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Sniper Ghost Warrior [PORTABLE]

The Games on Demand version supports English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian. As a Ghost Warrior, an elite sniper in a highly trained special ops unit, your unique skills in the art of stalking, target detection, surveillance and shooting accuracy will determine mission success. The current government of a US backed small-island nation has been overthrown by a hostile military regime and your specialized sniping...

sniper ghost warrior


That experience defines Contracts as a whole. While that's one of the more severe instances we experienced during our playthrough, there was little else that made it feel worth playing. Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts has some of the most inconsistent AI of any game this generation, sometimes as bad as Aliens: Colonial Marines. Dropping an enemy right in front of another enemy would often yield no reaction from the one left standing, and scripted conversations between the two would sometimes continue. The problem is so bad that repeatedly shooting one of the heavy, juggernaut-style enemies in the head with the starter sniper rifle wouldn't seem to phase them.

And while the standard and juggernaut enemies are essentially blindfolded, deaf, and completely numbed to pain, the snipers and CCTV cameras dotting the map could spot a fly at 500 meters in a blizzard. The slightest movement outside of cover will often result in detection, immediately raising the alarm and causing groups of enemies to emerge and blast at the player. The obvious answer is to stay in cover, but that usually means tall grass. In Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, the grass effectively blinds the player, making it nearly impossible to move about stealthily.

Beyond that, there's little to enjoy. The game feels stale to play, as the few objectives quickly get old and the level design is boring, despite its open-endedness. Every main target can be eliminated with relative ease by finding a decent location to snipe them, making the multiple methods of taking them down feel pointless. There are a few gadgets the player can use to try and spice things up, but the remote sniper is really the only interesting one and it's essentially the same as the player eliminating targets themselves. Retrieving intel for an objective can feel difficult, but more so in an arbitrary than challenging way, as the game essentially just ups the number of enemies present in later levels rather than trying to spice up the level design with unique challenges.

Contracts has a few technical problems as well. There was only one instance of it actually crashing during our playthrough, but there were plenty of bugs. One, in particular, would cause a loud screeching, static sound to be emitted from either the TV speakers or headphones. Cutscenes would regularly be a black screen with audio playing behind it, enemies would frequently get caught in audio loops causing them to repeat voice lines, and zooming into the sniper scope would frequently render a broken texture.

Snipers are some of the deadliest and most frustrating soldiers to deal with in shooters, so it's very appealing to be the one behind the scope in Sniper: Ghost Warrior. The trouble is that a lot of design miscues by developer City Interactive make it almost as aggravating to play a sniper here as it is to try to avoid the insta-kill headshots that snipers deal out as bad guys in other first-person shooters. Maddening difficulty, irritating enemy AI that hides its stupidity by being prescient, and terrible stealth mechanics make the game as annoying as a mosquito in your bedroom. Only sharp jungle visuals, cool slow-mo camera effects that let you get up close and personal with bloody headshots, and a somewhat promising multiplayer save the game from being a total disaster.

The story behind the Sniper: Ghost Warrior campaign deals with some kind of revolt in a banana republic. Details are sparse, with you being filled in on a need-to-know basis through brief orders from HQ during missions, but it seems like the bad guys have taken over this tropical paradise and the Yanks are on the way to restore order. Faster than you can say "Hey, that's just like what Reagan did with Grenada!" you've got your boots on the ground as a Ghost Warrior, an elite covert operative with a sniper rifle and a plan. Well, you've got to assume there's a plan behind all of it. You're given clear orders in the levels and sent off to kill various baddies, rescue captives, mark targets, secure data, and clear out bases. You're also ordered to cover assault operations marked off by onscreen dots and a gauge that tracks distance from goals, but you're never given the whole picture aside from random tidbits about drugs and a nuclear program.

