Sniper: Ghost Warrior from City Interactive is a sniper exclusive first person shooter that puts you behind the scope in a fictitious Latin American country as you follow leads to hit your target as well as run from traitors.
Graphics & Audio: 12/25,
Sniper: Ghost Warrior may be a diamond in the rough but it is getting better, with patches still in the making and one already released I am hoping the game will continue to improve. Sniper plays much like some older but classic first person shooters but with a little bit better graphics but beware the AI.
I immediately felt I had gone back to the classic Ghost Recon as I played through the first few levels of Sniper and was not surprised when much of the game felt oddly familiar. While the level design and scripting was different the actual gameplay seemed all too familiar like the not so good AI or the lack of a polished feel.
While Ghost Recon did have a polished feel if you return to the game all these years later, I have several times, you will know what I mean. Sniper follows mostly your lone sniper through several levels of sniping missions but times you have a spotter, fellow sniper or even acting as spotter but just as often you are on your own.
City Interactive gives you the sniper centric game on both the PC and the Xbox 360 console but I really could not see much difference between the two. The games controls were the biggest difference of course but they looked pretty much the same and felt almost identical on the different machines.
You start off with a single mission that goes badly so you spend the rest of the game playing catch up and trying to undo the unfortunate events including a traitor. The missions include several longer range sniping but more often you get a mixed bag like sneaking from one check point through another having to mix your sniping with some close quarters and medium range action.
The game does a great job of concentrating on the longer range but as you would expect in some missions, especially ones that go horribly wrong, you get mixed combat ranges. The close quarters is mostly with a silenced pistol but you can also try your hand at knife throwing and stabbing or even picking up other weapons but this means leaving behind your sniper rifle.
A few missions are pretty heavily scripted while many have enough latitude with how you go about the missions as long as you stay in the corridor they give you. It would have been much nicer to be able to sandbox the game and allow the sniper to accomplish objectives anyway they wanted but the script calls for tightly controlled action in many levels.
Aside from the corridor effect some of the level design puts you in some missions can be taken out of context altogether using the somewhat sloppy level design. I found you could actually go beyond those invisible barriers and climb some rough terrain designed to keep you penned in with some patience and snooping.
Once beyond these walls you can accomplish some levels way outside what the designer had intended which is just the kind of fun I like in these lesser quality games. I had fun playing outside the fenced in area in one level that I was supposed to stay in to knock off everyone inside the camp that I was actually supposed to sneak through.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior does a decent enough job and I can only hope that the company continues to fix the game as the problems far outweigh the fun in many areas. The AI for the most part is acting just as it should but at times they just spot you too easily even from long distances.
In most missions you are well concealed yet anyone within the map can instantly see and shoot at you so the AI for the most part is ruthless. A few times this was very bad and the missions amounted to repeating until you got the exact formula down for what you had to do to remain out of sight.
The single player mission is a bit short at about eight hours but with the sometimes brutal AI you will be doing some repeat work to get through some of the missions. I am sure most everyone will not be able to waltz through all the missions on the first try and with three difficulty levels you do have some value for repeat playing.
The games multiplayer fare is not much better than the single player missions as you would be playing with a map full of snipers all with a sniper rifle and pistol with a few grenades. This means everyone on the map is trying to do almost the exact same thing and it just does not work for multiplayer, some variety is needed to break things up.
One thing that did seem to work well against all us snipers slowly crawling around trying to pick off the rest was guys just rushing around with pistols and not bothering to hide. Either way you go the maps are just not designed well for sniper missions and multiplayer needs good maps to start with.
I found the maps lacked decent cover to base the whole multiplayer gaming of snipers on but you do get a good idea of what they were trying to do. It would have been better to design some levels with coop or skirmish modes or allow a greater variety of weapons and have some guys being able to choose regular rifles or machine guns instead of just sniper rifles.
One other complaint I have about the multiplayer is the mini map or what they are calling the mini map, it is a compass that has every person on the map shown using a red or blue dot. Simply turn toward an enemy dot and when he is straight north on the compass he is somewhere directly in front of you.
This really sucks all the fun out of sniping and being able to blend into your surroundings while trying to pick off others who are trying to do the same. Multiplayer would have been fun if you had no idea of where anyone is or had a spotting function like other games but as it is you really can’t hide all that much.
Sniper Ghost Warrior looks pretty good for the most part if you don’t look to long or crawl much but as soon as you start moving around glitching and other factors start to show. The games general look is done well and the textures look very good but glitching into objects runs rampant and rain does not look very good.
The games whole rain scheme is more like a general haze over everything which would be great if that meant nobody could see you as well as you could see them. The AI has no problems seeing you when you are having limited vision due to night or rain so the hindrance is all on you when vision is limited by weather.
The graphics are just not what you would expect for a better game but when you’re talking about a lesser company releasing a genre they usually don’t make games for you get what you would expect. The games graphical problems aside it does look good and I would have no problems returning to the games single player and multiplayer if more changes are made to correct some of the problems.
The games value is about what you would expect as well from this company with a solid eight hour campaign and some return value for using the various difficulty levels. Even if you jump wholeheartedly into the hardest difficulty you should still get enough trial and error time to make the offering worthwhile.
The multiplayer gaming is going to have to improve before it can be considered any kind of long lasting gaming appeal for us not so serious gamers. I found the multiplayer mediocre at best and with the lack of weapon variety and minimap pointing out people all the time the multiplayer is just not going to work.
If City Interactive wants to increase the value they should continue to work on patches to correct things like glitching, AI and especially the multiplayer. What would be even better would be a release of an editor and utilities so people could modify the game as they see fit.
I really did not find much difference between the two editions of PC or Xbox 360 other than controls which I find much harder on the Xbox 360 to use. With the eagle eyed AI and the glitching the game does pose a few areas of problems but with some corrections upcoming the game will be worth a look if your into sniper first person shooters.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior is a decent enough game and with a little extra care and updates will make a game worthwhile for play until the next sniper offering becomes available. Until that time Sniper: Ghost Warrior should tide those crack shots over until the next big release or sniper first person shooter.