On a cliff somewhere in the Middle East, I lie completely still and look through my binoculars. I scan the area carefully and finally find my target. I pick up my sniper rifle and start following him with the scope, patiently waiting for the right opportunity to pull the trigger. The moment I have been waiting for finally appears, I hold my breath and squeeze. Bam. It's a hit, the bullet hits right in the eye-socket and he falls to the ground. The mission performed to perfection.
Like its predecessor, the plot is not revolutionary and it is packed with stereotypes and clichés. We are in Kuamar, which lies somewhere between Lebanon and Syria and has been ruled by a ruthless dictator for over twenty years. There is now a risk of war after the dictator in question has been assassinated and his widow who has now taken power is planning a violent attack on a nearby region in revenge. Of course, this is not an optimal situation and this is where you come into the picture. You shoulder the role of Raven, a highly experienced sniper and it's your job to put an end to this madness.
I like to sneak around in games and I really love to play as a sniper. It's exciting in a way that few other elements are in terms of action, to me. The missions I had the most fun with in games like Call of Duty have usually been these types of missions, letting me play as a sniper. There is something special about trying not to be seen, to crawl forward and wait for the right opportunity and finally get your reward in the form of a perfect head shot. This is also where the game shines the most, it is insanely fun to shoot terrorists and the feeling of the weapons is really good, especially the Sniper rifle, which feels heavy and robust as it should be. Just like in previous parts, you have to follow the bullet in a slow motion sequence that ends with a lot of splatter and blood. Some of the animations are very graphic, as usual in this game franchise.
The maps are huge and there are a total of five maps where it is possible to move freely and tackle all assignments in the order you feel fit. I think this is good as it allows you to take a short break and try something else for a while if you get stuck in some specific moment. On each trajectory there are one or a few intermediate targets in addition to the shooting, which can be anything from interfering with satellite signals to transmitting viruses in any of the enemy's computer systems.
Even though sniping is by far the most fun and well-designed part of the game, these small goals are still a pretty nice change of pace. The size of the maps also means that it is not possible to just bash out quickly, this game requires patience and I realised that I need to explore and get to know the environment to be able to finish the missions in the best way. It requires a little finesse and just like in previous games, it is largely about finding a good place to shoot and since it is often at a distance of over a thousand meters, it is important that you are precise and calm.
CI Games continues to deliver on the fairly successful predecessor and for the most part they do it very well in terms of budget and resources. Graphically, there is no major update from the previous game, it is really nice in some places but not something that stands out in the action genre. The game mechanics are still quite clumsy but still fully manageable. The story is slightly better than the last but is still predictable, the voice acting is stiff and the dialogue that exists is boring. The artificial intelligence has got a little better since last time but it is never great, and it oscillates sharply between being very alert and smart enemies to be dumber than a train in the next moment. The slow motion sequences are still pretty monotonous but I still think they actually add something to the game. It's superbly optimised, though. I have, despite playing a little over fifteen hours, not experienced one single hiccup. On the whole, I have had a lot of fun, it can not compete with AAA shooters, but you when you look at the differences in development resources, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 still delivers a really nice experience.