There’s some real on the nose commentary about war in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2. Based in the made up Middle East nation of Kuamar, this game is all about toppling a dictatorship that has overstepped its mark. Is it because of decades of abuses against the people and major oppression? Of course not. You, the sniper codenamed Raven, have been sent in because they’re threatening a war that will send oil prices sky high. I doubt many people will pick this game up for any kind of political commentary, but either way, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is an entertaining game.
Kuamar is split into five different open world or semi-open world regions, each featuring its own objectives for you to tackle. As you can imagine, a lot of the objectives are to take out targets that control the financial and political clout of Kuamar, but there are other objectives such as providing overwatch to an escaping prisoner or taking out an oil field.
Before you travel to each region you will need to customise your loadout picking from different sniper rifles. Each rifle provides different benefits with some performing better at short range as others are required for the long range targets that are around a mile away. It is important that you go into the region with the correct rifle, otherwise you could end up trying to take out a target 1000 metres away, and not actually have the range or power to do so. Alongside the sniper rifle you can also pick your side weapon, such as an assault rifle or the Ram-bow, pistol, and equipment. This equipment includes a drone that can scan areas for you (and later be upgraded to shoot poison darts), a standalone rifle that can be used to hit targets simultaneously, and typical loadout fare of grenades and first aid kits.
Primarily, this is a sniper game and even with all of that gear you will more than likely be outgunned if running in guns blazing to take a base. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 plays best when you have patience and be stealthy where you can.
The regions vary between arid desert and mountainous environments with their own unique layouts and pathways. Which ever path you go down, you are likely to find something to do and enemies to take out. Of course, these could lead to the main objectives, but some maps also have bounties to hunt down, adding extra challenge to your missions. On top of that there are additional challenges for each level that you can undertakes such as taking out a target without raising the alarm or using a certain type of distraction. Some are pretty easy but some do require thinking and planning.
Each map has several ways to distract guards or complete objectives. An exposed fuse box could be shot to take power from something causing someone to go investigate, barrels may inexplicably explode taking out some other infrastructure, or cameras may suddenly stop working because you shot it. You want to take a moment to sit at your overwatch position and scanning the area with your binoculars, marking enemies as you work out the best approach and spot opportunities.
Planning ahead is especially important because the enemy soldiers will employ all sorts of tactics to take you down should they discover you. You can hear the radio chatter as they take cover should your presence become known. Lookouts will scout your position, enemy snipers will pick you out if you don’t get them first, and patrols will come hunting for you. Some patrols may come running and do a sweep of an area leaving you with a few choices such as hiding and hoping they pass, picking patrol members off one by one, or going for the big shootout. Other patrols may jump in an APC and drive to your location, using the mounted gun if they have one.
CI Games has made attempts to give enemies personalities and show that the people you are killing have lives. I was sat in some grass watching a patrol pass, and one of the soldiers was speaking how they enjoyed the job because they could walk around the forests and just think, or enjoy the outdoors. Another soldier was telling a fellow soldier about his cat, named Brandy, and how he ended up adopting her. Unfortunately, Brandy’s owner was in my path and ended up with a bullet through his head, with an exploded skull. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 does not shy away from the gore, with brain matter, blood, and bone flying in all directions. You can turn the gore off in settings if that’s too visceral.
The sniping experience itself is excellent. There are different settings to choose between, allowing you to have as much assistance as you need. If you want to go for the full immersive experience, you will be judging windspeed, distance, and bullet drop so you can hit the enemy. If you require a little help, then a helpful red dot will show you where a bullet will hit, turning a darker shade if you have a kill shot, though I did find that some did not actually get kills, and instead alerted the enemy squads. However, when you have scoped out an entire map and worked out your plan of attack and let the bullets fly there is a real sense of satisfaction. The dance of death plays out in front of you and you are the choreographer.
However, there are some issues with Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2. There were quite a few moments where Raven got stuck on the environment, and even a few moments where he seemed to be dragged back by it as well. It took some jiggling about to get out of these situations, but it was thankfully doable. Sometimes the game also spoon-feeds you solutions. Raven outright states that you should shoot a specific item or following a certain path. It kind of detracts from allowing the player to work out the environment and situation for themselves.