Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 – E3 Preview
Given that Sniper: Ghost Warrior sold over two million copies, it’s no surprise that a sequel is on the cards. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is that imaginatively titled follow up, and during E3 I got to play through a mission from the new game. Utilising the now seemingly-ubiquitous CryENGINE 3, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 continues the franchise nicely and secures, once more, their niche as the only multi-platform FPS modern shooter that is exclusively designed around the sniper experience. An ingenious idea, given how many people in FPS games opt for long range killing over the up close and personal style that is prevalent in the single player campaigns of almost every other title.
The mission presented in the demo was to liaise with a CIA operative close to Sarajevo and obtain photographic evidence of war crimes being committed by the bad guy. That may sound a little tame for such a soldier, but the gameplay quickly had me taking aim at some unsuspecting enemy grunts and taking them down from afar in true sniper style.
It was at this point that the game gave me a minor surprise, when my carefully lined up shot obviously became a one-shot, one-kill headshot and I was presented with a bullet time cut scene that followed my subsonic round through the air and into the skull of the target. It was quite a thrill to realise that I’d performed a perfect kill in my first few minutes of playing in the Sniper franchise. OK so that perfect killshot was aided and abetted by the clever little red circle in your sights that indicates where to aim in order to hit your target, given the distance, wind speed, and other contributory factors that these supremely-talented death dealers have to take into account. Apparently you can turn this aid off in the game settings to give you the full-on sniper experience, but for my run through of the demo I kept it on. I’m not the greatest gamer when it comes to lining up shots, so any help on a first playthrough is very much appreciated.
Visually the game looks great, and the landscapes are very much a part of the experience. After taking out the two enemies that were trying to service a tank we (my in-game AI spotter and I) had to traverse the area, ducking in and out of cover, commando-crawling through foliage and proceeding down the hillside into what looked like a supply depot. Along the way my compadre sneaks up on a sentry and despatches him silently and ruthlessly while I keep lookout.
Some have inferred that Sniper: Ghost Warrior and, therefore, number two kind of lead you by the hand when utilising the spotter, but in the real sniper’s world his spotter is his constant companion, providing key information on the chosen targets and both where they are and how far away that is, plus any other factors that need taking into consideration. He also is your eyes and ears while you concentrate on taking your shots and watches your back, just as you watch his as he leads you into the best positions available for attack and defence.
The next section of our journey took us through the fringes of the supply depot, sneaking past enemy guards and hiding in shadows until the coast was clear. At one point we even had to commando-crawl under a train as vehicles and guards passed us by out in the daylight. Our destination was to be a water tower, a nicely-elevated position in which to continue our mission.
Once we had settled into our observation point, the spotter began to call out targets. The aim being to take these fools down with the minimum of fuss and without alerting the area to our presence. Here is where all hell broke loose and I got a flavour of the faster-paced action and excitement of trying to shoot enemies who were aware of your presence and were firing back at you. It’s much harder to focus and aim when bullets are flying, and guards and guard dogs are combing the area searching for your temporary nest.
After clearing the area of these enemies, my demo came to an end and I was left feeling like I want to play more. The game is due for release on August 21 this year though, so it’s not a long wait, and while I may not get a copy on release day, I am looking forward to picking one up just as soon as I can afford to. It’s great having your eyes opened to a new (to me) game style and franchise in such fine fashion. It’s one of the things that makes these events so very worthwhile.
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