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    Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 review

    Need to Know

    What is it? Sniper stealth game with massive, open-ended levels
    Expect to pay: $40/£35
    Developer: CI Games
    Publisher: CI Games
    Reviewed On: AMD Ryzen 5 3600, Nvidia GeForce 2080 Super, 32 GB RAM
    Multiplayer? No
    Link: Official site

    Clumsy title aside, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 wastes no time getting to the good stuff. After a briefing that explains your motivations and a quickfire tutorial mission that instructs you on the fundamentals of sniping, you’re prowling the desert of Kuamar, sneaking your way to the first overlook position. Time to first stealth kill? Maybe 15 minutes. Time to first sniper kill? Also 15 minutes, depending on your approach. Within half an hour you’re perched on a clifftop scoping out a container port over a kilometre away. You’ll never visit this port physically but your presence will be felt there, mainly in the cranial region. 

    Having gradually refined Ghost Warrior over five games, developer CI Games clearly understands the experience it’s after, and Contracts 2 delivers it with a quiet confidence. You’re Raven, a crack-shot killer-for-hire dispatched to the Middle Eastern state of Kuamar to prevent a war. Your target is Bibi Rashida, Kuamar’s de-facto head of state after the president, her husband, was assassinated by a neighbouring country. Rashida’s planned military response threatens to destabilise the region, inflating oil prices and crippling Western economies. Your job is to undermine the regime by taking out Rashida’s cronies, which includes rogue hackers and disgraced SAS soldiers, before eliminating Rashida herself.

    The excellent presentation extends to the writing and voice acting. Contracts 2 isn’t an exercise in jingoistic self-aggrandisement like Call of Duty has become. It takes a cold and darkly satirical view of contract killing and military intervention in the Middle East. The game is completely open about how your job is to keep oil prices high and Western economies afloat, an objective that leads to an amusing twist later in the game. On the lighter side, Contracts 2 also has some wonderful guard banter. They talk about their pets, complain about being henpecked by their wives, and wonder aloud whether they’re characters in a videogame.

    There are a few idiosyncrasies lingering from past Ghost Warrior games, particularly within the save system and enemy AI. Contracts 2 has an autosave system that disables itself when you’re either in combat or close to an enemy. It’s an unnecessarily convoluted system that could be easily avoided by simply letting players quicksave. And the AI really needs a secondary state between “passive” and “every guard in the area knowing exactly where you are.” Stealth games are always more fun when they give you a chance to correct a mistake, to stop a guard sounding the alarm or calling in an alert. Having entire bases light up when you miss a single shot is frustrating rather than fun.

    These issues aside, I’m impressed by Contracts 2. I like its Ronseal approach to executing its design, that it doesn’t get distracted by tacking on a multiplayer mode or adding a loot system. The maps are fantastic, the sniping is great, the long-shot contracts are smartly conceived and fun to tinker with. A perfectly enjoyable stealth sandbox.

    As seen on PCgamer

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