Sniper Ghost Warrior as a series, suffered from the same issues that Mass Effect has experienced in recent years. It worked great on the previous generation of consoles, but what was once great is no longer that, in the current year. And while other games, such as God of War, evolved and developed in order to adapt, then some, such as Sniper Ghost Warrior, have remained in the past, and turned to mediocrity. And it seems like CI Games, the publisher behind the title has finally understood that, as with it most recent effort, Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, it has redesigned, and redeveloped the now old and tired formula.
Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, unlike its direct predecessor is not based within a wide and empty open world, but instead, it is situated within much smaller, but still open playgrounds. As in truth, , Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts plays out more like the recent two instalments of the Hitman series, rather than any of the previous Snipers. You complete contracts, as the title suggests, you earn money upon completion, unlock new weapons and abilities, and in turn can return to your previous contracts in order to have another go, and to complete any outstanding challenges.
Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, in its entirety takes place within Siberia, and this would infer that all you’ll see within it is ice-capped barren landscapes, then this couldn’t be any further from the truth. As Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, features a plethora of diverse and interesting environments, which range from snow covered, ex-Soviet FOBs; large marine ports, and canals; and last but certainly not least Siberian countryside which is full of luxurious mansions, Orthodox Churches, and dilapidated villages.
Multitude of diverse environments gives Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts another dimension, which through variety allows the player to get him/herself more involved with the on-screen proceedings. But what makes those even better, is the fact that they all come with an abundance of quests, side-challenges, and other bounties. And such will keep you occupied for tens of hours. While the core of the story mode can be completed easily under the 10-hour mark, even on the first playthrough. A completionist run, will require much, much more. As depending on your skill and commitment, you will need to complete certain contracts multiple times.
As with every game, the more you play Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, the more you unlock. A single contract will award you enough money to fully level-up one of Seeker’s (the playable character) skill tree – of which there are many. However, cash is not the only resource within Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts. As in order to acquire certain character upgrades, and weapon attachments, you will need additional resources such as Intel, and ‘’kill points’’. Meaning that while you can buy the most expensive sniper rifle right after the first contract, then you won’t be able to kit it out to your liking, and this may feel a little unfair to some, then ultimately, it prevents you from simply gunning for the best rifle and skills right out the gate.
When it comes to sniping, it is simply super within Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts. Mid-to-long range combat is immensely satisfying due to the many weapons, attachments, and types of ammunition. And the sharpshooting itself requires a lot of skill, even on the lowest difficulty, as distance, gravity, and wind all affect the bullets trajectory. And sure, the Marksman difficulty level does give you some guidance on how to take your shots, but even with it, you are not guaranteed to dome each and every single one of your targets.
While sniping may feel fantastic, then unfortunately the same cannot be said about gunplay regarding CQC combat. Sure, there is a number of different long and short weapons, as well as multitude of attachments. But both semi, and fully automatic combat simply feels a little too stiff, and it is nowhere near as satisfying as sniping – not one bit. The CQC should be the worst-case scenario, considering the title of this particular game, then the further you get into the game, the more enemies you will face. And in order to take them out swiftly, and most importantly successfully, you will have to refer to your silenced sidearms. And those as mentioned above, can feel a little off, and as nowhere near as satisfying as the large calibre rifles.
When it comes to the quote-on-quote disappointments, then the title’s AI can also be thrown into this category, while it is not entirely catastrophic, then it does leave a little to be desired. For example, when you are executing targets from long range, they will become alerted, but won’t instantly go for you, as they’re unaware from where you are firing. But if you happen to dome an enemy, who stands in close proximity of his comrade, then no matter how far you are, each and every single combatant in the close vicinity will gun right for you.
The hostile AI, within Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, also has a tendency to just stand around, while aimlessly looking around whenever you miss a shoot. Which is rather strange, because you’d expect somebody who has just seen a .308 round fly straight past his head, to I don’t know, maybe run for cover? And yes, I’m nit-picking here, but I’d like to see a little more from the AI, than just pure and relentless aggression.
When it comes to the shortcomings within the artificial intelligence department, then the developer is clearly aware of them, as alerted enemies, while being immensely aggressive, are only affected within the immediate vicinity. This can be a little immersion breaking, as you might be in a firefight on one side of the apartment building, while on the other, the hostiles are just chilling. But considering the title’s difficulty, and the ease with which you die within it, it is then wise to commend CI for its actions, as this approach to AI simply makes the title more reasonable.
Overall, Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts is a tremendous improvement upon its direct predecessor. It looks better, it sounds better, and most importantly it plays much, much better. There is an ever present sense of tension and urgency, which simply didn’t exist within the previous instalments. And best of all, Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts unlike the original, and the two sequels, has a steady amount of re-playable content, which simply doesn’t get boring. And the sheer replayability, is ultimately what carries Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts across the proverbial finish line.
To conclude, all that really has to be said about Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, is that it simply is a good game. Is not totally exceptional, but it does many things right. And those things, as you had a chance to read above, are ultimately what makes the game tick. And sure, it has its shortcomings, but such are not significant, or serious enough to impede your fun in way, shape, or form. And what makes Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts is that it features more content than the vast majority of modern AAA releases, while retailing for just £35.