The next installment of Sniper Ghost Warrior is here. The game’s a first-person stealth game with a focus on being a sniper, as the name suggests. It’s set in Siberia, Russia where the player moves forward to restore the balance of power in the world. Here’s my review of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts!
The story takes you through Russia where you’re a skilled mercenary given the objectives of assassinating targets & completing missions.
In Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, you play as a highly capable mercenary with certain skill sets and presumably, he’s a private & independent contractor. There isn’t much of a backstory to the protagonist in this game, all that’s happening is the mercenary is working for an undisclosed organization who employs the mercenary to complete different missions for them in Siberia.
The person representing the organization designates himself as the Handler and the mercenary you play as, the Seeker. In Siberia, the Seeker is contracted to assassinate targets & complete missions. As the game progresses, you find out more about the story and why the Seeker is employed to do what he’s doing. Towards the end, more details about the organization & their motives are discovered.
Spoilers from this point onwards.
After the training mission where you’re facilitated with the different mechanics of the game (they’re quite complex, but more on that later) the game takes you to your first contract in the Altai Mountains. It’s snowy here and set in the nights. The primary target is Dimitri Ivanovsky, who works at a secure military research facility where he’s made a bioweapon capable of mass destruction which the Siberian Government could use.
The second contract is at the Arakcheyev Fortress, still really cold but refreshing since it’s now sunny and set in beautiful landscapes. The targets are Igor Sekhov (owner of a large oil company), his chief strategist Leonid Nizhlev, and Igor’s wife Olga Kurhatova (sister of the Siberian Prime Minister, Nergui Kurchatov) although she isn’t a primary target – she extends to become a part of another objective since she has something we need – Igor Sekhov’s smartphone. Their plans are to sabotage oil operations by other countries to gain control over the Arctic, and our plans are to stop this from happening.
The third contract takes you through Beketov Valley. Dense forests, mountains and it’s sunny again. The only level where the ghost warrior won’t freeze to death in the water by the way, so go swim all you want. The target here is Sasha Petroshenko & Agvan Dorzhiev, and you also have to free a prisoner who was a former deputy of Sasha. The game starts to get more complex here with measures in place at many bases that block drones, jam signals, and it gets kind of annoying, making the game harder to play and really makes you go all Rambo (I did, but you shouldn’t. I’ll tell you why later)
The fourth contract is set Arakcheyev Fortress, another snowy environment and we’re back to freezing to death if you ever swim for too long again. Beautiful nonetheless and it’s just so vast – the game really impressed me with the vast environments of this one. The targets are Nikita Zaytsev and Antanasia Alikhanova, who are doctors performing genetic experiments, and close to making super soldiers for the Siberian government. There’s a twist here, Antanasia has a body double mimicking her actions around the base where you’re supposed to assassinate her, and if you do it’ll raise the alarm.
This mission requires a more tactical approach but if you have the Remote Sniper Turret attachment, some timing & strategy, it’s perfectly executable. Playing this contract made me improvise & think more, and really was the most fun one of them all.
The fifth and final contract of this game is set in the Sibirskaya-7 Junction, where it’s finally sunny again the environments are filled with factories & railways. At this point, you have to assassinate the Siberian Prime Minister himself, Nergui Kurchatov. It’s clear at this point that the organization that’s giving us these contracts wants to dismantle the Siberian government, but it’s pretty clear that it’s for good reason. You also have to execute Xenik Alikhhanov who’s his top lackey. They’ve been making missile systems that they’re planning to deploy prematurely without proper testing, the objective also involves taking them down.
The story of this game isn’t that deep or has many elements to it. There are contracts, given to you by the handler, to slowly dismantle the Siberian Government. There are side missions, bounties, and other objectives to do along with eliminating the targets The organization the Seeker is employed by, reveals their truth in the end after you assassinate the president –
I represent a powerful alliance concerned with the global balance of power. Our mission here was to regain control over the region. Unfortunately, Kurchatov’s government turned out to be highly uncooperative essentially has of restoring the balance of power. The region is even less stable than it was before. With your help, we were able to correct this error without revealing our involvement.
