Xbox One, ,
November 22, 2019
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is the fourth instalment in CI Games’ Ghost Warrior series. Does this title provide enough to stand out from the pack of other FPS games that dominate the market? Or should it stay hidden in its sniping hole? Let’s find out!
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts has you take control of ‘Seeker’, a mercenary sniper that is tasked with completing contracts assigned by the ‘Handler’ within the cold, desolate, and unforgiving terrain of Siberia.
First things first, the sniping mechanics in the Ghost Warrior games have always been tactical in nature, ensuring that you time your shots correctly and that you patiently wait for the opportune moment to take out your target. If you are looking for a Call of Duty-like shooter, then this will not be the game for you.
You can, by all means, run in guns blazing, but ultimately this will lead to your swift demise as a few shots are enough to take you down, and you can become quickly overwhelmed by enemies. Your best port of call is usually to survey the area, tag enemy locations, and pick off enemies one by one to avoid a firefight.
“…the sniping mechanics are brilliant and perfectly capture what it would feel like to be a sniper waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot…”
This is where Contracts shines, the sniping mechanics are brilliant and perfectly capture what it would feel like to be a sniper waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot, factoring in wind, distance of the target, and adjusting your scope to ensure you hit with lethal precision. You are then treated to a brutal and gory cinematic kill-cam that follows the bullet from Seeker depressing the trigger, to the bullet flying through the air, before hitting your target with a satisfying crunch.
The range of weapons are standard fare. You start each mission with a primary weapon (sniper rifle), a secondary weapon (assault rifle, SMG, Shotgun), and a sidearm (pistol). The range of sniper rifles is great, but the weapon information proved to be somewhat lacklustre. You’re provided with the usual damage, range, and stability stats, but that was unfortunately it. There was no short summary of each weapon and as such I couldn’t really determine which weapon would prove best to take into battle.
I would like to have seen some improvement in this area, as your weapons are key to completing goals. You can generally modify weapons with attachments, but this made things a little more confounding. A sniper rifle may have better damage but reduced noise isolation in the weapon purchase screen, for example, but as you can modify the weapon and add a silencer it made the second stat a little pointless.
In addition to your weapons, you can also equip various gadgets. These range from the usual assortment of grenades, EMPs, and medkits, through to a very handy drone that can be used to survey the area without leaving your cosy little hiding spot.
The aiming system proved to be complicated at first. I was frustrated when I first played as this system certainly takes some getting used to, but once I became accustomed to aiming with my scope and lining up my shots by factoring in the previously mentioned conditions, I quickly became a sniping machine taking out targets with ease.
A new mechanic that has been introduced to this title is the ‘mask’ which allows you to survey your area for further information and points of interest. This mask can be upgraded to show further information on your HUD, along with other useful hints such as enemy footsteps in the snow and climbable areas.
Ghost Warrior Contracts sets you within small, open-world mission areas that each have a range of contracts to complete. The games leaves it to the player to decide in which order these are ticked off. There are also bounties located on each map which reward you with further money if completed.
The main point of completing contracts within the game is to be rewarded with money, which you then use to purchase new weapons, gadgets, attachments, and skills. The skill tree is split into four tiers – mask, suit, support, and gadgets.
Whilst most of the contracts will be assassinating targets, there is some variety provided by requiring you to sneak in and download intel or picking up key objects, along with other smaller challenges like taking out two enemies at once, or defeating your target without tripping the alarm that provides further income if successfully completed.
Once you have completed an objective you can proceed to one of the many exfiltration points on the map to upload the intel and be rewarded with your payment. At this point, you can continue on to complete further objectives or leave your current area to go back to the main screen and tinker with your loadout and upgrades or go to a new location.
There are certainly moments of brilliance within this title. At one point I thought I had a safe shot and took it, little did I know there was a sniper perched amongst the mountains that saw this and alerted the nearby enemies. This then lead to me to sneaking my way around in the bushes to take out the sniper and other enemies one by one in what was a tense and exciting situation.
Another moment that I quite enjoyed was taking out an entire compound of enemies and coming across a CCTV box which I was able to hack. This then enabled me to take control of the cameras at the compound that housed my high priority target, ultimately making that assassination a little easier when it came time for me to take him out.
- Open-ended mission structure is a welcome addition.
- Sniping enemies is tactical and satisfying.
- Kill-cam provides an exciting viewpoint to witness your perfectly placed shot.
- Generic story that provides nothing new to the usual Russian bad guy trope.
- Enemy AI can be troublesome at times, breaking the immersion and tension.
- Movement controls can be a little clumsy at times.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is not a perfect game, but it doesn’t need to be. It does not compare itself to bombastic titles like Call of Duty or Battlefield, because it knows what it is and what it sets out to accomplish. There are flaws within this game like the sometimes dumb enemy AI, the awkward movement controls, and the generic story.
In saying this though, I had a blast with this game. The sniping mechanics provide a real sense of accomplishment if used correctly, the rinse and repeat nature of taking out targets never got dull for me, and I enjoyed taking my time to line up shots. If you go into this title knowing exactly what you are getting and have no issues with a shooter that has a slower approach, then there is plenty to enjoy here.