Editor: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U, PS Vita
Sniper: Ghost Warrior, released in mid-2010 and early-2011 for Xbox and PC, and PlayStation 3 respectively, and utilised the Chrome Engine 4, which was popularised by Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. The second title, however, utilises the CryEngine 3 (notably used by the recently released Crysis 3), presumably to overcome the shortcomings of its predecessor, which received largely mixed or negative reviews, despite its praised sniping mechanics. To Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, which is scheduled to be releasing on the 12th of March 2013 for all listed platforms, seeks to improve on its predecessor with several new additions, including a new, varied landscape setting and refined bullet physics.
The first new feature is the “Motion Sense Trigger System”, which detects and interprets the players pressure exerted on the trigger button on their controller. This allows players to steady their shot before edging that final fraction to get their shot off. This pressure control can influence whether a player gets their precision shot in on the enemy or if they skew their rifle, sending their shot flying into the nearest barrier. Adding to this challenge is the ultra-realistic ballistics featured in-game, which takes into account wind speed, bullet drop and breath holding, as would be expected, and then adds secondary factors such as body positioning and heart rate to determine how stable the sniper rifle will be and what kind of recoil the shooter will experience. These physics seek to create the single most comprehensive sniping experience to date, a title only realistically contended for by last year’s Sniper Elite v2.
Also overhauled is the title’s AI, which was widely criticised for being temperamentally hawk-eyed and blind on separate occasions. The overhauled AI will be reactive to what goes on around them, particularly the sounds made by the firing of your rifle, and the impact of its rounds. Enemies will seek cover and will unpredictably assault an identified player’s position, whether sneakily flanking or directly assaulting or a combination of both adding to the frenetic nature of the battle once spotted. However, players need not despair if enemies take cover, as the standard .50 calibre bullets break through thin walls and barriers, allowing for players to further vary their attack style.
Allowing further variation of play style is new equipment to use for recon, spotting and night-visibility. These new toys will allow players to scout their targets and potential threats and plan their course for the levels provided. Allowing players to reap the rewards of their hard work is the improved Bullet Cam, a feature which was featured in the original title, but will be enhanced by the CryEngine 3’s impressive graphical potential so that a player can follow the path of their best shots as they hit their targets from incredible distances, angles or through obstacles.
On the note of the graphical potential of the CryEngine 3, developer and publisher City Interactive will be hoping their varied environments will end up looking gloriously rendered, from the streets of Sarajevo, to the lush jungles of Burma and the open mountain landscapes of Tibet. Various weather effects will likely make an appearance, and these will probably have a marked effect on both visual effects and sniping conditions. In addition to the potential for beautiful and dynamic environments, these environments will invariably allow for lots of different tactics and approaches to attacking their enemies.
Some emphasis has been placed on providing a multiplayer mode, which will allow separate players the ability to fight each other on a one versus one scale, allowing players to experience the intensity of sniping, with all its physics and conditional effects, against another player online.
As the release date looms ever closer, the question can be asked: will Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 outclass it’s predecessor in terms of class and technical prowess? Or will it be a sad, and wasteful use of the incredibly powerful CryEngine 3 for an off-target shot at a sniping simulator? We’ll find out within the next few weeks, that’s for certain!
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 will be available for all listed platforns from the 12th of March and is available for pre-order at all major online retailers.