Shutting down Ivanovski’s project defused any potential biochemical retaliation. Removing Sekhov deprived the oligarchy of its main source of funding. Dorzhiev and Poroshenko supported the government from the underworld. They needed to be stopped too. Alikhanova was on the brink of perfecting super-soldier. She could be not be allowed to finish her eugenics research. Eliminating Kurchatov and Alikhanov was the final piece of the jigsaw
– The Handler, in the ending cinematic of Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts
Overall, the story was disappointing, in contrast, to the AAA games we have these days like Control, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, and Red Dead Redemption 2, but it’s still a decent story and paved way for a lot of interesting missions to play through. Something I really loved about this game was just the enormous maps – there’s even fast travel to travel to different locations and you really need it sometimes. Really, some of these maps will make you rethink how many different approaches you could have moving forward into every objective.
The realistic stealth & sniping mechanics are baked into the game beautifully
Sniping. Oh, it’s hideous how wrong many games in how sniping works, but that’s really just the difference of how those games are styled. The sniping mechanics of Sniper Ghost Warrior: Contracts require you to focus, put in the effort, be patient, line up the shot depending on the environment, take into account how and what direction is the wind going, and THEN take your shot. Don’t be overwhelmed this, I’m not the best at games with realistic sniper shooters either but after learning how it all works, some practice and letting go of the rage when shots don’t hit because of the twenty-meter variance from my scope and the target’s distance, taking a look at where the wind is directed before you take shots, I was pretty damn good at using the sniper rifles in this game.
The bullet cam element is impressive, but nowhere near the graphic bullet cams Sniper Elite games have, where every killing shot to an enemy, the game takes you through a beautiful kill cam showing you the internal organs and bone structure, how hard the bullet impacts that enemy, and the hard-hitting ragdoll animations. It’s just fine on this game, occasionally with headshots the heads roll off really hard as a separate body part and the bodies knockback really hard, but that’s pretty much it.
Be stealthy or you’ll regret it
There’s a high tech mask that you get from the Handler when you first start the game. This mask enables you with certain abilities that help you analyze the environment, spot mines, tag enemies and know their distance, and with some upgrades, it does a lot more too. There are also gadgets that you can use – a Dragonfly drone, a remote sniper turret, then there’s equipment like smokes, flashes, decoys, frag grenades, mines, and others too. Most of it is self-explanatory, but I’ll talk about how the drone and remote sniper turret works while explaining how the playstyle works.
The game really encourages you to take a stealthy approach through all of its missions. Trust me, don’t try to go loud, it mostly doesn’t end up working out at all. The game has three difficulty levels, and I chose the regular one. Here’s what happened when I went for an all-out Rambo loadout. This was my loadout –
- Primary: SVDM Sniper Rifle
- Secondary: Hunt AR65
- Pistol: Falcon IRM (Deagle)
My loadout consisted of all these weapons, without suppressors (I didn’t have enough resources to buy any more attachments). It was the first time I had resources to buy weapons, attachments, and player enhancements after the first mission, so I played with this loadout for the second contract where the objectives are to assassinate the incredibly rich owner of an oil company Igor Sekhov, his wife, and his chief strategist. The base where the main target & his wife were was filled with enemies, armored soldiers, turrets, and snipers.
It worked out for a while, since I was pretty good at offense and going all loud whenever things go south (which they did, a lot). But when I got to the main objectives, I just kept failing. I would take out an enemy that’s far and separated from the rest of the group, but someone around will hear the shot and go to investigate, and if I didn’t take him out as well (without alerting anyone else) they all start looking for where the shot was coming from, spot me, and raise the alarm. This happened so many times, I was naturally very frustrated. Even more so when I found out you can’t change weapons in-game or find any on the enemies that you kill that happen to be suppressed, so I had to play with that loadout through the entire contract no matter what unless I was willing to restart the contract, which was a big no-no since I had gotten so far.
