I already wrote before how sniper games are my weak spot. Or snipers in general. Or if any game gives m a choice to shoot at enemies from a distance. There is something incredibly appealing in roleplaying as the ultimate predator that can be killed in one hit and your only hope are your wits, along with a sniper rifle. I a game has a sniper class, I’ll give it a chance regardless of how terrible it might be. Sure, my Borderlands 2 playthrough might have been easier if I picked anyone else besides Zer0 but he has a sniper in promo trailers! My decision was made on the spot. If it wasn’t already obvious, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 isn’t exactly a newcomer here. I already gave a decent score to its predecessor so I’m hoping this one is more polished. Maybe there is a surprise or two along the way. A new gameplay feature even? We’ll see.
Remember that super engaging story from the first Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts? You don’t? That’s ok, no one does. In this entry, the story also takes a backseat and serves only as a barely connected plot device as you go from one level to another. It’s not a bad story campaign, but also not a surprising one or the one that will keep you at the edge of your seat. There is a big baddie and you have to first eliminate his closest before you get to him. But in a twist that no one else saw coming, the barely mentioned character during the campaign is now replacing the recently assassinated big baddie and again you’re the only one that can stop him. If you ask me in a week from now what’s the story in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, I’ll have trouble remembering that I even wrote this sentence, let alone anything more from the campaign. But as we all know, the story is merely a bandaid to the game and we’re gonna deal with the more important things next.
If you played the previous game, the formula is the same. Assassinate the required key targets and how you get to them and how you dispose of them is entirely up to you. Will you sneak your way to the goal or go full Rambo across the map? The enemy AI seems a bit improved this time, as well as tweaked to a sensible level. They can’t see you anymore through a rainforest 5 kilometers away and they’re now a bit smarter with investigating your last known position. Every map features a lot of challenges requiring you to eliminate your targets in a certain way (headshot, explosion, while they’re escaping), and successfully doing so will earn you skill tokens and credits. You use those for obtaining new skills, sniper rifles, primary and secondary weapons. Some skills that you had to earn in the first game are now unlocked here by default. One of the drawbacks of the game that’s investing most of its gameplay in unlockable skills is that you need to be thorough with the challenges before the finally get some variety in gameplay. But take your time and be meticulous in the first few maps and pretty soon you’ll be a one-man army. Bt won’t the difficulty be uneven then, you ask? Well, that’s the beauty of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2. You can unlock pretty much every skill in the game and still sweat profusely before firing every shot on the highest difficulty. You have to take wind speed as a factor, bullet fall, and gravity. Or you can just go with the easy difficulty and shoot where the red dot is pointing.
The maps are larger now but that comes with more intuitive levl design. No more you have to run a small marathon across the map to get from one target to another. If you familiarize yourself with each level, you’ll find plenty of shortcuts an secret passages whose purpose is to shorten the distance between the level objectives. And for more good news, the eye blinding snow levels from the previous games are not making a return. Yaay! Instead you get more scorching heat desert enviroments, dense forests and night time mountains.
Some audio bugs that were present in the first game (such as audio randomly dying and music refusing to do its thing) have been ironed out. No more playing the game like you’re hearing impaired and if anything, playing this sequel with a good pair of headphones brings it to a whole new level. It might take some practice but eventually, you’ll be able to pinpoint where the enemies are hidden behind the obstacles going by their footsteps and chatter. The soundtrack isn’t anything to write novels about, but at least it’s more present and dynamic compared to the game before.
In the end, while Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 doesn’t bring anything new to the table (if we don’t count new weapons, levels, and skills, but that’s to be expected for a new game) it decides to go with a different approach. It takes what worked in the first game and improves it. And for things that didn’t work……well, they are not making a return this time. A fair trade, I’d say. If you played and liked the first game, purchasing this one is a no-brainer. If this is your first encounter with the Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts series, you’ll be pleased to know that the sequel is way more accessible compared to the first game. And after hundreds and hundreds of headshots, I noticed that exploding heads splatter in way more bits and pieces now. Either that much is true or I’ve been playing this game for way too long. Oh, who am I kidding, no such thing as “playing too long”.
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