I ain’t afraid of no Ghosts

For a lot of shooters nowadays, the idea of patience is taboo, like it was some naughty word or an out of date, ignorant way of thinking. Run and gun has become synonymous for the most part with this genre, especially those of the first-person, military-based variety. Many franchises that even once revolved around stealth have abandoned their proud roots for the sake of just getting the bullets to fly as fast and as furiously as possible. The folks at City Interactive though feel there is still a strong base of gamers out there who would enjoy a more involved simulation that rewards you for taking your time, being precise, and not making a sound. And so we here at EGM got into our best camos, snuck into our game room, and sat down for a demo of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.

The first thing we immediately took notice of was the detailed and rich environments we saw in the two-level preview we were given. Courtesy of the power of CryEngine 3, the levels we saw were massive in scope yet still were able to highlight the tiniest of details as if we were actually in those locations. Also, whereas in the first game you were relegated to jungle environments, you’re going to get a lot more diversity in Sniper 2 in terms of location and that was evident in that we saw both an urban and jungle level in our demo, and we were promised some campaign levels in the Himalayas, although we did not actually see them.

The new engine also allowed a lot of the A.I. issues that those who played the original Sniper complained about to really be cleaned up with enemies reacting much more dynamically to you when you were spotted. The new engine also allows a lot more enemies on screen at once. Really focusing in on the stealth elements, there were whole sections of the levels we saw where discretion was the better part of valor and it was much smarter just maneuvering around enemies instead of engaging them in any way.

There is also a lot more feedback being given to the player. Picking up enemy snipers from the glint on their rifles, tagging patrolling foes via binoculars, and a whole new detection system have been implemented to help you work your way through levels.

“The main difference compared to the first Sniper Ghost Warrior in terms of detection feedback is we were only telling players if we were being spotted at the moment, but it never told us from which direction. So we added the direction tracker to make it easier to maneuver away from enemy sights as now only when the indicator fully fills up does it actually register with the enemy A.I. that he’s spotted us. So if I move slowly and carefully enough, I can correct any errors I may make and back up back into cover,” said Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 Producer Michael Sroczynski

Aside from the A.I. and environments though, there is even more going into this franchise facelift. Your rifle selection has increased to allow for bolt-action rifles. There are now several different stealth kill animations including kidney stabbing and throat slitting. You can blow off enemy body parts if you hit them in the right spots with the right weapons and ammunition. And, of course, bullet cam is returning, where when you get those special kills, whether it be a really far off enemy or the last guy in a crowded room, the camera does a panoramic around the bullet as it releases from your rifle and tears through the flesh and bone of your foe, putting him down like the dog that he is.

City Interactive is also implementing a Custom Difficulty mode on top of the traditional Easy, Medium, and Hard modes. This Custom Difficulty will allow you to choose what assists you do or do not want. If you want wind resistance to be on, but not gravity factors, or if you don’t want to have to take weights and balances into account, but still want to be able to hold your breath to steady your shot, then this mode will be perfect for all those micro-managers out there. But, if you want the most accurate sniper simulation possible, then leaving most of those factors on is the way to go.

With our demo complete and dozens of digital denizens’ brains blown out, I admit that the only thing I could think of was that fellow fans of stealth and headshots should definitely be looking forward to this game. If this tasty tidbit was any sign of things to come, then I can’t wait to grab my spotter and head back into the shadows when Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 releases this summer on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.