Published on June 8th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
E3: Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 Then and Now
You might find Sniper: Ghost Warrior still hanging around the shelves of your local gaming store. You might have seen the cover and thought, “Well, it doesn’t look like a bad game,” or, “I’ve never really heard anything about it.”
These were almost my exact thoughts after seeing the game a few years back. After seeing an early build of the game at E3 2011, there was something about the game that drew interest in becoming a tactical sniper. We sat down once again with Senior Producer Michal Sroczynski at this year’s E3 to discuss the progress of the City Interactive sequel to Sniper: Ghost Warrior. This was also the first time that we had some hands-on time with it.
Some of you might have played the original Sniper: Ghost Warrior. It was developed and published by City Interactive, which is a Polish-based company. Although the game was pelted with many criticisms, the non-sniping areas taking the biggest beating, the game has now taken on a new engine and is in notably different in form.
The demo opened up to the game’s protagonist Anderson getting a briefing on his mission. He was instructed by his superior by the name of Wheeler to enter into Sarajevo for a reconnaissance mission.
When the game originally released it was running on the Chrome Engine 4. There were notable issues with items in the distance not coming into frame correctly while zoomed in and various other animation characteristics that hindered some of the games playability.
The game is now running on the well-known CryENGINE 3. This is easily one of the biggest improvements as seen in the opening sequence of the demo. The environment is no longer filled with flat painted surfaces, but rather grass that reacts to touch, swaying leaves and branches. It is also shown in the simple movements of your character. Crawling on your belly shows one hand reaching out after another instead of just slithering ahead like a snake.
The first title focused specifically around one area: the jungle. This left players to continuously run through similar looking environments. There were a few areas of greenery and water, but when it boiled down to it, there was nothing strikingly different about each location.
We’ve finally left the jungle and can take out enemies in new territory. One of these is an urban city setting, an earthy jungle setting of Tibet, and others like Sarajevo. This was showcased in the demo as we rolled through a train yard that had us wading through grass and under train carts just to get to our objective.
The game was focused around two types of gunplay. Sniping was the premise and the core mechanic of the game. Enemies were not to be alerted, and in other cases, wielding a Colt M4A1 was the only way out of a sticky situation. Which in the case of Sniper: Ghost Warrior, it became a chore to battle through these areas with the guns literally being hit-or-miss, even after firing point blank at enemies. Something that Michal also pointed out was that players were getting hit by long distance bullets from guns like the AK-47.
The game now features gameplay that is solely based around sniping. That is one of the reasons why someone would pick up a game like this versus jumping into heavy FPS combat that is run-and-gun, save that for the duties. There are various options when it comes to your style of play. It is possible to turn all of the indicators off and go at it bare bones using nothing but wind direction, bullet drop and the distance of your target.
The original multiplayer was based around two teams of snipers. You could enter a match and fend for your life, but never really find out where the sniper was. In certain maps, there were places above the actual map that enemies could hide, but you would only be alerted once they took a shot. This left them to shoot and then hide back behind the boundaries of the map not to be seen nearly once during the match.
The multiplayer again has gone back to focusing around the concept of being “the sniper.” Instead of this just being a simple “snipe-off” deathmatch style game, we now have a battle of patience and stealthy fervor.
In these matches players will be highlighted once they make a move that is not sneaky or quiet. This is highly contrasted with the original dumped in multiplayer which played like any other out there, but just happened to feature high powered sniping rifles.
The game also hosts a variety of other improvements within the game. If you played the first, you might recall a certain repelling aspect to the game. There would be an indication at certain points where activating the rope with the directional pad would allow you to climb or rappel into certain sniping locations. This broken mechanic often left for some comedic movements, at times rappelling sideways into the map.
The game rid itself with some silly equipment, but delivers with some other much needed props. Anderson is now equipped with a thermal view, which is essential for picking out distanced enemies, and tactical lenses that are used to paint enemy targets. Michal ensured us this would be used for longer shots, which is something that was lacking in the first title.
Something players will also notice is that the HUD layout has been simplified. There is no longer a view for the heart rate, which was something I did enjoy in the first. Instead you must rely on your audio skills to sense your breathing pattern for a steady aim. There are also new bullet views that are already shaping up to be side, or neck splitting fun.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 has improved by leaps and bounds. Michal assured us that the feedback was taken in stride and definitely shows in the games current state. The bug-filled sniper that couldn’t didn’t quite know which direction has put the improvements into its line of sight.
Although the game is shaping up for an August release, Michal did however shoot down one possibility that was mentioned in the previous demo. We had questioned about the possibilities of the game making it to Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U. It was neither confirmed nor denied at this time last year, but it was however confirmed that it would not be making its way to the newly releasing console.