and world economics. Or something like that. The plot isn’t really that important and is the typical sort of story you will expect with the “tactical stealth” genre. The important thing here is that Raven is sent in to do the dirty work and is given a lot of cool toys to get the job done.
The game is split up between five missions, three of which is basically you getting to a vantage point and taking out your targets from over a kilometre away. These missions are fun and have a surprising level of variety to them as you sometimes have to lure a target out of a building or get them to stand still long enough for you to pull off the shot. Once you’re done in one spot, you can move on to the next, with some more close-range engagements in between to keep things interesting. These long-shot contracts aren’t very long though, but the game does encourage you to replay the missions again using different gear, weapons and tactics.
The other two missions are more about infiltration and encourage the use of shorter-range rifles and scopes. The maps here are also much larger with a lot more to do and explore. These missions also take a lot longer than the long-shot ones as you have to move a bit slower and sometimes get into a base or enemy stronghold to get the intel you’re after or take out a target. These missions feel a bit like a blend between the recent Hitman games and the Splinter Cell series. You have a few different options on how you want to eliminate your target, but you remain in the shadows.
In between missions, you can purchase new sniper rifles, pistols and gear as well as upgrade some of your tools and gadgets. This range from getting lures and traps to a sentry turret that can take out targets remotely. Specialised ammo is even available depending on the sniper rifle you have equipped.
While my overall experience with Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 was very enjoyable, it certainly has a few flaws. For a start, the game feels a bit short, especially if you’re going to play through it once and move on, but on the other hand, replayability is encouraged through upgrades and different challenges. Another issue is that the maps all look and feel the same. Sure the levels are different, but with the exception of one map, all of them are essentially arid desert-like terrains. Don’t get me wrong though, the game looks fantastic, but it did start to feel a bit repetitive after a while.
The gameplay is very good, but I also had a few issues where I would get stuck in the environment while trying to crawl through the undergrowth, and once or twice I was thrown right back into a firefight when I got detected and killed. Reloading a previous save would fix this, but it was annoying.
Pulling off the long-shot
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 gets a lot of things right. The gameplay is fun and killing your target is satisfying, whether it is taking out two enemies quickly before they can raise an alarm, shoving a blade between a poor guard’s ribs or popping somebody’s head off from over a kilometre away, it all is a ton of fun. The game also gives some options to make it as enjoyable and challenging as possible, meaning there are options here for everyone who might be keen to check it out.
It certainly isn’t perfect, but Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contract 2 does manage to pull the long shot off. It looks very pretty, the gameplay is solid even if it is a bit short for just one playthrough, but the overall package is solid and worth having a look at.