by Chris Priestman
reviewed on X360
Hold Your Breath
The sniper is a precise, skilled and cool unit of the military that gamers have acquired a romantic affair with. Opposite to the loud-mouthed grunts, the sniper is the quiet, observant type you cannot help but fear. Since the authentic and tense experience of the ‘Ghillies In The Mist’ mission in Call of Duty 4, gamers have been crying out for more. Sniper: Ghost Warrior intends to answer their call with an entire game devoted to such an experience. It is a risky gamble with such high expectations to live up to. But if done right, who knows what could be further down the sights for Sniper: Ghost Warrior.
Birds Eye View
Equipped with your ghillie suit and silenced sniper rifle, you enter the fictional country, El Trejon, in order to quell the rebels who have overthrown the native government. El Trejon resembles a South American rainforest, allowing you to blend in and take the enemy by surprise. The landscape is filled with a lush green environment that hides watchtowers, barricades and, much to my surprise, the odd alligator. As you scan the horizon for enemies you cannot help but take in the glory of such a realistic and gorgeous recreation. It is unfortunate then, that upon closer inspection that you are constantly reminded this is in fact a game world.
As you sneak between enemy lines you will want to avoid detection, being outnumbered and all. Spotting a path that looks safe, you crawl on your belly towards it with an anticipated grin. That is, until you hit the edge of the playable area! Despite clearly trying to create a sense of realism and freedom, the game is surprisingly linear and often draws away from its own efforts. I also found it hilarious at times to see how close I could get to an enemy without him seeing or hearing me. I soon discovered that the AI is rather dumb face to face, but they have a mean shot from a distance. In quite an unbelievable feat, enemies can spot you a good kilometre away through foliage and fire with near perfect accuracy whilst you struggled to see them with a scope!
One area the game fortunately excels in is the sniping mechanics. Sat atop your perch with a small enemy base scattered beneath you, your spotter helps locate feasible targets. As you look through your sights you will see indicators for wind direction and your pulse rate. Although the controls are a perfect mimic of the Call of Duty system, the game unsurprisingly focuses more on the considerations a real sniper has to take aboard. Whilst sniping an enemy you will want to keep steady for a few seconds to allow your pulse rate to drop before taking the shot. On the easier difficulties, you are aided when you reach a calmer state with a hit indicator. This accurately considers your steadiness, bullet physics and weather conditions to tell you where your shot will end up. In hard mode, this comfort is taken away and you are left to make a guess for yourself.
By far the most outstanding feature of the whole game is the bullet cam. When you have lined up that perfect shot, you can enter concentration mode. Slowing down time and gaining perfect steadiness makes it easy to get a headshot. On doing so, you witness the bullet exploding from the barrel before following its trajectory across the landscape and through the targets skull. It is quite a satisfying experience and one you will want to repeat.
Breathtaking scenery and a neat bullet cam mode
Put the word bad in front of: AI, textures, multiplayer and adherence to realism.