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You are the Seeker, hired to carry out covert missions and infiltrate locations to assassinate targets. Explore expansive areas and complete multiple objectives as you stalk your enemies from the shadows.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is a first person shooter with a focus on stealth, since this is a game where you play as a sniper then you can expect to find that your bullets are affected by the wind and you have to account for the distance to be able to make your shots, rather than just getting your target in your sights and pulling the trigger. These sorts of games with more realistic bullet physics have always intimidated me a little, being a player who’s generally terrible at taking all the external factors into account when it comes to taking the shot, for example I would usually rely on an on screen indicator in the case of something like Sniper Elite. With Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts however, there’s no need to worry about the shooting because even though there’s nothing on the screen specifically telling you where your bullet would land, it’s still easy to make your target. Making use of your binoculars you can find the enemy’s range and from there you know to adjust your scope accordingly, then finally there’s a wind indicator in your scope that shows as an arced dotted line every few seconds or you can look at the little yellow lines to estimate where the bullet will end up. At first it seemed quite difficult to get used to but as I played I realised that I was probably just doing it wrong or overthinking it and now when I play, I hit my targets most of the time and sometimes even when they’re moving if I’m lucky.
The missions in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts are done quite well, they’re separated in regions and each one has a different set of objectives to complete and it’s entirely free form in the way that you tackle it. There’s nothing telling you that you must got to “A” first and then to “B”, this is something I liked a lot because it also gave me the freedom to wander about and although it’s restricted to the mission zone, it gives it a feeling of being open world. As well as being able to handle your objectives how you like you can also choose whether or not you want to extract after each one or wait until you’ve completed everything, being able to choose when you extract also means that you can be free to explore the area even when the mission is finished. When you’re in the mission area, you also have a number of challenges you can choose to take on such as killing your target in a specified amount of time, only killing your target or utilising your gadgets to take out enemies. The kinds of challenges you get are determined by your mission area, each mission area also has rival snipers to watch out for and you get a bounty payment for each one you manage to take out but if you enter the bounty area and set off alarms, you’ll miss your chance to assassinate them.
As you play and complete objectives as well as loot the bodies of your enemies you’ll gather a considerable amount of money that you can use to enhance your equipment and buy new weapons and weapon attachments. Most of the time you’ll be using your sniper rifle but if you happen to get spotted you also have a secondary weapon as well as a side arm but you have very limited ammo to start with unless you invest in some of the upgrades. One thing did was add a silencer to my side arm for when I need to be up close and quiet for the situations when a melee kill wouldn’t have fit the situation, it’s also handy because you can’t fire the sniper rifle without aiming through the scope and with the scope things can get a little too close up in short range. You also have a good number of gadgets at your disposal such as a number of different kinds of explosives as well as different ammunition types for your sniper rifle, the ammo types depend on the kind of sniper rifle you’re using.
Heavy sniper rifles are more effective in combat, allowing you to take out enemies often regardless of where your bullet hits them and you can also stock explosive and armour piercing rounds. The light sniper rifle on the other hand relies more on precision, being most effective with head shots, and deception with lure and tagging rounds as the additional ammo types.
I really enjoyed playing Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, usually when I play stealth games I feel as though I have to restart if I happen to set off alarms or get spotted but with this one since there’s not really any kind of penalty, especially taking into account the mission structure and into the fact that you can replay them, it made it feel as though I didn’t need to restart. When playing, even though it’s a game where you spend the majority of your time creeping about and sniping from a distance, it felt fairly similar to playing Far Cry particularly the parts of Far Cry when you’re clearing an outpost, it made the game feel familiar and easier to get to grips with.
Graphically the game looks very impressive, particularly in some of the small details but my favourite aspect has to be the slow down effect when you make a shot with your sniper rifle. Watching your bullet soar through the air towards your mark is fun and on occasion when it lands you can see its debilitating effects with some gore, though it doesn’t happen every time. If you’re not a fan of this feature there is a slider setting to make it happen more or less often.
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