Game review: Sniper: Ghost Warrior

Sniper: Ghost Warrior is a standard first-person shooter based on the Chrome 4 engine.  The marketing suggests this game is aimed at those who prefer stealth and strategy over outright shoot’em’up action.   After a brief, optional, training run you are dropped into the action, sniper rifle in hand.

Visually I find the game very odd.  Environments are very rich indeed and this game features some of the best foliage I have seen in a PC game. Certainly better than Just Cause 2, somewhat better than Crysis, and yet, at the same time, you look at scenery such as buildings and vehicles and are disappointed.  There’s none of the beautiful detail that JC2 set the standard for.

As you start the game, it’s all pretty obvious, move from point A to point B, perhaps shooting some baddies on the way.  You quickly realise just how tightly scripted the game is, and how shallow some of the segments are, and you very quickly feel hemmed in by the tiny (I’ve been playing JC2) sections of world you can explore.

It’s when you start to move around that the worst part of the game makes itself obvious.  You are a sniper, wearing a ghillie suit and moving slowly and quietly around in dense jungle foliage.   Bullets will start pocking around you, you won’t have a clue where from bar a very vague red arrow in the middle of your screen.  What’s happened is that you’ve tripped over some enemy AI who’s managed to pick you out from a distance of about 150 meters.

You won’t be able to see him, but he’ll cheerfully keep shooting at you, not often hitting, until you stand up so your head is out of the undergrowth and eventually work out where he is.  By this time you’ll have moved enough that more eagle-eyed AI join in.  You die, you get to do it again.  It’s very very dull.

At this point you’ll realise that the sniping system is confusing and not very good.  Other than the target’s movement there are no real visual clues as to why the bullet mark is where it is.   It feels a bit random and sterile.

You’re not always just sniping, there are some sections of standard let-rip-on-full-auto.  You’re a fully trained, fit, agile sniper clearing out an oil rig.  Yet you somehow cannot make it over a knee-high rail to go down some stairs.  Eventually you’ll realise there’s a small panel you have to shoot to make a section of the rail disappear.  You’ll check your calendar to make sure it’s not 5 years ago.

The bullet camera is a straight ripoff, accidental or intentional, I don’t know,  of that given to us by Sniper Elite back in 2005.  Given the choice between the two games, I’d suggest picking up Sniper Elite and playing that instead.

If you’re really intent on buying this game, I’d just wait a bit.  It’ll be reduced in price quickly enough as it really is fairly poor.

Some Vista and hardware hatesta

As I mostly use my home PC for playing games, I tend to try and keep it
reasonably up to date in terms of both hardware and software. Earlier this
year my graphics card’s memory went a bit funny meaning I had to buy a new one,
then my gaming mouse started having tracking problems, so I replaced that and,
last week, the primary hard disk on my system decided to lunch itself. At the
time I was unable to determine if this was hardware or just the filesystem
getting spaghettified. Given the number of times Vista had crashed due to the
graphics card problem I would not have been surprised either way.

I decided to buy a new disk in the form of a 300G Western Digital VelociRaptor,
which merited a Vista reinstall. This then freed up two 500G disks for me to
test and perhaps reuse. I decided to RAID1 the two disks so I could have a
little bit of protection against disk failure. Obviously all my important data
is backed up properly anyway.

Windows Vista Ultimate 64 edition, Microsoft’s flagship desktop OS has no
support for software RAID1.

I’ll say that again, just in case you skipped over the sentence: Windows Vista
Ultimate 64 edition, Microsoft’s flagship desktop OS has no support for
software RAID1.

I can RAID0 the two disks, I can create a spanned volume across the two disks,
but no RAID1. After a couple of hours of Googling in sheer disbelief, it turns
out to be true. Instead I’ve had to, for now, hook up my two disks to the
motherboard’s RAID BIOS thingy.

I paid nearly £200 for an OS that won’t do RAID1.