Posted: January 23, 2014
A serious sniping game. Lurking in the bush, finding a good position and placing one single, perfect shot, only to sneak away unseen and leaving not a trace. Like the shadow of a ghost in the jungle. Sniper: Ghost Warrior is just about as far from this ideal as it is possible to come.
As a sniper, your primary tool lies simply in not being seen. This would typically entail you wanting to stay off roads, footpaths and other places where people usually travel. In S:GW, you can only dream of this. The area in which you can move is so narrow, you'd get claustrophobia if it weren't for the fact that it looks
relatively pretty. The catch is, there are so many invisible walls, idiotically placed fences (which you cannot jump over, of course), stupid fishing nets across the creek (which you cannot cut, even though you're carrying a knife), columns that just happened to have fallen just so, etc. etc.
The whole game is pretty much based on railroading of the highest order: You have
to go there, to that exact
rock shelf, before the victim decides to stroll out of his cabin. At one point, you are actually told
to place a claymore on the path "in case there's a chase". (Three guesses what happens just after you take the shot ...)
Sight adjustments though. At least they have that down, right? As if ... you're left relying on Kentucky Windage. Because the game is
actually simulating wind. You even have a wind gauge that is visible in the scope, to help you place your shots properly. That would be handy, if it hadn't been for the fact that the wind is completely random
. But they've solved that problem for you as well: You see, you have a tiny red circle travelling around the crosshairs, which tells you precisely
where your bullet will hit. All so you don't have to worry about boring things like finding the range or elevation relative to your target. Because who would want that in a sniper game. Oh, and is that magic circle moving too fast for you? Don't worry, you can just press shift to go into bullet-time. /facepalm
But they do have bullet-drop, so they have at least modelled ballistics to some degree. Yay.
So, you know where you'll hit before you fire your shots. Or so you would think. Well, you'll just have to hope that the chain-link fence through which you're shooting, is of the type that bullet's can actually penetrate. Because not everything is as it seems in this game. You can shoot through (some) walls, but not through all chain-link fences. You can jump up on a ledge only to meet an invisible wall 10 cm further in, etc. etc.
With so many things about which to be annoyed, it seems almost banal to point out that the level design is hopelessly bad (e.g. the obvious railroading) and that the scenarios are completely unrealistic. For example: you're asked to sneak into the middle of a military installation carrying a weapon whose optimum range is >300m. Luckily, the AI is so moronic, it doesn't really matter: You can be lying on the other side of a river, taking out infantry in a village chock full of them, and they won't bat an eyelid when their friend mysteriously decides to start the siesta 8 hours prematurely. 2 meters away from them. The loud bang immediately following is obviously completely unrelated. But don't try to walk up-right behind an enemy instead of crouching like you've learned, because then they've suddenly got superman-hearing and flash-reflexes and you're dead before you even have time to jump.
At some point in time, I think the developers realized that they weren't really working on the worlds greatest sniper game, because in the middle of the game you suddenly change roles and run around like a regular infantryman with an M16 or similar rifle. And if the game is lousy as a sniper game, it really sucks
as a standard "run & gun". Everything is still just as fricking scripted: The enemies come running only once you walk through the gate (which is of course your only choice of route) and your allies faithfully wait for you to be a pointman and advance the battle. Meanwhile, they're busy, locked in an eternal gunfight with the AI, none of whom seem to be able to hit the broad side of a barn. So it is in fact an illusion that you have helpers in the grunt scenarios. In reality, you're just as alone there as you are in the forest. The only difference is you're playing an abysmal infantry game instead of a boring sniper game.
Small blessings and everything, but I'm so glad I followed my gut feeling and didn't fork out for this game at full price, but waited for the infamous holiday sale. But even at todays low, low price, this game isn't worth it.