Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 Preview: Going for the Long Shot

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In Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, it can take up to five seconds for your bullet to hit its mark.

If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is – can you imagine trying to anticipate where your target will be in that amount of time? And the reason why your bullets can take up to five seconds to hit their mark is because they may now have to travel over 1,000 metres. These long shot contracts are just one of the new features to be found in the upcoming Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, a game that hopes to build on the solid groundwork laid by its predecessor.

2019’s Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts was a departure for developer CI Games. Designed as a spin-off to its Sniper Ghost Warrior series, it abandoned the large open world structure of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and instead offered up multiple smaller maps, though each still fairly large in size. It also brought with it a more futuristic angle, a snazzy new presentation style, and a more Hitman-like gameplay structure. With multiple contracts to be completed on each map, it was up to you how you achieved your task. Sniping was of course the best option in most cases, but if you wanted to go in all-guns-blazing that was also an option. As was sneaking in, silently eliminating your target and then sneaking out again. You might have even opted to interrogate a soldier or officer along the way, getting them to spill the beans on vital intel or troop locations.

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With Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts being a resounding success for the studio, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 unsurprisingly doesn’t fall far from the tree. Many core elements are retained, allowing those who have played the first game to slide onto this sequel like a well-worn pair of slippers. CI Games hasn’t rested on its laurels, however. Having played through the game’s tutorial and first region, it’s clear that meaty new elements have been added, while everything else has been tweaked and polished to make this the best Sniper Ghost Warrior game yet.

Set in the Middle East, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2‘s first arid region is fully comprised of long range contracts, somewhat throwing you in at the deep end. It’s intentionally more linear than the first region you were thrown into in the original game, too. CI Games wants to make sure that players are better introduced to the world and features of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, even going so far as introducing tutorials for customising your loadout and developing your equipment – aspects that some players were seemingly oblivious to in the original game.

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It’s perhaps because customising your loadout is more important in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 than ever before – you’re not going to be able to hit targets over 1,000 metres away if your scope isn’t up to the task. There’s also the calibre of your rifle to consider; with a more powerful rifle, hits on any part of the body are going to be lethal but it’s going to be loud. It’s not so much of a problem during long range contracts, but when you’re closer to your target, a silenced rifle is going to be a much better choice. When there’s a mix of close, mid and long range combat, some tough decisions are going to have to be made.

Getting stuck into the first region, I moved from one contract to another, encountering numerous groups of enemies along the way. It was up to me how I dealt with them – shooting them with my rifle generally wasn’t always a great choice, as the noise generated alerted other troops nearby. And so I adapted to each situation, utilising the tools at my disposal, and environment, to come out on top. A duo of soldiers on patrol, for example, were eliminated via a single shot of my rifle – my bullet exploding the cranium of one then tearing through the torso of the other. In another encounter I carefully picked off my targets via a handy sniping spot. And after that, I stealthily passed soldiers where possible, making use of my assault rifle when detected.

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When it came to completing my contracts, sniper nests had been handily constructed, overlooking large complexes far into the distance. Going prone, it was vital for me to first bring out my binoculars, marking soldiers and seeking out my target so I could easily track them. With the target acquired, it was then time to bring out my sniper rifle and eliminate them. Being in excess of 1,000 metres away, however, it’s not so easy as to simply line up your shot and pull the trigger. With it taking seconds for my bullets to hit their mark at such a distance, I quickly found that it’s nearly impossible to hit a moving target. Instead, you need to bide your time and wait for them to become stationary. Even better is if you can somehow create a situation that both draws them out into the open and makes them stand still for a short period.

It adds a rewarding new angle to the game. With fleeting windows of opportunity, you need to think about how you can draw your target out and expose them. You might find that opening a shutter allows you to get a clear view of your target during a meeting, for example, while a target that’s hard at work will be forced to take a break if the power goes out. And you don’t have to kill your targets directly with your bullets, either. A container dangling high above might be a good way to take your target out of action while making it seem like a freak accident. Or it could even be used to thwart their attempted escape via car after your presence has been detected.

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It’s easy to see the passion that’s being put into Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2. CI Games is doing all it can to deliver a worthy follow up. The visuals are better than ever, there’s more variety to the gameplay, and the AI has been dramatically improved to make the gameplay feel more organic. Get detected, and you’ll find that enemies will try and flank you – they’ll even jump into vehicles to hunt you down if you’re a fair distance away, or bombard you with mortar fire. It’s more accessible, too – along with the return of multiple difficulty levels, the game autosaves more often, and there are more save slots so you can go back to a more opportune moment should things go wrong.

The icing on the cake is that Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 also packs in more content. Along with a plentiful number of contracts and bounties, players will find that there are more challenges than before. When exploring a region, they’ll find that they have access to multiple starting locations too, reducing the amount of legwork required. Only players who enjoyed the multiplayer aspect of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts added to it post-launch will find something to be disappointed about, as this sequel is a strictly single-player affair.

Priced at just £34.99/$39.99, however, there’s nothing really to complain about. What I’ve played so far points to Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 being a near-AAA quality game at a budget price. If you like watching heads explode via carefully-aimed bullets at distances of up to 1,500 meters, be sure to keep this on your radar.

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 launches 4th June on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC

Pre-order Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 on Amazon