Developed and published by CI Games, Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is the sixth entry in the Sniper: Ghost Warrior franchise. These games have always occupied a specific niche in the FPS market, with this latest entry continuing that same tradition.
And after getting past the extremely convoluted name, you can jump straight into the title and realize that it too is a mess of a game. A few redeeming qualities here and there don’t distract from what is otherwise an extremely mediocre experience.
Players take on the role of Raven, a highly skilled sniper who has been contracted to help take down the leadership of a fictional country in the Middle East.
The death of the previous monarch has caused some turmoil in the region, and you are now responsible for preventing war with a neighboring state and stopping the collapse of the global economy. It’s an extremely boring premise that offers little to no actual substance for you to actually engage with.
Creating fictional warlords for the protagonist to topple has long been a mainstay of the action genre, and it’s exactly as predictable here as you’d expect. There are no believable or well realized characters here, and what we get instead is a cast full of outdated clichés.
Do not go into this game expecting anything resembling a competent narrative, because you will not find it. However, I will fully acknowledge that the story is not what people play these game for. The main appeal is the combat, which is more or less what you’d expect it to be.
The combat of Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 does not deviate from the previous entry in the series in any major way. The core of it still involves sniping targets from a distance, while utilizing a variety of different gadgets to assist you in that endeavor.
At your disposal you have a selection of sniper rifles that vary slightly in their look, feel and damage capabilities. The first one that is unlocked by default is a fairly useful weapon, even if the range is pretty bad. But as you kill your assigned targets and gain more resource, better options can be unlocked in the equipment menu.
Regardless of your rifle of choice, sniping itself is a fairly tricky process that requires you to take factors such as distance, bullet drop and wind into account. Lining up the perfect shot can take up quite a bit of time, especially on the harder difficulties.
On easy or regular difficulty, a red dot in the scope shows you exactly where you bullet will hit it’s mark. It’s not as rewarding as figuring out the point of impact by yourself, but it gets the job done for most players nonetheless.
Once you do fire, there’s a chance that you’ll be rewarded with a brutal tracking shot that follows the trajectory of your bullet as it penetrates your target. These aren’t nearly as detailed or gruesome as some of the kills-cams in the Sniper Elite games, but they get the point across.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is great at creating scenarios where players have to creatively use their sniper rifle to kill a mark. It gives you a number of ways to accomplish your task, while still making you feel the heat of the moment.
For example, your first target in the entire game is constantly walking around a military base. You have to either kill him while he’s moving, or find a way to stop him in his tracks to line up the perfect shot.
If you choose to stop him, you can shoot out the control panel of the sprinkler system in the central building and cause water to leak everywhere. This forces the target to run inside to scavenge some important files, giving you the perfect opportunity to snipe him while he’s in position in front of a window.
You obviously don’t have to go about this assassination in the exact same way. You can choose to blow up an explosive barrel next to the target as he walks by it instead. Or you can shoot out the pulley system holding up a cargo container to crush him underneath. The method is completely up to you.
On top of regular rifle ammo, players also get access to a few different specialized rounds. Some of these like the explosive round, allow you to kill multiple enemies with a single shot. Others like the EMP round allow you to deactivate electronic devices or vehicles and create distractions. These are extremely fun to play with and creative use of them is key to taking out your targets effectively.
Players also have access to a selection of gadgets that come in handy in specific situations. The Flying Drone in particular is extremely useful, since it allows you to fly into a base and mark targets that might otherwise be obscured from your sight. You can even use it to knock out enemies from up close.
But this, alongside other tools such as explosives and the Turret, are not the main way to play the game. It is nice to have some options for non-traditional players, but the main way to play is still from long range.
For situations where you get caught, or don’t want to bring out your Sniper Rifle, secondary weapons and sidearms come into play. A small selection of SMGs, Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Silenced Pistols and even a Compound Bow allow you to take out enemies at close range if the situation call for it. But again, this is not the intended way to play the game. These are only meant to be used as backups most of the time.
Graphics And Performance
True to its heritage, Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is incredibly janky and unpolished. The game is lacking in so many aspects, that it’s hard to tell what, if any, improvements were made over its predecessor. Often times it feels more like an expansion than a proper sequel.
Animations for reloading weapons are decent, but other actions like climbing ledges or takedowns are so sparsely animated that sometimes I felt that the game was actually dropping frames when performing them.
Multiple times during my playthrough, I wound shoot an explosive item and I wouldn’t actually see the explosion. What I would get instead is a flash of the initial spark as the animation got stuck, after which the camera would pan out to reveal the blast zone with dead enemies. I cannot begin to tell you how unsatisfying this felt.
I don’t want the game to be as smooth as butter, or have animations on the level of the biggest AAA releases, but I don’t want it to feel so dated either.
Speaking of dated, the game is downright ugly at times on the Xbox One. On top of the muddy textures and the pixelated set dressing, the framerate is simply god awful at times. Exploring some of the more open-ended locations was enough to make me want to quit the game altogether because of the stutter.
The performance is much better on the newer Xbox Series X. Textures actually look good on this console and the framerate is much more stable. There are still moments of dips though, which is disappointing to see.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 Verdict
It would be hard for me to recommend Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 to anyone who wasn’t already a fan of the series. The game is not bad, but there is a repetitiveness to its levels and structure that won’t sit well with everyone.
The jankiness and lack of polish is also something that not all players will be able to tolerate. I personally had to struggle to finish the game for this review because of this exact same reason.
Due to the poor performance on last-gen consoles, players currently stuck with an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 should consider skipping out on this game for now. Wait to get a next-gen console or a PC to play this.
On the plus side, I cannot deny that the core sniping gameplay is really fun. Figuring out how to set up the perfect shot, or creating distractions to bring targets out into the open never really got old. This is the one aspect of the game that I kept looking forward to throughout.
In conclusion, if you can ignore the technical shortcomings of Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, you may have a good time with the game. It’s nothing revolutionary or even all that different from previous entries, but it’s still enjoyable to a degree.
- Enjoyable core combat.
- Setting up shots is addicting.
- Alternative playstyles are possible.
- Bloody kill cams.
- Repetitive structure.
- Janky animations.
- Terrible Story.
- Poor performance on last-gen consoles.
- Constant framerate dips.