Sniper: Ghost Warrior is a strange game to behold. Most first person shooters have a sniping section in them and they are usually regarded as a bit of a treat; a welcome break from the chaotic action usually going on all around you. Sniper: Ghost Warrior is a game made up entirely of sniping sections with a couple of chaotic action scenes thrown in to break up the generally quite slow pace.
On the outside, the game looks like your standard Modern Warfare clone. Bland military characters, dialogue you cannot understand without doing a five year tour and loading screens of aerial scans zooming in to the map whilst some commander types babble on about your objective. So far, so boring. However, getting into the gameplay reveals that your normal Call of Duty tactics won't work here. Standing up will reveal your position and you will be punished for this by being torn apart by gunfire and sent kicking and screaming back to the last checkpoint. Yes stealth is the name of the game here and it is very refreshing to see.
Visually the game is nothing special to behold. The developers have gone for a realistic look to the whole game but haven't added the graphical detail that is demanded of realism these days so we are left with an uninspired visual style that almost looks last generation. Additionally it is extremely glitchy and it is not unusual to find guns balancing in ways that are completely oblivious to gravity. I also encountered a potentially game breaking glitch of a level loading persistently with the floor being present but not solid so I would fall graphical obscurity every time I crouched. Despite all this, I am inclined to forgive the game its misgivings for having the courage to not be set in your traditional war torn country filled with bits of building, opting instead for the more rarely seen jungle environments.
Another thing that I found extremely annoying is the fact that many small objects (such as twigs or rocks) are deemed too high for you to crawl over requiring you to stand up or in some cases jump over the obstacle. This would be a pain in your average FPS but in a game where remaining undetected can mean the difference between a trophy and replaying 20 minutes of crawling through grass, these things really matter.
However I was impressed by the games reliance on stealth and the sly attempts to try something different to most shooters these days. For instance, this is one of the few modern games returning to the traditional health pack system as opposed to hiding behind a rock, licking your wounds until the red sheen disappears from your screen and the distracting heartbeat stops. The difficulty of this game is also worth mentioning. Even on lower difficulties, you will inevitably spend a long time lying in long grass, memorising the routes of the guards and picking your moment to pick them off when they come just that bit too far away from their squad. Obviously this isn't every ones cup of tea and even those that love this sort of thing will get bored as it will wear very thin due to the lack of interesting story or emotional investment in the characters. In addition the action sections are not very well thought out as you are usually stuck with a sniper rifle; possibly the worst weapon to use when surrounded by 6 guards within 10 metres of you. So you usually end up running to your map marker and hope that they will lose sight of you.
Multiplayer is present but many will soon be bored. Stealth is one thing that very rarely works in multi-player (save Assassins Creed: Brotherhood) due to human characters not willing to move out of their perfectly chosen cover. This can generally lead to a thoroughly uneventful experience which will not satisfy the cravings of most multiplayer fanatics.
All in all, Sniper: Ghost Warrior is an enjoyable but flawed game. It is a shame that more effort wasn't put into it because the small problems that plague it are the ones that ruin the game the most. Some may find it boring but those who enjoyed the old Metal Gear Solid and Thief games may find something to get their teeth into
6.5 out of 10