When I was handed a copy of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 to review, it was done at the behest of my esteemed DC colleagues. I couldn’t quite understand why at the time, but when the game was handed to me, all I could hear were hushed voices and muffled whispers, like they had just lit a fuse and stood back with fingers in ears, waiting for some sort of cataclysmic reaction. Surely these so called “friends’” wouldn’t purposely give me a horrid title to review? That’s just not cricket.
Well, spoiler alert, that’s exactly what happened. But the jokes on them because, while S:GW2 is bad, it’s not Hitler 1939 bad. It’s ridiculous, but it’s not Idi Amin ridiculous. And it’s a pain to play but it isn’t as rage inducing as Aliens: Colonial Marines. To put it simply, S:GW2 is just a poor example of modern gaming. Its storyline is formulaic. Shooting mechanics are uninspired. Characterisation is appalling. And voice acting is about as Beta as you can get. But it isn’t fundamentally broken or overly offensive.
The game casts you as Faceless Soldier #99. You’re an American (naturally) and the best your country’s got. But wait, some naughty Russians have stolen nuclear warheads and are planning to sell said warheads to some equally naughty Latin Americans .. and prom’s tomorrow! So you’re got to button up your little ghillie suit and get to work eliminating anyone with higher amounts of melanin than your average Southern State ‘Murican. Because this is the Land of the Free and that’s how we git er’ done!
Almost every level in S:GW2 follows the same basic structure. You front up in *insert random jungle location,* crawl through the wilderness towards your objective location, kill or sneak by anyone in your path and then either eliminate a high priority target or act as over-watch for *insert random military operation.* If you blow your cover, every enemy in a ten mile radius will come down on you and you’ll likely die, forcing you to restart. Rinse and repeat for about 5 hours. Good guys win. Bad guys lose. Bingo bango. Credits roll. America is great.
Sound like fun? Well wait! Don’t make your decision just yet because you haven’t heard all about the, wait for it, mechanics. The “hook’” in S:GW2, if you can call it that, is that the sniping is about as accurate as video games will allow. Your rifle isn’t a laser and can’t land miraculous, instantaneous shots. Things like wind speed and direction, distance from target, muzzle velocity and even heart rate need to be taken into consideration before pulling the trigger. Lining up that ideal kill can make certain situations quite tense but, unfortunately, any emotional connectivity or realism is severely dampened by the derpy AI.
Enemies seem completely oblivious to your monstrously loud, unsilenced sniper rifle and, if and when they do spot you or realise what’s going on, they’re incredibly slow to act. Nine times out of ten, I’d miss a shot, mostly because I’m too impatient to wait and adjust for things like wind direction, alert the guard I was aiming at and then laugh as he trots back and forth, presumably going “whaaaaaaaa!’” It kind of reminded me of that episode of the Simpsons in which Homer pretends to be Krusty for fame and recognition and the incompetent gangsters can’t quite take him out. “Should I shoot him gangland style or execution style?”
It also doesn’t help that your character inexplicably knows where every enemy is seconds after entering the level. Not only does every henchman have a glowing indicator on the minimap but they also have visual markers over their physical locations as well. If you get taken by surprise it’s your own fault. Upping the difficulty does increase the stakes a little, as enemies become a little more unforgiving, but the AI problems remain. So instead of facing inaccurate imbeciles, you’re up against sure shot ones. Thrilling.
- Reviewed On