Don’t be Rambo, it mostly never ends well.
Following a loud approach just doesn’t work well with Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts – the game really wants you to follow a stealth playstyle.
Don’t get me wrong, loud weapons do have their advantages with the immense power – the Falcon IRM heavy pistol was so good I could one tap enemies quite well in close to medium range combat, and the heavy sniper rifles do allow for suppressor attachments, I just didn’t have any. In easier difficulty levels maybe it’s a very viable strategy. But the point stands.
It should have made sense to me earlier, right? The name of the game contains the words Ghost Warrior and it’s clearly not meant to be played as Battlefield or something. But I just expected that maybe the loud playstyle also has a stealth element to it, similar to how modern Splinter Cell games did it with things like last known location, phases of them searching for you instead of actively hunting you down, and some level of leniency even after they spot you. No, not at all in Sniper Ghost Warrior. You shoot someone, and if someone is suspicious of what happened, or hears the shot, they will look for you. Some of the enemies have binoculars and they’ll start scanning the area. They’ll spot you real quick, raise the alarms, and there could be missile systems so they’ll literally bomb your *** too. Even if you’re in cover they’ll keep actively shooting at you.
Anyways, after the second contract and several retries later, I switched to a suppressed pistol and installed a suppressor on my sniper rifle. I’m good at stealth games so I was well acquainted with how this game worked, how the enemies react, and what strategies I need to employ while entering bases, completing objectives, and assassinating targets.
PS – Do check out PCInvasion’s Guide of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, it helped me a lot to play the game well and understand its mechanics!
All the things I said before that happened while I was playing the second mission still apply, like soldiers, cameras, and snipers spotting you quite quickly if you’re in their clear line of sight. But there’s grass, lots of cover, and pathways which you can take to complete your objectives without getting spotted. In fact, I’ve assassinated a target without killing anybody else except a few snipers & guards patrolling the way to the base the target, so it’s perfectly possible to innovatively pull off the contracts being a ghost warrior.
The equipment I had gathered after the first contract, especially the Dragonfly drone was incredibly helpful. I didn’t use the Remote Sniper Turret until I had a suppressor for it, but that was quite helpful later too. I could spot enemies, finally hack annoying turrets, find CCTV boxes with the drone. But sometimes, there are systems that block your drone, tagging enemies, and other equipment which make things way harder unless you disable them. I’ve mostly just sprinted through the objective while somehow not raising too many alarms in these scenarios, and after knowing how badly I could get my *** kicked if I tried going Rambo I just restarted from the checkpoint instead of trying to play loud anyways, if it came to that.
The game also saves checkpoints more often if you’re playing stealth and don’t get detected. It actually saves in between progression through the base you’re playing in to complete an objective of, which was really rewarding if you failed later on by getting spotted or worse, killed. Use the right equipment and skillsets in accordance with the contract you’re playing, get acquainted with the mechanics of how the game works, and you’ll play it just fine. It’s meant to be a stealth game, and if you purely treat it like that, you’ll see how beautifully everything in this game works.
Combine that with how wonderfully complicated the weapon mechanics for the sniper rifles are in this game, and you’ll start to really develop a liking to this incredibly realistic sniper shooter & games just like them.
Or, at least you’ll see the appeal in them. Overall, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts has incredibly realistic sniping & stealth mechanics built into the game, with big maps that make you rethink your approach, cool gadgets to support your tactics, and a story decently engaging to keep you hooked until you’re a ghost warrior. CI Games had its problems with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, with its open-world design & technical issues which they later on admitted to being too ambitious for their team, promising us the next installment is going to feature ‘tailor-made contract missions that offer a clear main objective and a fixed monetary reward’, and they seem to have gotten it right. The story of this game ends with the Handler telling us they’ll be back with more contracts, so it could mean there’ll be a sequel continuing the story!
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts gets a rating of 7/10.