November 23, 2019
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts features big levels, complicated shooting mechanics, and plenty of difficult missions you can do to upgrade your character. While it won’t compete with AAA titles, it’s a great way to scratch your sniping itch on a budget.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is all about shooting people from a distance. In the game, you play as a mercenary working with Serbian rebels in a complex international engagement. Your goal is to infiltrate one of five different maps and use your skill as a marksman and your futuristic equipment to fulfill a number of objectives. While most of these involve using a sniper rifle to kill people from far away, a handful require interrogating enemies, retrieving items, or killing people in very narrow windows of time. This means that your approach to each level will vary dramatically.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is not a high-budget game. In fact, it’s very much the opposite. While it seems to have a modern graphics engine in screenshots, actually playing the game is a disappointing experience at times. The levels look empty, many of the textures are very plain and uninspired, and the game suffers from inconsistent performance on machines that should absolutely crush its performance requirements. Worse, you can’t really change the graphics in ways that make sense. The settings menu is very limited and forces you to change options in big bundles, meaning you can’t kill performance-heavy post-processing effects you don't like while preserving the ones you do.
Similarly, the sound and music are woefully inadequate when compared to high-budget modern games. The game has so few voice actors that enemies will often have radio conversations with themselves. This adds an almost Monty Python-esque layer of humor to an otherwise “grim” and “serious” game. The game’s set of audio samples sound okay on their own, but the game does a poor job of selecting the right one for the right situation. This means that you’ll often hear bullets fall on concrete when you’re nowhere near anything hard. When you couple this with a lackluster story and totally uninspired voice acting, it’s easy to lose focus.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts has a very futuristic UI and gives the player oodles of information via a computerized scope and a magic mask that displays a hud at all times. Your scope will display where your bullets will fall, enabling you to adjust for windage and bullet drop without trial and error. It’s a neat feature that makes the game more accessible.
Overall, Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is an interesting take on the stealth shooter. It’s definitely not a high-budget game, but if you find it on a sale it might be worth checking out. The lack of polish, frustrating difficulty, and poor optimization mean that it’ll require some patience on your part. On the other hand, the non-linear levels, interesting objectives, and character customization help it to stand out from other shooters.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is a genuinely difficult game, even on easy. There’s no shame in dying to an enemy the first time you play through a level. The trick is to ensure that you pay attention to where and how you died so that you can do better when you reload your save.
The core of Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is sniping. It’s a good idea to try to approach targets from a distance and shoot from cover as much as you can. This approach works for most objectives. Some will require fast movement, shooting from the open, or getting in close.
Remember that you can interrogate enemies for information. Getting close to an enemy undetected lets you hit a button to interrogate them and reveal clues about the level. This lets you see where nearby enemies are. Interrogating enemies is a common bonus objective, so be sure to experiment with the system so you can get your unlocks.
The missions themselves are odd. The game features five gigantic levels that hold all of the objectives and missions, and the sheer size of these levels and the fact that you can approach your targets in different ways makes the game somewhat unique. You’re also woefully underinformed about the challenges you encounter, meaning you’ll have to figure out which sections of the level are guarded by what as you play. This adds a very interesting layer of gameplay in which you encounter challenges, die, and then refine your approach until you can meet your objectives.
Adding to this factor, objectives vary. While you can play through most of the game by patiently shooting people from far away, upgrading your gear requires you to perform more difficult and nuanced tasks. These might involve pilfering MacGuffins from people you shoot, killing targets in narrow time windows, or interrogating enemies. All of these tasks force you to change up your gameplay. Interestingly, while the unlocks are powerful, they don't change the game as much as you’d think. You can still do great with the starting gun and no optional gear
In terms of difficulty, Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is annoyingly hard. The in-game difficulty settings don’t change this much. In most cases, you’ll die on hard in the same ways you’ll die on easy. On one hand, this means that the game presents challenging obstacles that you can adapt to and overcome as you work through a level. On the other hand, this means that you’re not given a fair chance to figure out these challenges before you die to them.
As far as sniping goes, Sniper: Ghost Warrior does a lot of the work for you on the UI. Watch the indicated bullet drop animation, account for the distance between you and your enemy, and position the crosshairs accordingly. You’ll want to shoot for the head as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to take a quick body shot when necessary, however, as you can always follow up with more hits later.
Are you a Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts fan? Which unlocks and upgrades did you find most influential? Which map was your favorite? What were the hardest parts of the game? Let us know in the comments below!
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