When Sniper: Ghost Warrior came out in 2010, City Interactive tried to do something truly unique: create intense, realistic combat while utilizing all the skills needed to kill enemies effectively from long distance. While the idea was sound in theory the execution left something to be desired, though the game did enough business to muster a sequel: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. The second game was originally slated for October but in an effort to assure quality for the title, is coming out in January 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The move can definitely be understood, as we’re sure City Interactive and the development team at Digital Extremes (the same team behind The Darkness II) want to avoid the pitfalls of the original. Better to get sniping right this time, yes?
The story of Ghost Warrior 2 takes place in a number of real-world locations. You’ll fight your way through a number of scenarios, like surviving war-torn Bosnia, destroying stuff in the Himalayas, stopping in the Antarctic and a Indonesian jungle where things really get tricky, as enemies can literally jump right out at you. You’ll also make a stop in Sarajevo, fighting off the Serbs and trying to retake certain occupation points. Think Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but with a focus more towards the combat rather than the spectacle of war. The Eiffel Tower may not be toppling over here, but you’ll still have plenty of situations to show your worth.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 gives you ample room to test out a number of firearms, including the effective Remington MSR, as well as the Accuracy International 50 and the Barrett Xm500 among others. You’ll get access to new weapons over the course of the game, and also learn what makes each one work the most effectively. Like a good sniper, you’ll also need to adjust various skills and environmental details into your shooting, such as the wind and the trajectory and rate of breath (yes, it makes a difference). Even being a slight inch off could make the difference between effectively taking out an enemy or alerting them to your position. Best get it right the first time, rookie.
The sequel will have a better emphasis on open-world combat, so you won’t have to stick to one linear path in order to get where you’re going. This will allow you to plan various strategies, then follow the one you think is right when it comes to invading enemy encampments and trying to figure out your next move. It’ll certainly be challenging, as the original game was, and some players might prefer the gung-ho style combat of Battlefield 3 over something this strategic. But if you’re a fan of the art of being a sniper, this will be right up your alley.
To assure that the game won’t look as muddy as the original, Digital Extremes is utilizing CryEngine 3 technology for Ghost Warrior 2. We’ve seen a little bit of the game in action and it’s quite startling, whether we were brushing through the leaves of the Indonesian jungle or working through wider terrain, all while quickly taking out someone with a bloody headshot. This was a decision made for the better, and has made Ghost Warrior 2 more of a contender than the original game ever could be. Thumbs up thus far.
The better you are at your sniper kills, the more rewards you’ll reap over the course of the mission. In addition to new tools, such as better night and thermal imaging goggles (to spot targets in a pitch black environment), you’ll also be able to see very cool Bullet Cam replays showing your bullet from when it was fired from your gun to its final impact on your unsuspecting target. This may have been in previous games, but it’s always satisfying to watch the results of your work.
The story should also provide some heft to the in-game combat, though we don’t know all the details about it just yet. We should know more about what the soldier of fortune you’re playing as is up to a little closer to the game’s final release early next year.
The original Sniper: Ghost Warrior isn’t quite the award-winner that City Interactive was hoping it would be, but it’s learned from its mistakes and is loading the sequel with plenty of impressive technology, a strong development team, and all the aspects that make being a sniper so difficult yet utterly rewarding. See if it locks and loads when it comes out in just a few months’ time.