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Sniper: Ghost Warrior PS3 edition preview

The developers of Sniper: Ghost Warrior make no bones about the flaws in their game at the time of release. Ourreview of the 360 versionwasn’t exactly favorable, and one of the main complaints was with the supernaturally perceptive enemy AI, who could counter-snipe you from across the map… with a pistol. That’s just one of the many items addressed by the PS3 version, which includes updates from the original version as well as new stuff unique to PS3.

It’s a promising prospect, seeing as the core game is a damn cool idea: take the sniper class, something tons of FPS gamers specialize in with multiplayer games, and give them an entire single-player campaign based on sniping. Ghost Warrior ramps up the sniping detail by including bullet drop from gravity, wind shear, and the character’s heart rate. While this all might sound intimidatingly sim-ish, it is, but difficulty settings can make things much less complicated, providing you with a little floating red dot that does the calculations for you. Pull off a perfect snipe and the game rewards you with a slo-mo camera that follows your bullet from your barrel all the way to your target’s head, which sprays blood with sickening satisfaction.

Since it’s a game about being a sniper, it’s also a game about stealth. You’ll have to sneak around and avoid close combat to get to your sniping position. Another improvement for the PS3 version is more complicated calculations for how foliage hides you – the thicker and higher the underbrush you hide in, the better concealed you are. A handy meter lets you know how close you are to being spotted. The original version of the game had some missions that were more “normal FPS” combat to break things up, but player feedback showed that players bought the game to do sniping, not run-and-gunning, so the PS3 version will either have those levels removed, or placed as optional side missions (this decision hasn’t been finalized yet). One particular mission originally involved escorting a convoy on foot while an AI sniper covered you from above – now, that same mission has a role reversal – you get to be the sniper above covering AI on the ground.

The PS3 version is getting quite a few other improvements, such as spiffed-up graphics, two new bolt-action rifles for a skillful challenge, three new levels to the campaign, and a new challenge mode where you can go super-simulation with no HUD whatsoever. The multiplayer is also getting a facelift, with five maps from the 360 version’s DLC automatically included, and new modes like Hardcore and Capture the Flag.

It’s always nice to see a developer really listen to its community and make changes to accommodate. It also doesn’t hurt that for such a fully-loaded game, it comes in at a reasonable price of $39.99. Sniper: Ghost Warrior’s current PS3 release is set for February 8, 2011.

Dec 10, 2010

My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.