Developed and published by CI Games, Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts 2 is the latest release of this tactical stealth combat shooter and the 6th in the series. Its predecessor Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts changed the style of the game from an open world to mission-based smaller sandbox areas. The game was fairly well received and Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts 2 looks to build on that style as it has similar mission-based sandbox areas to explore.
The plot of this game is that you, the fearless Raven, have been tasked with bringing down a dangerous crime syndicate from the Lebanese and Syrian borders. The syndicate has been mapped out into the prime targets which you need to hunt down. If you damage the foundations enough the building will soon tumble. A specialist Sniper and assassin, Raven must scout out the area, identify the targets and plot his strategy flawlessly or risk being overwhelmed pretty quickly.
I played this on both my Xbox Series S and X and it looks graphically amazing. Everything is highly detailed and extremely fine-tuned which is a must in a sniper game as the smallest margins can make the difference when hitting the target. The conversations between Raven and base talking about the objectives and progress make for a comforting break up of play as much of the game is based on stealth and accurate sniping. The voice acting for them is pretty good, but the quality dips a little bit of the enemies. Although their chatter is interesting to overhear at times when you interrogate the enemy or they raise the alarm a lot of the same phrasing is used which breaks some of the immersion that the graphics and gameplay have done so well to build up.
The controls feel comfortable and are similar to other FPS games but the sniping mechanics in the game are pretty interesting and do try to give you a sense of realism. Maybe not exactly a real experience but it makes you consider everything a sniper would have to consider with the range, wind speed and controlled breathing. You can adjust your scope to match the range of the enemy which will account for how the bullet will drop. Then with the wind speed, you get a simulated dot of how it would veer to one side or the other so you have to compensate for that in your aiming. I played it on easy mode first to get my bearings and this provides you with a red dot on where the bullet will hit. Even in easy mode you still need to adjust the range for the red dot to appear on your scope and it helps you understand what you need to think about when aiming so when you are ready to step up the challenge you can play on a harder difficulty without the red dot and you have to make the judgement yourself. But regardless of your difficulty if you do aim your shot perfectly in a critical area of the enemy and pull the trigger, you will occasionally be treated to a cinematic following of the bullet as it travels the distance and finishes the enemy. This is a combination of intriguing brutal fun and sometimes a gory realisation of what you have just done as you see your enemy’s head explode with blood trails firing out. It does showcase what probably was a well-aimed shot, especially at your main target but after a while, it could leave you feeling a bit uneasy, although you can adjust how often it happens or not at all from the menu.
When I took this game on I hadn’t played the previous games in the series although I did want to have a go. I wasn’t aware of how much stealth-action was in these games and, to be honest, I am terrible at being stealthy. Partly because I am bad at it and more so that I hate waiting around. A lot of each of the areas is spent scouting out the areas with your binoculars tagging enemies and key mission items like control panels. You can’t really go gung-ho and try to snipe everyone, as they return fire pretty quickly and they try to surround you. The idea is to make a strategy of picking off the enemy snipers, then the targets separate from the bunch and then go in and assassinate the remainder to complete the mission objective. You can get some intel from interrogating enemies by creeping up behind them and they will sometimes give you the whereabouts of everyone in the area, or direct you to a key objective and sometimes they tell you nothing. But it seems Raven has no mercy as regardless of if they help you or not he kills them after interrogation.
The other way you can get an edge on the enemy is with the use of gadgets, and there are plenty to choose from. However, you will need to unlock them first by purchasing them. You gain money by completing the contracts, bounties and missions in each area. Each of the gadgets can be upgraded to increase their effectiveness. The main 2 gadgets I thought were interesting are a drone which you can use to help you tag enemies and activate specific control panels. The other is a remote turret which you can use to assist you in sniping enemies and also provide you with some overwatch cover should someone come into range. There are other standard items you can use like anti-personnel mines, smoke grenades and C4 explosives and much more.
The game has 5 mission areas and each area is fairly large and can be tough to navigate at times. As I mentioned before on each mission area you have your main targets but you also have other contractual missions, collectables to find and there are some bounties against non-mission enemies of interest you can kill. Some of the challenges are much harder than the others to complete, but the money and tokens you earn from completing these tasks can be spent on upgrading Raven and purchasing gadgets to replay some of the levels to beat some of those harder challenges, which I think is a decent way to implement some replay value. I do have some minor gripes with the game though which may not be a big deal to others. My first is sometimes when Raven is talking about a specific objective they seem to talk a lot in soldier based phrases about how to handle a situation that goes over my head. That goes hand in hand with my other gripe of there being no information about what and where each objective is. You are just given red outlined squares of where the targets are but not what each of them is. Even if you go to the area and discover which of the objectives it is it is not updated on the map. Fortunately, you can unlock fast travel points on each map which speeds up the process of navigating to each of the outlined areas but I did have a lot of time when I don’t know what I was supposed to be doing.
Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts 2 is a very attractive game with exciting gameplay and a lot of interesting mechanisms. Each area is large and fun to explore, and if you enjoy stealthy commando action combined with realistic sniping then this game is a must. Even for FPS fans, there is a lot to enjoy here with plenty of gadgets and challenges to add some replay value.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.