Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts Review – Death From Long Range

The next installment in the Sniper series is out in the wild and we have spent a week playing developer CI Games’ Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts. Is it an improvement over their last release or should you just sneak on past this game?

Read on to find out

The last time we played and reviewed a game in the Sniper series, it was Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 and the game had some serious loading issues. While the game was worth the loading times, that still took away from the overall experience of the game and brought the overall game score down a bit. We will start off here by saying immediately that load times are not an issue with Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts. Load times are considerable faster and part of that is due to a slightly different gameplay format. More on that later.

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

The story for the game is set as a stand alone installment in the franchise and is not connected to previous titles other than an Easter egg or two. The game is set in Siberia, which has just finished its fight for independence from Russia and Mongolia. As with most great revolutions, the end of hostilities doesn’t mean the end of the fighting, and it tends to display the corruption that can come with new found power. This is the case in Siberia and you, codenamed Seeker, are hired to eliminate certain individuals that are using their new powers in not-so-friendly ways.

The game map consists of five main areas and one tutorial area. The Bajkit Proving Ground will introduce you to the new aiming system as well as the several different types of ammo you’ll have available for your sniper rifle. It’s a great place to get acquainted with your weaponry and learn the ins and outs of the new scope system and learn the best ways to utilize certain ammo types. Your sniper rifle can use special ammo like tagging bullets, armor piercing bullets, and even exploding bullets, so be sure to get to know all of the different types of ammo and when and where is best to use each.

Contracts and Challenges

The previous installment in the series, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, wanted to create a seamless open world map across all areas that never required the player to exit to the menu. While not a bad idea in theory, it created long load times when going from sub-region to sub-region. With Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts, CI Games took a much better approach and went with mission based sub-regions that have you, the Seeker, selecting a sub region to enter and then going through a smaller open world to complete contracts and challenges. Smaller doesn’t mean the maps are small, as they aren’t, it’s just not the entire world of Siberia in one huge map.

Each region has a set of main contracts you’ll need to finish but they also contain a number of challenges and collectibles for you to complete and/or find. Just taking out the bad guys or just finding the requested intel will finish the missions, but there’s quite a bit of fun to be had in finishing the challenges. Completionists will find quite a few tough scenarios to complete in order to earn all of the trophies or achievements. The difficulty leveling is no joke, either, as the toughest difficulty will really test your stealth skills.

Bullet Drift and Drop

The new shooting mechanics is a nice addition to the franchise and adds to the realism of the gunplay. Your character has a fancy mask that can assist your scope by letting you know the wind speed and direction using the Dynamic Reticle System (DRS). You’ll need to use your binoculars or drone to find the distance to target, and once you have that, you can use your scope to dial in the bad guys. Reaching out to 500+ meters isn’t too hard if you are using a .338 Lapua but can be a bit harder if you are using a 7.62mm.

The sniping for the game is really where the game excels, and since the game has Sniper in its name, it should. With the longer shots, you can actually see the bullet drop onto its target if you aren’t using the fancy bullet cam all the time. The bullet cam is cool, though, and really showcases the brutality and gore that can come with a sniped headshot. To see a helmet, skullcap, and brain parts all go in different directions can be pretty gory, and the aftermath up close isn’t a pretty picture either.

RPG Elements and Much Improved Graphics

The game also has a variety of RPG elements to increase the effectiveness of our Seeker. Under developments, you can improve upon your mask, your suit, your gadgets, and your support tools. Your support tools are your drone and a cool little sniping turret that, when fully upgraded, can take out 3 targets of your choosing at a time. It’s like having a buddy helping you out. The drone can be upgraded to have EMP blasts to take out enemy turrets, video cameras, and if you are quick enough, drone jamming equipment.

CI Games also went with a much improved graphics engine called CryEngine. This engine recreates a game world with incredible detail and makes those gory headshots even gorier. While crouched or prone and sneaking through grass, each blade comes alive. While scoping out an enemy, the detail around them is also just as impressive. Siberia truly becomes an impressive game world with a target rich environment just waiting for your bullet.

CI Games had lofty goals when they released their previous installment, and missed the mark. With Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts, CI Games rethought their overall approach to the gameplay and created one of the best sniping experiences to date.

Well done CI Games. Well done.

9


Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.