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Review: Sniper: Ghost Warriors Contracts (PS4)

Sleek, silent, stealthy, a sniper can truly make a difference on the battlefield, and in the right hands, a sniper can change the fate of an entire country. When war breaks out in Siberia, one sniper, recruited by a highly advanced private organization, is prepared to take down tyranny with his scope. From CI Games comes Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts, the newest and fourth installment of the Sniper Ghost Warrior games. With the developers learning from their other works, CI Games has crafted the best game in the franchise, and a rewarding sniping game for the FPS enthusiasts. 

Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts is the latest installment of the Sniper Ghost Warrior franchise. Beginning in 2008 with Sniper: Art of Victory, the Sniper games are a series of tactical video games with an emphasis on long-range sniping combat, as well as stealth-action. Sniper: Art of Victory, and its successor, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, received solid acclaim from players and the press, a huge victory as the game comes from a lesser-known developer and publisher. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 was released in 2013, with improved sniping and stealth-action mechanics, while also providing a more focused story. In 2017, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 was released, proving to be a huge leap from the established formula as the game put the player into an open-world. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 received mixed feedback from the press and players, but overall, the game was received well by the community. City Interactive went on to admit faults they made with the game and pledged to do better in the future. In November of 2019, CI Games saw their pledge through the release of Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts, bringing the franchise closer to its roots, while also providing new ideas and mechanics for combat. 

Siberia is the closest one can get to the frozen circle of Hell itself. The nation saw itself as an invaluable resource under the oppressive authority of the Russian Federation. The people cried out for democracy and fought against their government in the Siberian War for Independence; however, with the assistance of the Russian government, the civil war was brought to a swift end. From the ashes of the war came the spark of resistance. While the resistance fights the oppressive Russian-backed regime, a lone mercenary infiltrates the battle zone. Recruited by a mysterious, but highly-advanced organization, this mercenary is designated Seeker. Seeker is given state-of-the-art equipment, including a strange but highly effective mask that shields his identity but also synchronizes with his equipment. While this organization hides its true intents, it is offering big financial rewards for completing objectives and accomplishing contracts. Facing a hostile climate and an overwhelming enemy force, Seeker sets off to earn big money, and perhaps make a difference in the lives of others. One bullet can make a big paycheck. 

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is a stealth-action first-person shooter, with an emphasis on sniping. Players partake in one of several missions that are presented as large battlefields filled with multiple contracts and objectives to complete with some being secretly hidden throughout the battlefield. Seeker is proficient in the use and operation of long-range sniper rifles, as well as close-quarters stealth combat. Players begin with a basic sidearm and sniper rifle but will be able to access more weapons and accessories as they progress through the game. The state-of-the-art technology the player uses is synchronized with each other. The mysterious mask that is worn has the ability to see various vision modes, including the ability to tag enemies and locate paths. This is effective for properly identify targets and better planning on how to undergo missions. 

A view through the Sniper Scope. players need to consider their rifle dynamics, gravity, wind, and angle to achieve the best possible shot. A dotted line helps guide the shot when aiming.

For players starting Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts for the very first time, it is highly recommended to play on the “Easy” difficulty setting, as Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is enjoyably challenging, but can be hard for beginners. This is most especially true with starting equipment, as the starter rifle and mask features may make the first mission a little harder than expected on “Normal” difficulty. Each level of Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts takes place on active battlefields, teeming with enemy soldiers. Siberia is filled with towering mountains and frozen tundra to explore, as well as to overcome. The environment will be both a challenge, as well as an advantage. Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts loads each mission with a plethora of contracts to complete. The primary contracts are mandatory for level completion. Challenges and bounties are completely optional but highly recommended. Every contract and challenge completed yields a big reward and the rewards go towards more weapons, devices, and enhancements for gear. 

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts gameplay is the best it’s ever been, as well as irresistibly rewarding. The contracts for each level can be completed in any order, creating a multitude of opportunities and tactical options. Thinking intelligently is imperative to survival and success. Through the mask binoculars, and surveying from vantage points, enemies can be identified and special paths can be used to infiltrate heavily defended areas. Sniping explosives barrels, radar dishes, and lights assist in maintaining a stealth profile. The variety of gadgets, from decoys to mines and drones, give more tactical opportunities for eliminating enemy personnel. 

Knife-attacks silently dispatch enemies, but they allow for the interrogation of special targets for useful intel, as well as acquiring items and funds.

The main highlight of Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is the sniping combat, and when done well, it is immensely satisfying. The game finds its place comfortably between a hardcore simulator and a more simplified arcade experience. To properly eliminate an enemy in Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts,  players must take into account the elements, such as the wind, angle, gravity and ballistics. Each rifle is completely different from the next and responds differently in combat. Some rifles are heavy but will destroy the target in a single hit. Others are lighter and quieter but need a headshot for a one-shot kill. To assist, the mask can properly calculate the bullet trajectory. When done correctly, Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts properly displays the amazing shot, through a slow-motion camera of the bullet leaving the barrel and entering your target. The sniping combat is very pleasing, especially with the variety of rifles to use. Additionally, special attachments allow for the use of special bullets for your rifle, such as gas rounds and explosive rounds. When enemies get too close, the sidearm can be used, as well as throwing knives, or secondary firearms, such as an assault rifle. Knife attacks are most effective at close-range and are useful in interrogating specific soldiers for information. Just make sure you loot bodies or else you’ll find yourself running out of ammunition, health, and money.

Perhaps the only real drawback in Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts are the limited levels. There are 5 levels in Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts, each one with a series of contracts and bonus objectives. The arrangement of the objectives requires repeat playthroughs. This is incredibly entertaining as it invites players to try things differently with each playthrough, though, it does cause a degree of repetition. If the game offered ten levels, that would have sweetened the deal of an already incredibly engaging game. More levels would have provided more tactical capabilities and possibilities, given the nature of the open-world levels. I could have easily imagined using the game’s mechanics in an airport, civilian town, or space center, as well as a larger selection of targets and scenarios.  However, each level that exists in Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is significantly replayable, with multiple challenges, contracts, and difficulties.  

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is a wonderfully solid stealth-action game. Its mechanics are familiar but refreshingly new, with a rewarding sense of gameplay that constantly scratches the itch of reward. Every contract completed is a fist pump of victory, and every challenge or secondary objective accomplished is another leap for joy as a good paycheck check out.  CI Games has been hard at work with their own Sniper formula, and after several generations and multiple installments, the studio has cracked the formula to make the Sniper series distinct, engaging, and fun. Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is a great game. 

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Price: $39.99

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 System, thanks to a key provided through Terminals.Io from Evolve PR

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