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Digital Extremes
City Interactive
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Release Date:
March 12, 2013

I like it when sequels go in the right direction. I really do. It’s encouraging and shows that if the developers just take the next step (or couple of steps), they could produce a must-have game that is highly satisfying for a great many. The first Sniper: Ghost Warrior really didn’t cut the mustard, which is why I went into my review of the follow-up effort with some trepidation. However, although City Interactive is still a ways from producing the requisite level of quality to be competitive, Ghost Warrior 2 does indeed represent a positive upswing.

The graphics won’t blow your hair back but again, we’re talking about a definite improvement. There’s some decent detail in your surroundings and the animations are solid. One also enjoys a pretty effective and well designed atmosphere so in reality, there’s a lot to like about this presentation. It just needs that next level of polish and refinement to be classified in a higher sphere of graphical accomplishment, which is very doable with the CryEngine 3. The special effects are passable without being particularly impressive and there aren’t too many visual miscues. In short, the game is technically far more proficient than it’s predecessor.

The sound is even a little better, as the adventure features surprisingly good voice performances along with a nicely orchestrated and implemented score. There are a lot of great ambient effects, too, as the diverse environments are often full of realistic background audio that enhances immersion. Again, though, all of these positive elements simply need to be brought out more. If the soundtrack can play a slightly larger role, if the high-impact sound effects could assault our speakers with a bit more vigor, and if all the voice acting could be categorized as excellent, we’d have superior audio. Perhaps the next time around, we can expect just that.

In addition to the quality increase found in the technical aspects, City Interactive did address several of the crippling issues that made the first Ghost Warrior nigh-on unplayable. Extreme difficulty, terrible AI, and some wonky physics contributed to the eventual downfall of the initial effort, but the developers are giving it another go. And as such, they’ve drastically improved the AI, made the physics vastly more accurate, and dropped that prohibitive difficulty by a few notches. Unfortunately, there are just too many lingering problems and an overriding feeling of repetition and uninspired action that ultimately detracts from the experience.

You step into the highly capable boots of Cole, a sniper who is tasked with assisting various assault teams in hot zones. Your missions will take you everywhere from the Philippines to Nepal and the story offers plenty of interesting twists and turns, which are pleasant oddities in any shooter. The plot jumps around a little too much and in truth, there’s not much in the way of character development, but the dialogue is fairly solid and there are several intriguing events. It’s mostly well done and the more impressive parts have a distinct Hollywood vibe. So in terms of atmosphere, you probably won’t be disappointed.

For the record, I’m no special ops sniper and in fact, I have absolutely no military training whatsoever. Therefore, I can’t quite tell if the more accessible gameplay is a result of better development, or if they simply made things less realistic for the sake of accessibility. I do remember many eccentricities in the first game that didn’t seem authentic, such as even slight breezes pushing my bullets way off target. This time, everything feels less drastic, less pronounced; i.e., smoother and more reliable in terms of control. Realistically, I’d have to say it does excel but I’m willing to bet that a real sniper might see it differently.