XI
you are not logged in
Review

Review: Sniper: Ghost Warrior

Long-shot.

Sniping is considered one of the most engaging and enjoyable aspects of the modern first person shooter. If not the dedicated single player set pieces from blockbuster titles including Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, then the thousands of hours of Youtube “sniper kills” footage stands testament. By that logic surely creating a game which is dedicated to heart-pounding, mile-long headshots seems like a hands down winner for fans of those elements?

Sniper: Ghost Warrior follows Sergeant Tyler Wells and ground team Delta Force in a military operation to liberate the people of Isla Trueno, a fictional South American country now ruled by militant leader General Vasquez and his exploitative army. With the help of undercover agent Rodriguez you are able to lure the tyrant out of hiding, however the assassination attempt fails and Vasquez manages to flee into the jungle. It’s now up to Wells and his elite team of operatives to brave the open tropics to take down the dictator once and for all.


It's not all headshots and stealth sequences, at times you will have to use a pair of binoculars and direct your AI partner through hostile encampments.
Following a sharp, professional military theme, there is very little room for characterization in Ghost Warrior. Wells and the supporting cast have no sense of relation, stamping out any possibility of well-placed humour or player attachment towards them. However in saying that, given the nature of the game, a in-depth narrative would feel totally out of place and could even hinder the experience.

Ghost Warrior follows a semi-linear level design. Though there are pre-set objective networks, the open environments allow players to tackle most missions as they see fit. It may sound like a dream come true for gamepad-wielding sharpshooters but the level structure doesn’t always go hand in hand with some of Sniper’s half-baked mechanics, the stealth system being a lead culprit.

Being spotted by patrols will either alert a small cluster of surrounding enemies, or in some cases, it will trigger more widespread alarm often followed by certain death. If you don’t fancy trying you luck by gunning down each guard in a perfect sequence, you will simply have to sneak around. The actual cover mechanics work nicely; depending on whether you are standing, crouching, or prone will determine how quickly your alert guage will fill if an enemy is looking directly at you. However, if you sneak through the island’s luscious vegetation, the chances of being spotted are reduced to the extent that it’s noticeable.

Where the system falls apart is the enemy AI and on-screen alert prompts. If a body has been found or a nearby soldier has been struck down guards won’t act accordingly, either ignoring it entirely or sprinting around in a frenzy, snagging on rogue bits of terrain. In a few sections of the game I would diligently take down every enemy in sight; with no hostile icons on the HUD map, I’d sneak towards the objective only to be suddenly spotted by a stray guard who I could have never seen, followed by the familiar ringing of an alarm.

Thankfully the shooting is near enough spot on, with an added sense of realism. Distance, wind and bullet spin must all be taken into account when lining up a shot, sometimes forcing you to aim away from a target to actually hit it. For those who can’t quite handle all of that, playing with the easier difficulty settings will display a red dot which will indicate exactly where the bullet will go. Landing a perfect shot or “skill shot” will trigger Sniper’s bullet cam. This visual effect simply allows the player the follow the journey of a well-placed shot from barrel to target; it’s a fun inclusion and one which grants an additional level of satisfaction.

City Interactive certainly missed a trick with Ghost Warrior’s multiplayer component. Though the basics are present (multiple loadouts, lobbies, standard match-types) the game completely lacks any sort of rank system which has become a staple of the modern first person shooter. With a good 90% of matches being hosted in “unranked” lobbies, there is little incentive to progress. However, when you finally get into a match with a solid connection and two big teams you’ll be surprised how addictive the online play can get. Of course there will be camping, but when dropped into one of the game’s more balanced maps such as Ruins it makes for some great multiplayer action.


Chaining two kills together with a single shot usually warrants a "bullet cam" cinematic.
Employing the Chrome Engine 4, used to power Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and Nail’d, Ghost Warrior is far from being a bad-looking game. Though everything had a slight jaggedness, environments are vast in proportion with long draw distances and plenty of tropical landmarks. The frame-rate remains unhindered through the majority of the game, though there were a couple of times in which it would lock up almost entirely.

As far as bugs and glitches go there are a quite a few in Sniper: Ghost Warrior, though none of them happen to be game breakers. In a number of areas, Wells would easily snag on terrain if crouching or in prone, frustrating you as try to keep out of sight. On top of that a number of trophies in Ghost Warrior are in fact glitched, one of the inclusions being General, which requires beating the game on hard. It won’t ruin the experience for everyone but hiccups like these are rare and understandably infuriating.

Pros:

  • Vibrant, organic environments.
  • In-depth focus on shooting gameplay.
  • Unique and enjoyable online play, despite limitations.

