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Sniper : Ghost Warrior

A first-person shooter from City Interactive S.A., "Sniper: Ghost Warrior" isn't quite realistic, but does offer some interesting scenarios in contrast to the usual shoot-em-up first person shooter.

"Sniper: Ghost Warrior" is an FPS centered around stealth and long-range sniping (with occasional forays into more traditional run-and-gun stuff). As the name would suggest, the sniping is the centerpiece of the game, with factors like bullet drop, wind, and distance all playing a major factor. However, the sniping process has been greatly simplified to be more accessible to the majority of players. For example, on most difficulty modes there will be a red dot that shows up while aiming to show where your bullet will go. Additionally, it is possible to hold your breath (which is essentially a slow-mo aiming mechanic) for a better shot.

The stealth aspect of the game is kind of neat. By staying in bushes and using silenced weapons, it's possible to keep enemies confused about your location. Once in actual combat, you can hold your own with grenades and pistols (or by picking up an enemy rifle), but you can't take much punishment, which prevents Rambo-esque fighting. Hiding isn't exactly perfect, but you have a general meter to indicate if enemies can see your or are suspicious. Detecting enemies is sort of weird - sometimes they'll be highlighted on your map, in which case you can see where they are and the direction they're looking in, while other times they'll be unmarked and you'll have to detect them through sight and sound (both of which are fairly limited).

Unlike, say, Metal Gear Solid 3, it never actually feels that tense; if someone spots you, it's generally out of your control, because listening for things like footsteps is extremely haphazard. All you can really do is hide in the bushes and hope for the best. My main complaint with the game, though, is that it's less about finding a good sniping spot and taking a long shot, and more about linear paths that you have to sneak/snipe your way through. There are some opportunities to set up good shots, but most of the game is closer to close-range combat.

The graphics are pretty nice, with the most obvious "show-off" feature being the bullet cam that you get for particularly good shots (mostly headshots). After you click the mouse to fire, the camera jumps to a slow-mo view of your bullet and follows it into the body of the unlucky enemy you targeted. It's pretty rewarding, even after you've seen it a lot. It's especially good after a really long shot, since you get to watch the bullet travel that whole distance.

"Sniper: Ghost Warrior" isn't a bad game, but at parts it seems too focused on action gameplay. It's got a pretty cool dynamic, but the need for huge numbers of enemies (Hollywood-style) sort of makes it less interesting on that front. The shooting mechanic was simplified to make up for this, as well. As FPS games go, it's pretty neat, but it's not that in-depth.

Rating: 7/10.

Purchased through Steam.

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