Today we take a look at Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts gameplay after playing around an hour during our visit to Gamescom recently. Having already rinsed-out the rather cool Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (SGW3) way back in 2017 we’re excited for this standalone game releasing on consoles and PC on November 22nd 2019.
First things first, CI Games change the formula somewhat with Contracts dare we mention the word Hitman too many times here. The demo drops players into an open-environment away from any enemies then offers multiple ways to tackle the mission. This time, a set objective of killing a specific target and retrieving a mobile phone from a secondary character is the order of the day. How you accomplish these objectives is entirely up to you. After messing around for about an hour trying various ways, the options available means whatever your play style you’ll be able to complete the mission and come out unscathed at the end.
From the offset of the demo, a conveniently placed abandoned lighthouse beckons. Once again players can climb using the familiar grab hold of ledges and holds to climb seemingly inaccessible areas. Once atop of the lighthouse players can scope the surrounding area with the sniper rifle or binoculars. Both allow for marking targets. From here there’s a stark decision players have to make. Do you start taking out stationed snipers before heading down and using stealth to proceed to the next area. Perhaps try and take all the patrolling enemies down before leaving the lighthouse. What about using the zip-line to go down and get up-close and take out a few guards. The choices are numerous and most welcomed. The level design is top quality here and the ways in which you move through it seems natural.
The guards whilst not totally aware of your presence even when quite close and prone on the ground aren’t slouches too much. Once they spot a dead body or knocked out companion they will enter an alerted status and either dig in taking cover or send out patrols to look for you. Whilst not too different from the SGW3 feels a little more polished this time. Obviously when the poop hits the fan then in this demo at least an assault weapon is an option alongside the default silenced pistol.
Sneaking around and plotting your route feels rather good. The intertwining levels here are large and well-populated. As does simply causing chaos from afar without detection. Contracts seems to really up the ante here for the better and not only looks really pleasing on the eye doesn’t suffer from any technical oddities as far as we could tell.
Sniping is still a very accomplished action as players take into consideration the distance, wind direction, wind speed and bullet drop. This time rather than having a dot on the screen to represent the bullet’s final mark when fired, a path overlay shows where the bullet will travel making it a little more challenging to get the shot right. Obviously when you do, and you’ve aimed perfectly for the headshot, the bullet camera kicks-in for a marvellous close-up of your kill.
Interestingly we managed (after several attempts) to reach the secondary area of the demo and move close enough to the main mission targets. Killing the main target was fairly easy from long range, but grabbing the secondary optional objective of the phone required a little cunning. We actually watched the target move towards the escape helicopter sat and waited behind some cover and grabbed her from behind for an interrogation as she walked past. Not always possible if the two guards remain with her. with new distraction options available it’s possible to take them out first. Perhaps it was the fact we had to restart this section after dying they disappeared making it easier. Either way, our next problem was reaching the extraction. With no hints or markers to guide other than the map it was quite difficult to find – in fact we ran out of time in the booth before we could reach it unfortunately.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts isn’t much different from the last game but feels like a polished version with a different approach. Akin, to the Hitman games allowing players choice in how to complete the mission. The game looks great, plays smoothly and should be a welcome addition for stealth and action gamers alike. This is shaping-up to be a cool game and a much more accessible game compare to the previous outing. Stroll on November then, as we can’t wait to play the full game.