The Sniper series has always been a specialised genre for a specific fan and sub-sect of stealth gameplay. Sniping has always been simple, but the Sniper series added all the real-life physics of wind and drop rate to add more layers to the genre since Silent Scope’s arcade-y gameplay. So what is new? A fair amount actually.
You are Raven who has been deployed out to the fictional middle eastern country Kuamar. You are there to assassinate seven main targets alongside some other bounties. You need to take out the dictators wife Rashida Qalat.
You start off with a tutorial mission that throws a lot of features at you. It can be overwhelming. The toolset itself is vast. You have multiple weapons and tools to take on the task of eliminating your targets. The map for each mission is large and there are multiple targets and tasks to complete. Other than scoping a military base from afar and sniping a target, you sometimes have to infiltrate and disable satellites or collect intel. The variety is vast. Each mission can last up to two hours easily. There are optional bounties and collectibles.
Planning your path and taking a cautious approach is usually the best option, but you can go guns-blazing if you prefer. However, this is more viable on the lower difficulty settings. There are four options; Marksman, Sharp Shooter, Veteran Sniper and Dead Eye. Each adds a layer of difficulty and allows you to play the game with the exact amount of challenge you want. I selected Marksman that gives you a red dot aim sight that predicts the drop rate of the bullet and the windspeed.
There is still enough challenge to make you feel like you are a real life sniper. The environments are large open worlds with plenty of places to hide. You can use your binoculars to scope the area and mark enemies. Built on the CryEngine you can compare this marking ability to Crysis. It works fairly well and even highlights interactive objects like explosives and security terminals.
You are contracted to take out targets and with each confirmed kill you are given currency that can be used to purchase weapons and attachments for these weapons. Certain snipers can take ammunition that is armour piercing or makes a noise to lure guards away from their outposts. The amount of options are akin to Metal Gear Solid V and it all works well. You can even use a drone to fly around to mark enemies and with skill upgrades use it to take them out. Upgrading your character gives you multiple enhancements too such as faster move speed and reducing visibility to enemies.
The missions are crafted well and even though the AI can go from extremes, they are fun to play against. At times impossible to get by and dying near instantly (thankfully the checkpoint system works fairly well, more on that soon), or once alerted you can literally wait for them to line up in an area to kill them one after the other. Once all enemies are eliminated you have free reign in an area. Auto saving works well, however there was one occasion where I needed to gain a key or pass from an enemy, but after eliminating everyone on the base, the map marked the location of the key, but the body was no longer present and I could not collect the key from the loot left behind. this was frustrating and led me to complete the other missions only to return later to complete. But this was a good 30 mins of gameplay.
Planning each step and going slowly is not to everyone’s taste, and it does take longer, but you can run and gun to a degree. Auto targeting on the lower difficulties really aid in this and purchasing and equipping suppressors to all weapons also makes this easier. One clever thing about the AI is they don’t announce when they hear a noise like in most games. So sometimes you will take out an enemy and a nearby one hears the suppressed gunshot and will come to you location to investigate. This has caught me out a few times, but it makes the game more fun and challenging.
Most people know this game as the one with the slow-mo bullet shots that are gratuitously gory. Which this still has and you can always reduce this. But this time the developers have removed the X-ray feature. So you won’t see any exploding testicles in this game.
Overall this game is really fun and enjoyable. The tutorial may be a tad overwhelming but the amount of content and the ways to play are near endless. Even after doing all the main objectives in a mission that lasted 2 hours I saw the completion of the level at 28%. Collectables and optional bounties add so much replay value that you could easily spend 20 hours plus in this game. If you have never played one and are interested in getting into the franchise, this is the one to do it in.
- Replay Value