Control your breathing, compensate for wind resistance, line up the target, and take your time… it’s Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2.
In popular first-person shooters such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and Rainbow Six Siege, sniping is one of the most popular loadouts, but it’s never been as realistic or punishing as this. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 isn’t like any other shooter that you’ve played before (well, except perhaps for Sniper Ghost Warriors Contracts 1). If you’re expecting an arcade sniping game like the Sniper Elite series then think again.
The story premise for Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is pretty simple, and a bit similar to that of the Hitman series too. You need to take out your assigned targets or destroy/sabotage equipment in a rather large sandbox, and that’s basically it. Between missions you can pick and choose your loadouts, special gadgets, throwable/disposable weapons and further upgrade a large variety of sniper rifles each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
The main question that you may have about Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is likely, “How is the sniping itself?” and, when it works, it’s gory and brutal. Just like the Sniper Elite series and the recent Battlefield games, you need to adjust your rifle/scope to compensate for wind resistance and distance. When playing on easier difficulty you see a red dot follow the bullet trajectory, but should you play on a more realistic setting, you get no assistance.
A variety of gadgets come in handy when scoping out an area. You have your standard binoculars as your most useful tool. When looking for your target, the game won’t tell you where they are, and you need to spot them yourself. You have automated sniping turrets, which can be used for taking out multiple targets at once. You’ve also got access to a small drone which works exactly like the drones from Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Should you sneak up behind a patrolling enemy, you can interrogate them, so they’ll reveal where all enemies are in the area. Just like in the previous series entry, your character also has access to a special face mask that can be used for heat vision, and can go into a high-tech grid format, which makes spotting enemies a bit easier.
When finding your target, it’s not simply about lining up your shot and taking out your target. Sure, you can do that, but you can also have a bit of fun with it. You can choose to use environmental hazards like hanging shipping containers, explosive devices and fuse boxes to alter the area and get any targets hiding inside to come out. You also have access to special ammo such as armour penetrating rounds, explosive rounds, gas arrows and more.
There’s a slow-motion mechanic where you follow the bullet and see it turn a head into an impression of a smashed watermelon. However, unlike Sniper Elite there is no x-ray mechanic. Another weapon that shines in a game based around being a sniper is the bow. Lining up shots and quietly clearing enemies like Hawkeye is fun. It would’ve been nice if they added the slow-motion effect for arrows though, as you can pull off some fantastic shots if you line it all up just right.
Outside of using a sniper (and bow), Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 has some issues. We found, on multiple occasions, that our sniper would fire a second round immediately after firing a first (despite the fact that we were using a bolt action rifle), which would then alert the guards and give away our position. Secondary weapons like shotguns, assault rifles and pistols feel clunky and out of place.
Even when playing on the easiest difficulty, enemies are super-accurate. It’s a bit head-scratching. When you get caught in close range encounters with enemies, swapping to your side arms takes too long and your character takes damage quickly, so if you get surrounded it’s basically game over. Heavy enemies can only be taken out using armour piercing rounds, and if you’ve got no heavy ammo available, it’s impossible to deal with them.
“There’s a slow-motion mechanic where you follow the bullet and see it turn a head into an impression of a smashed watermelon.”
There are also some levels that would fit perfectly into an espionage/spy game, but they aren’t very sniper friendly. In one mission, you go down into a missile silo, and it’s filled with tight corridors that make using a sniper rifle feel cramped and awkward. The movement speed is also quite slow. Going up a ladder can be frustrating, because coming down them is very slow, exposing you to more damage if you’re caught in a fight.
Overall, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 has decent sniping and bow mechanics, but anything outside of sniping is a challenge. If you’ve played the Sniper Elite series and want something more challenging and realistic then Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 might be for you.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC, with PS5 on its way at a later date.