Sniper: Ghost Warrior may be hard and unfriendly, but the game found its core audience, which favors tactical shooting over all-out guns-blazing fantasies like most warfare of modern eras. Developer City Interactive recently showed GameSpot the sequel, which will still retain its lone-warrior-style gameplay while also adding something new to the plate.
Our look at the latest hands-off demo (specifically a "tech demo") with producer Michal Scrozynsky placed us in the shoes of one Captain Cody Anderson, who went under the code name "Sandman." He will be tasked with taking out military-issue hits mainly in places like Sarajevo and the Himalayas, since the focus right now is on cold areas with snowy, pristine vistas. The developers are using the CryEngine 3 for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2's graphics, and they've been putting a lot of work into graphical polish from the looks of it. Corridors and statues of the Himalayan ruins Sandman was supposed to explore looked really detailed.
One feature that made its way from the first game is a red circle that shows up on the reticle when Sandman aims. This was useful for casual players who weren't familiar with the game's strict adherence to wind velocity and trajectory when making a shot. New features introduced for the first time in the series include the ability to perform stealth kills on the fly. When Sandman and his spotter approached two enemies walking past a corridor, a simple melee attack while undetected resulted in a cinematic kill. New gadgets are also present for Sandman to use. Scrozynsky showed off the benefits of the thermal scope that spotted enemies not only in camouflage but also in snowstorms during the game's inevitable mountain segments.
The level designs for each map also seemed to be reworked. You now have ample space and positions to line up your shots for synchronized kills or single bullet kills against multiple targets. And, of course, the bullet cam is back to make every shot a player makes count.
The demo was capped off with an intense fight against a soldier driving in an Apache gunship. Even when Sandman completed his main objective, his position was still compromised. He rushed into the tower while avoiding gunfire from the helicopter while it was circling around. As soon as he was on the top floor, he camped in a corner of the balcony until the helicopter approached. All it took was one single bullet aimed at the pilot to bring it down so he could continue forward. Scrozynsky also showed off a later portion where Sandman and his spotter were escaping from the village to a less mountainous part of the Himalayas in the dead of night, but it just involved shooting a single person. There was also a cliff-hanger scene where Sandman was confronted by another gunship.
This sequel still retains its sneaking and camping mechanics albeit in a new setting, while also bringing back multiplayer online modes from the first game. Even with the developers admitting that they're still working on a lot of fixes from past feedback, the game does at least look pretty and has yet to compromise the game's original intent. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 will be out in the first quarter of 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.