Cons:

  • Poor enemy AI and guard/stealth mechanics.
  • Huge environments are somewhat of an illusion.
  • Online lacks any sort of experience/rank system.
  • Overall lack of polish in a number of areas.

Going into Sniper: Ghost Warrior with fairly low expectations, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Despite some of the heavy-handed mechanics and under-developed online portion there is still an enjoyable experience to be had. It’s an impressive console debut for the Polish developer, and with a bit of work, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, which will run using the CryEngine 3, could be one of 2012’s strongest FPS contenders.

Score: 6/10

21 Comments
  1. yogdog
    Member
    Since: Feb 2010

    Despite the low’ish score, I love me some FPS action so I’ll be getting this at some point down the line, just don’t have the money atm.
    I prefer to get up close and personal on most games with an SMG/Assault Rifle, but this type of sniping seems right up my street.
    Nice review! :)

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 13:12.
  2. aerobes
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    I liked the look of this back when it was on 360 only and when I see it going for little money, I’ll definitely give it a go. Should tide me over until Sniper Elite V2 surfaces.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 13:23.
    • moshi
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Think I saw it in Asda for £19.99

      Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 14:32.
      • aerobes
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        I’d probably buy it if I was staying here. I can’t find it for under 40 in Uncle Sam’s currency.

        Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 20:44.
  3. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    Been meaning to get this for ages, and by coinsidence, I could get it for 14 quid the other day. Would you saw that its worth it?
    Nice review btw too.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 13:25.
    • Crazy_Del
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Same here gazza but there’s too many games at the moment!
      Great review Jim

      Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 14:06.
    • Jim H [Teabags]
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      I think Ghost Recon debuted at a budget price (£20-£30,) which in my opinion is worth it if Sniper is your kind of thing.

      Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 19:12.
      • gazzagb
        Master of speling mitakse
        Since: Feb 2009

        Ghost Recon? You sure you were reviewing the right game? ;)
        Might order it tomorrow then, need to use the code I’ve got.

        Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 19:28.
  4. D-Nichol
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    I absolutely detest Snipers in the modern day shooter so a game based purely on Sniper sounds horrendous. I sacrifice my deaths to running the snipers day. My personal favorite on COD is to shoot a non-silenced gun next to a camping sniper on my team so enemies will find him.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 13:56.
    • Joe
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      That’s sad. It’s a viable class just like the others.

      And to all the real military snipers out there who frequent tsa, we still love you.

      Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 13:59.
      • D-Nichol
        Member
        Since: Dec 2008

        There is a slight difference between actual Snipers in a real war situation and playing a video game. The game is for fun and not moving (and in some cases not shooting) for an entire round is not my idea of fun. Each to their own I suppose. I like to think Im forcing them into a little bit of excitement

        Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 14:50.
      • C_S15
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        You get your excitement from watching people run around in a video game? I think you’re looking for the Olympics game.

        Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 15:09.
      • e8
        Member
        Since: Jul 2010

        “not moving (and in some cases not shooting) for an entire round”
        thats a sniper for you, sometimes not moving for days lol. gets ghille suit & sharpshooter out, mustn’t forget my rations.

        Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 23:40.
      • Joe
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        Yes I understand there is a difference, it was just a bit of a joke

        But seriously, if a game lets you do it, why can’t people camp? It is what real snipers do. For days on end in some cases

        Comment posted on 14/08/2011 at 01:57.
  5. threelions_66
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    It’s definitely worth picking up if you can get it “cheap”

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 14:28.
    • gaffers101
      Member
      Since: Oct 2008

      I’ll add it to my Lovefilm list.

      Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 22:30.
  6. FalconRedux
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Great review. I loved Sniper Elite and this is a reasonable game to tide you over while waiting for Sniper Elite 2 (as aerobes also said). I finished this on the 360 and found one achievement glitched on me, so it’s disappointing they didn’t fix these issues when porting to the PS3. I got it from HMV (in the UK) for £11.99 a couple of months ago and would recommend it to sniper fans at that price.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 14:32.
  7. moshi
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    I didnt even get past the 1st level it was that glitchy, twice I got stuck in a tree stump.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 14:35.
  8. Smallville2106
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been waiting for a decent price drop so I could give it a try but with everything that is coming out over the next few months I don’t think I’ll bother.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 15:02.
  9. e8
    Member
    Since: Jul 2010

    From the videos i’ve seen, looks too linear for what i would like in a sniper game. If it was done similar to farcrys’ scale i would’ve picked it up. The lack of achievement & ranking up in mp, is also a big turn off.

    Comment posted on 13/08/2011 at 23:29.
  10. SpikeyMikey23
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    If i can get this for below £8 at some point I will buy it. Just to have a mess about. Looks a bit action packed to mee

    Comment posted on 15/08/2011 at 10:42.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Latest Comments

TSA Meets

  • None today