by Ben Lelievre
previewed on PC
One shot; One kill
The first contact I had with the concept of sniper in my life was the movie ďSniperĒ with Tom Berenger. I fell in love with the stone-faced, stoic warrior with a bad nicotine addiction. Through the allegory of the sniper, I understood the nature of war. These conflicting beings are the most devoted, die-hard soldiers a country can get. They abandon themselves in order to become instruments of death. I remember watching Berenger and Billy Zane getting the work done on screen and think: ďWouldnít it be cool to have a video game about this?Ē Smile, City Interactiveís newest installment in the Sniper franchise: Sniper: Ghost Warrior offers you a larger than life adventure where YOU are the lone gunman.
Itís all about the job...
Ghost Warrior isnít a war game. Not in the traditional sense of the term, at least, and thatís its main appeal. Itís not your typical shooter; you donít have to pile up corpses and to go through linear layers of massive killings to get to your goal. City Interactive concentrated their efforts in creating the most natural, reality-like experience in sniping simulation... not really! Itís a first person shooter, but read on, youíll get what Iím trying to say.
Like most gameplay driven games, Sniper: Ghost Warrior has an easy, straightforward premise. Youíre sent as reinforcement to a rebel group who wants to overthrow the government of a fictional Island in the Pacific. There is no world war, the end of mankind is not foretold by omens of doom, there are no righteous politicians. Itís better than that. Youíre locked away from the world in a suffocating conflict in the Pacific. Youíre at the heart of a conflict from which will rise the identity of a nation.
Youíll have to live, work and kill like a sniper. Itís a stealth game, not a tactical shooter. You will have to make your way to your location, hide properly, prepare your weapon and even manage your breathing. Thatís a nice addition from City Interactive. The more calm and collected the player is, the most accurate the bullet will be. That is just one of the toys that the European developer has in store for the gamers.
You will be able to cooperate with a spotter in order to help you take a vantage point. Youíll be able to fly solo or be a member of an assault team, covering your comrades in arms. There is a thorough work that has been made to recreate the integral experience of being a sniper. If City Interactive would have wanted to play it safe, they would have made a game where you start from your vantage point and gun down your targets one after the other. A heavier focus on the story could have covered up for a solid, but very repetitive game. Sniper: Ghost Warrior is not like that. Because it recreates a war and in war you have to be ready to do anything.
Good looking carnage
Despite a meticulous and realistic approach, Sniper: Ghost Warrior doesnít lock itself away from neophytes and gamers with a more casual approach to video games. There is a myriad of toys designed by the developers in order to keep you glued to your television screen in a symbiotic trance. For starters: Bullet view. That addition gives a cinematic edge to this gameplay driven war drama. You will be able to trigger a view from the bullet youíre shooting and see your unsuspecting target eat lead with his face. During the missions where you have multiple targets to gun down, terror and confusion will be nice to see for the player that took the time to calibrate the perfect shot.
The graphics that have been shown from City Interactive show a colorful depiction of an island drowned in jungle and heavy vegetation. I hate to pronounce myself on graphics without having seen them with my own eyes on TV. Everything looks good when itís presented to media, but does it hold on when youíre playing the game for marathons of six to ten hours? Most games, despite showing solid graphics to the media, rarely show a perfect score when itís being played intensely. Jungle textures are often treacherous, even to the most dedicated developer, so expect moody, detailed settings, but clippings and minor issues are to be anticipated. A lot.
Ben, should I buy this game?
This is a hundred dollars question. City Interactive is a small, energetic developer who often compensate their lack of financial means by an enthusiastic approach to the genre they are working with. Sometimes itís a hit and sometimes itís a miss. Sniper: Art Of Victory, the first title in the franchise wasnít well received in 2008. The game sported many technical problems that drained down a game with a promising premise.
Hopefully, City Interactive will make the most of the episodic approach they often use with their games. Sniper: Ghost Warrior seems like a genuine effort to part with the franchiseís past and start on fresh ground with the dedicated fanbase the European developer has crafted for themselves over the years. This is not going to be Modern Warfare 2, hell, this is not even going to be Medal Of Honor. This is going to be something completely different. For that, war games aficionados ought to give Sniper: Ghost Warrior a fair chance to impress them.