The fan-favourite returns with a vengeance after having absorbed user feedback given to the previous five titles, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 transports us to Lebanon, ready to take on an army to prevent a catastrophe.
Imagine you are relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas, sipping on a Pina Colada and working on your tan. Life is good. The phone rings abruptly, interrupting your convalescence: it’s only the Controller asking you to travel to Lebanon in order to prevent a major world war. Bit terse if I am honest, but that is exactly what transpired in the vacation diaries of Raven, a sickeningly brutal hooded rifleman who acts as the protagonist of the CI Games’ recently released title: Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2. The sixth addition to the series, CI Games have a good idea by now what fans love and expect from the Sniper Ghost Warrior saga. Originally released on the 4th June 2021 for most consoles, the same-priced Elite Edition (with additional weapons) of the game comes to the PlayStation 5 on the 24th August after several weeks of re-development.
What is the game's context?
Set in Kuamar, a fictional region situated smack bang in the middle of the Lebanese and Syrian borders, Raven is tasked to preclude President Al-Bakr and his machinating wife, Bibi Rashida, from invading a neighbouring state and causing a global pandemonium. How might one go about completing this colossal task? Easy – whip out a .50 Cal sniper and simply ‘sever the head’ of the organisation before an offensive is mounted - this is where you come in as Raven. Our job, in a nutshell (or a bullet case), is to assassinate our foes in an assortment of satisfying ways over the course of a 12-hour gaming experience. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Can you give us an overview of the game?
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, which I will abbreviate to SGWC2 from here on in so I don’t develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, has a fairly solid narrative as far as stealthy first-person tactical shooters go. To cocoon the plot-line is a collection of several different wonderfully designed locations consisting of 5 sizeable primary missions, all perfect for incubating conditions ready for someone to rock up with a sniper rifle and get to work. Bestowing on us a myriad of ways to take out our enemies, some more gruesome than others, leaving users with many ‘oh my word’ moments, I never found myself becoming tired of SGWC2 at any points during the experience. SGWC is one of those games, like the game I recently covered, Observer System Redux, that suffers no fools, refreshingly cutting to the chase within minutes so you need not wait long until the carnage commences.
'To cocoon the plot-line is a collection of several different wonderfully designed locations consisting of 5 sizeable primary missions.'
Alright, so what details do I need to know?
The interface supporting the first-person perspective is fairly rudimentary but does have some technological traits to it that assist the experience of long-range sniper action. It would be a shame if the gorgeous Kuamar surroundings were interrupted by a convoluted shooting system, so I don’t take any umbrage to the simple interface design. Gameplay itself excels in its designated function; sneaking, stabbing and executing adversaries with a variety of weapon types, but once you have been rooted and the alarm goes off, the action from thereon in is no better than average. This, I conclude, is justifiable; SGWC2 is half the price of huge AAA titles and ultimately achieves what it sets out to do so. Where the game really comes into its own is in the numerous kilometre-long (I am not exaggerating) sniping sequences, an element of the game that makes good use of the Haptic Feedback features of controllers like the DualSense. In this arena of the game, an authentic-feeling planning and foresight stage is crucial; wind and zeroing distance are two factors that absolutely need to be considered, for example. Outside these ‘Classic’ contracts we are able to indulge in Long-Shot missions that involve a few miscellaneous missions, uploading virus to mainframes, shooting parts of an antenna from distance so as to destroy it – you know the deal. The good stuff aside, I hope to see in future patches a recalibration of the games AI-driven enemies whom I found to be fairly clumsy and naïve at points, taking away slightly from the extent of challenge I wanted to apply myself to. Gameplay for the most part though is thoroughly enjoyable despite this flaw which only gives credence to the quality of much of the other components of the title.
What are the weapons like? Are there upgrades?
As we travel the lengths of the game we are rewarded with cash and skill upgrades, with the latter being the more decisive of the two in terms of performance and difficulty. Though the upgrades of various weapons, like pistols and rifles, were intriguing, I thought the gadgets a little hurried – if you have the initiative to integrate them into gameplay, great, but the game itself won’t prompt you to do so. Nevertheless, SGWC2 won’t leave you high and dry of cash, so if you feel the urge to invest in some recon drones and sentry turrets you most certainly can. Sewing the game together in some part, at least in my own opinion, is the sporadic vocal interactions between Raven and Controller; the voice acting, while predictable and a bit 70’s James Bond-esque, is honest and concise – nothing superfluous – which I think actually contributes to the aura of ruthlessness surrounding the game.
'Nevertheless, SGWC2 won’t leave you high and dry of cash, so if you feel the urge to invest in some recon drones and turrets you most certainly can.'
What about the game's graphics? What is the frame rate?
Making the best of the current generation of hardware, the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S, SGWC2 can be played in visual mode in 30FPS and 4k-resolution, or performance mode in 2k whilst running 60FPS. The SSD capacities on all three consoles make for speedy loading times too, meaning the ranged killing is only a few seconds away at any given time. In the realm of the game’s graphical fidelity, I would go as far to compare it to a Metro Exodus, FarCry series level of quality; not quite at the pinnacle of the industry, but extremely respectable with little issue to be found. Exhibiting some gorgeous landscapes to serenely cherish in-between assassinations, SGWC2 has not fell short in the visual department as some forecast it would, in fact I would say that the game puts up a good fight with some of the best-selling games released this year.
For the price, its un-rushed but simultaneously succinct nature, the sheer pleasure gained from sniping sequences as well as the fact that it can be replayed time and time again, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is well worth the investment in time and money, especially if you gain gratification when performing some gory, slow motion and kilometre-long headshots. More, CI Games have recently released a free DLC named 'Butchers Banquet', available across all generations of consoles, a package complete with a new region to explore and renewed missions to put your hand to. Better still is the fact that recent patches have ameliorated some complained about frame drop issues, so today might be the perfect time to get stuck into Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 before October rolls around with the release of long-anticipated titles like Battlefield 2042.