Individual mission objectives are quite varied. While the majority of the game focuses on traditional sniper duties, like shooting sentries in the head via your telescopic sights, some levels mix in stealth and others deal with straight-out shooter carnage that is all about going to town with the budda-budda-budda stuff. At times, you bounce around to different parts of battlefields, seeing how fights play out from different angles. One moment, you're on a tower taking out enemy snipers to protect an incoming assault team. The next, you're part of that assault team, shooting up all and sundry. Levels feature lush jungles, ancient ruins, sandy beaches, and tin shacks, making your sniping exploits look a bit like clips from somebody's slides during an off-the-beaten-path vacation in Cuba. That's not to say that Sniper: Ghost Warrior is on Crysis' level (there are some real rough edges, like extremely blocky shadows), although the game looks more than respectable, even featuring a slow-mo bullet cam whenever you make a headshot or kill two enemies with one pull of the trigger. An array of jungle noises and Spanish enemy chatter further build a Caribbean atmosphere, although the audio is marred by chintzy weapon sounds.

While the different styles of gameplay and scenic locales keep things fresh, nothing is pulled off particularly well. Regular sniper chores are the most enjoyable part of the game because they're straightforward and offer that peculiar shooter satisfaction that comes from turning an enemy's head into a red geyser from a mile away. If you dial up the difficulty, you have to deal with wind, heart rate, breathing, and gravity whenever you hold down the right mouse button to squint into your sight, too. It's all a bit extreme, though. Environmental effects are ramped up way too high. The sight jerks all over the place with your breathing, even when you're holding down the shift key to focus in on a target. Sneaking around is even more annoying than shooting. The game tracks how hidden you are from prying eyes with a meter that clears when you're skulking through the jungle and climbs into the red when you're spotted by an enemy. It's a solid idea but poorly implemented. Cover isn't tracked well either. Sometimes you're spotted when you're buried in jungle; sometimes you're invisible behind a couple of weeds or a thin tree that even Paris Hilton couldn't hide behind. Even worse, you're often totally blind behind a bunch of big green leaves although enemies can see you perfectly and fill you full of holes.

Many of these flaws are somewhat mitigated in multiplayer, where you don't have to deal with the AI issues or the crazy difficulty. The game's Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and VIP (one player is designated the VIP, which makes him a more valuable target) modes don't offer anything earth-shatteringly different from other shooters, but intricate maps with countless hidey holes and shadowy spots make matches intense. You have to be aware of your surroundings because enemies are tough to see unless you've gained a good high sniping position looking over the entire map. Even these locations don't allow for much camping because they're watched by experienced players and regularly cleared out with grenades. With that said, gameplay is an acquired taste and the learning curve is high. Until you really learn the maps, you spend a lot of time getting gunned down by enemies you never even see. It's too bad there is no cooperative option here because being able to play sniper-and-spotter with a buddy through a campaign against AI enemies would seem to be the best multiplayer option that a game like this could offer.

As the title suggests, players will primarily dispatch enemies using various sniper rifles and stealth kill options. The game's sniping system will take into account wind speeds and directions, heartbeat rate, and bullet drop. Successful sniping will require minute control over these inputs.

The key, or at least I found, is working from the top down. Seek out those rival snipers and put a satisfying, 400m bullet-cam-guided round through their head. Then, systematically work your way down through the guards. Isolate and pick off, pop off those on higher plains to avoid them seeing bodies below and proceed.

Clumsy title aside, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 wastes no time getting to the good stuff. After a briefing that explains your motivations and a quickfire tutorial mission that instructs you on the fundamentals of sniping, you're prowling the desert of Kuamar, sneaking your way to the first overlook position. Time to first stealth kill? Maybe 15 minutes. Time to first sniper kill? Also 15 minutes, depending on your approach. Within half an hour you're perched on a clifftop scoping out a container port over a kilometre away. You'll never visit this port physically but your presence will be felt there, mainly in the cranial region.

The puzzle-like structure of these missions elevates Contracts 2 beyond a simple head-popping simulator. The design is clearly inspired by IO's recent Hitman trilogy. Like Hitman, these contracts are built with replayability in mind. Each mission has its own set of challenges: killing targets in different ways, getting ten kills over a certain distance, killing ten counter-snipers with melee sneak attacks. 041b061a72


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