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Sniper: Ghost Warrior† XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 5.0
Graphics 6.0
Sound 6.0
Value 6.0
Distributor: AFA Interactive
MA 15+
Review Date:
July 2010
Troy Mayes


Sniper: Ghost Warrior

City Interactive's Sniper: Ghost Warrior is a budget title looking to cash in on the lucrative first person shooter genre by offering the, at times, cash strapped gamer a cheaper way to get their fix of headshots and explosions. That would be all fine and dandy if, in Ghost Warriors case, budget didn't mean bad. 

In Sniper: Ghost Warrior you take on the role of an elite sniper who is sent deep behind enemy lines to remove an oppressive dictator from the head of a small island nation. It's the typical America saves the day from evil despot storyline you've played over and over again. While the story is simple enough the game doesn't even stay true to itself. It's called Sniper: Ghost Warrior so you think you'll be sitting far away taking pot-shots the whole game but you'd be wrong. A large part of the game reverts back to your typical run and gun first person shooter firefights you are accustomed to. In fact many of the levels see you playing as a member of an assault team and not as a sniper at all. It's like the team didn't have faith in their sniping moments they felt it necessary to throw in some standard genre play as well. What really compounds the annoyance is the team shows you what could have been in the first level where you are paired with a spotter. Unfortunately he doesnít last long and instead you are often tasked with eradicating island strongpoints all by your lonesome with just a sniper rifle, nice.  

Iíll admit that it was nice to see certain parts of a several stage mission from the eyes of the various teams involved, but I played this game wanting and expecting a cool sniper experience and it just wasnít there the whole way through. 

Sniper: Ghost Warriors frustrates gamers in a number of ways. By delving into standard FPS gameplay there were things you began to expect, like the ability to use emplaced weapons, which just werenít there. There were also things, which are now taken for granted in games, like not having to jump over the tiniest door frame that Sniper chose not to implement. It also seemed odd that a game about covert sniper operations didn't have a cover system. It just made sense to have it as it'd make concealing yourself a lot easier.  

Graphically the game is disappointing. Itís just a really bland, generic look that does nothing to make Sniper stand out from the crowd. Also you spend a lot of your time crouched amongst the foliage and there's a real lack of detail given to the design. Everything is pixilated, while the leaves often block your vision when youíre trying to take cover making the games stealth component a mute point.  Meanwhile your sniper seems to be like a ghost as he runs over and through the plants without disturbing them one iota and, occasionally, he has the ability to shove his gun through a rock. There are a lot of little problems like this that really add up. The games auto save feature also causes the game to have some pretty big framerate issues. The saves are regular, which is good, but they cripple the game when they occur meaning itís best if you stand around while they happen. Soldier animations can be comical as they constantly get stuck running into rocks or shooting at the ground, yet that last point can still, for some reason, result in you being killed.  

Gameplay is okay but itís made difficult by an AI that swings drastically between levels of difficulty. At times you can breeze through a camp in the shadows with ease, even when it looks like you should have been seen about 10 times and then other times soldiers will come out of nowhere and shoot up the bush you were hiding in. Itís immensely frustrating when all of a sudden youíll start to be shot from nowhere. Given the issues with AI it hurts that the game will, occasionally, block your path. I tried to sneak past a village with several guards by going the long way around. It required a brief walk through some shallow water where there were some low rocks. I could see the path to the next village just over the rocks and as I got excited by my ability to sneak past the guards I found I couldnít step up onto the rocks and to the path. The game was blocking me like it does so many times when you actually try to use strategy in Sniper: Ghost Warrior and act like a ghost by sneaking through a section.  

Unlike most games Sniper also does one thing a little bit too well, its bad guys are ridiculously good shots. These guys pull shots out of their ass and through choices in lighting and costume design trying to see the cheeky badgers verges on impossible at times. In a game where you are meant to be an elite sniper the enemy, quite often, is able to get the drop on you because you just canít see them. You end up shooting at random trees and other inanimate objects because they look the same as the enemies from a far. One thing that was really frustrating was the fact that you had to hold a pistol as one of your weapons. You could not, for instance, wield your rifle and a sub machine gun. Now I can understand why that may be the case for the sniping levels but seeing as they decided to implement standard FPS assault levels I wanted the ability to wield two high-powered weapons and I couldnít.  

The game features your fairly standard multiplayer modes like Deathmatch with six maps but the multiplayer, in terms of design, suffers from the same problems as the singleplayer. As a sniper you want to find that nice high up spot that gives you a good view of the surrounding area so you can pick your spot but in the entire game these areas are few and far between. Plus giving everyone a sniper rifle makes for some very cautious gamers. 

Sniper: Ghost Warrior suffers from far too many little bugs and annoyances to make it a recommendable game. Sure itís playable, long and the little random cutscenes when you snipe someone in the head are cool and probably the gameís best part but there are just so many better games out there and if you are desperate for a sniping fix youíre better off with the levels in COD4 and Modern Warfare 2. They are far more enjoyable and relatively frustration free.


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