E3 2011: Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 Hands-On Impression

With the re-release of the new and improved version of the original Sniper Ghost Warrior coming to the PS3 June 28, City Interactive wants to send a message ‘We are serious about this franchise’, based on our recent Sniper Gost Warrior 2 demo at the recent E3 expo, shooter fans certainly have much to be excited about with this much improved shooter.

Again if you’ve never played the original title which graced the Xbox 360 and PC in 2010 and you have a PS3, be sure to get the PS3 version as it comes equipped with all the bells and whistles which were sorely missed on the competitive hardware. If you were one of those first adopters of the game for Xbox 360 and PC, then you’re probably not too excited about re-visting these jungles and we can’t blame you. Let’s face it, the game certainly had great potential with great setbacks, that for many, were unforgivable. Nevertheless, we aren’t talking about a franchise that has the luxury of making the same mistakes twice. There truly seems to be something special brewing in Poland where the game in being crafted.

Immediately upon entering our demo of Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 key developer Michael Sroczynski made it known that his team at City have been thoroughly taking as much gamer feedback needed in order to offer a much more memorable experience which the first iteration of the original title lacked. Obviously one of the most outspoken concerns surrounding the original title was the unbalanced AI. We were assured the AI would not be able to see us from a mile away while you are in a ghillie suit under 6 feet of grass in prone position. You laugh, but this was a serious issue. While the original title looked great as it utilized the Chrome Engine which is even more visually exploited for the PS3 version of the game, the first glimpse of our demo of Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 and almost instantly all was forgiven. Well maybe not all, but our room of viewers were certainly made to sit up and take notice.

The sequel is harnessing the graphical prowess of the CryEngine 3 tech from Crytek making for a game that looks incredible. Light rays are vividly cut through the smallest openings, colors pop with vibrant clarity and surface details are intricately balanced throughout the levels. Of course gameplay is the most important asset to any video game we like to believe however, it was clear City Interactive in addition to cleaning up the gameplay, wants to grab you from the outset of the game and trust me they will. Everything on the screen was pure eye-candy.

The first of the two demos was a level later in the game during the daytime in a certain part of the Himalayas. The main player was playing as a sniper with a spotter who was AI controlled. Similar to the controls of the original title, the controls are close to the first game in how you wield your sniper. Reading the patrol routes of nearby threats, watching your breathing as you pinpoint your shot and dependent on the distance of your target making the right reading with your reticule all still play a major role in the experience. My favorite is the bullet-time effect when firing your weapon. The biggest difference was in the blurred effect of the surroundings as the camera follows the bullet to it’s intended target. Upon impact the punishing blow leave a bloody mess which has also been improved due the tech engine.

As we were lead through our first level, the exchange of communication between you the player and your AI spotter sounds even more believable than before as enemies were located and engaged. Looking through the scope also gave a great deal of depth and detail to your target. While our demo was pretty straightforward we were assured that there were missions within the campaign where players can use multiple vantage points to take out certain targets giving the game more flexibility.

Whether walking along the wooden platform or on rocks, the sound of the environment really came to life. In one scenario the demo set up a melee kill moment where you and your spotter hide behind a wall while a mini cut-scene briefly takes place which quickly gives you back control of the your player just before letting you execute the melee takedown. Very nice indeed. Despite being a scripted scenario we have hopes of this sort of scripted experience which gives off an in-movie feel, be experienced in other parts of the campaign. Later in this first demo a double headshot kill was performed on two of the nearby guards and we’re told as many as three enemies can be taken out with one bullet with the right amount of accuracy. This first demo concludes with a cold-blooded helicopter takedown where our sniper which you control takes out a pilot in awesome shooter style, leaving our helicopter left to crash land in a vicious explosion which City Interactive plan to also make more dynamic before the game is available next year.

When asked whether SGW2 would place the player in any assault rifle scenarios like the original title, Sroczynski quickly stated, “No not at all. No need to try to compete with the Call of Duties of the world. We’re working hard to offer the best sniper experience on the market.”

Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 is planned for a 2012 mid-year release.

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