Sniper: Ghost Warrior is a 2010 first person shooter from City Interactive, following U.S. Army Special Forces troops attempting to bring down the Latin American dictatorship of Isla Trueno. For the most part the game alternates between two characters; Sergeant Tyler Wells, a sniper and Cole Anderson, a Delta Force operator. Wells' sections are largely stealth based and have semi-realistic sniper mechanics including bullet drop and wind adjustment whilst Anderson's sections are traditional open combat with a small team supporting him. It later received an expansion pack entitled Second Strike, depicting the sniper team being sent to another Latin American country to hunt down Isla Truenan remnants.
There was a sequel in 2013 made using the Crysis 2 version of CryEngine, following the further adventures of Cole Anderson. A third game in the series was released in 2017, this time being a Far Cry style open-world sandbox game, as well as the first game by City Interactive with a AAA level budget. The player takes the role of Marine sniper Jon North, who is sent to Georgia to help battle Georgian Separatists while also attempting to discover the fate of his kidnapped brother, and ends up stumbling into an international conspiracy fueled by mad science. The fourth game, Contracts is set in the harsh terrain of Siberia.
Compare and contrast Sniper Elite, an earlier more well known third person sniper game with many of the same sniping mechanics, only Bloodier and Gorier aside from being set in World War II and having a zombie spinoff.
Distinct tropes of this game:
- A.K.A.-47: Used extensively, including a literal one in the main assault rifle carried by enemies in the third game.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Apart from main characters Wells and Anderson you spend a small amount of time as Wells' spotter O'Neil and local rebel El Tejon.
- A Winner Is You/No Ending: After firing the kill shot on General Vasquez the game goes straight to the credits without any debrief or even depiction of the getaway. The end of Second Strike isn't much better but at least you get a cutscene of your long range shot killing Mendoza's helicopter pilot and the subsequent explosive crash
- Banana Republic: Isla Trueno, a typical, jungle filled, Latin American, cocaine funded dictatorship. Meanwhile the expansion is set in an unnamed country referred to as "one of the Latin American Republics" although the presence of a local drug lord with ties to the Mexican cartels could hint that it is Colombia.
- BFG: The Artic Warfare AS50 Anti Matariel rifle. For bonus points the one time it is compulsory to use you have to time your shots with jets flying over to avoid alerting everyone in the area.
- Big Bad: General Vasquez. Jesus Mendoza in the expansion.
- Boom, Headshot!: Encouraged by a fancy bullet cam effect when you pull one off but not totally necessary as any rifle hit to the body will usually be a one hit kill.
- Bullet Time: Plays whenever you pull off a sniper head shot or a double kill.
- The Cartel: Appear in the background to buy the cocaine grown by the Isla Truenan government. More prominently two Latin drug lords (one Mexican, one from the local banana republic appear in the final level of the expansion to organise cocaine shipments with the Isla Truenan remnants.
- Death from Above: One segment has the sniper and Delta teams marking coca fields for airstrikes.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: All of the U.S. Soldiers to appear in the game are some kind of special forces, although only the Delta Force team have their exact credentials mentioned
- Evil Wears Black: Jesus Mendoza from the expansion campaign dresses all in black, complete with black gloves and a wide-brim black hat, making him look rather like Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- FaceHeel Turn: Undercover CIA agent Mike Rodriguez, who turns on Wells during the mission to capture nuclear warhead plans it's left unclear whether he was a traitor from before the game began or if he decided to sell out when the mission revealed valuable nuclear weapons schematics, although the latter seems most likely given that Vasquez only survived the first assassination attempt due to a complete freak accident.
- Friendly Sniper: Sergeant Wells is a very efficent killer but prone to cheerful banter with his spotter O'Neil and the Delta Force team.
- Genre Shift: The first two games in the series are pretty standard military fiction within "real-world" plot parameters. The third game is mostly this as well, but introduces genetically engineered super-soldiers as a major plot point about 2/3rds of the way through the game. The "sci-fi" elements are less unrealistic than in, say, the first Far Cry game (which had a very similar plot turn), as the super-soldiers still behave like more or less human soldiers with somewhat more health and better skill/reflexes. Contracts takes the sci-fi element even further, with the main character, the Seeker, having a special mask that serves to justify every HUD element (like the Dynamic Reticle System, and highlighting points of interest), as well as having a suit that absorbs fall damage and regenerates his health.
- Hellish Copter: How Jesus Mendoza is killed in the expansion.
- Hollywood Silencer: Attached to the Mark 23 pistols all the U.S. characters use and many of the sniper rifles. Averted in the third game where, silenced or no, sniper rifles still make a pretty loud noise.
- Instant Knots: Wells and O'Neil both carry grappling hooks for climbing into trees or up the side of buildings.
- Justified Tutorial: The optional tutorial has Sergeant Wells demonstrating various techniques for a group of sniper school recruits.
- Knife Nut: Most of the time Wells carries a bunch of throwing knives. Handy for stealth segments (if you can get close enough to use and retrieve them) as they are totally silent and one hit kills.
- La Résistance: A group led by a rebel named El Tejon appear late in the game and rescue Sergeant Wells after he is betrayed by Rodriguez.
- More Dakka: Mounted machine guns.
- Nintendo Hard: This game is a lot harder than a typical first-person shooter, largely because the enemy soldiers will lock onto you instantly once you're spotted, and can hit you with pinpoint accuracy from several hundred feet away. Other than the (relatively miserly) regenerating health, the game balance is much closer to tactical shooters like ARMA or Operation Flashpoint.
- No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted, sniper shots have to compensate for both bullet drop and the effect of the wind. Handily on easy and regular difficulties keeping the rifle stable makes a dot showing where the shot will actually go appear.
- One-Hit Polykill: Completely possible with sniper shots and rewarded with the bullet cam effect.
- Regenerating Health: Health regenerates back to 30% on its own but to heal more than that you need a medkit.
- Stealth-Based Mission: Most of the sniper teams levels are to some extent, but particularly enforced on some (generally involving infiltrating a base) where getting spotted results in either a nonstandard game over or alarms that bring more enemies than you can handle.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: in Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, Cole Anderson, the main character from the previous 2 games, shows up near the end of the game as a prisoner of the bad guys, having been tortured to the brink of death. With his wounds too severe to recover from, he has you leave him a pistol so he can die with dignity.
- The Remnant: The expansion pack features the sniper team in another country hunting down the remnants of the Isla Truenan dictatorship led by Jesus Mendoza, son of the villain of the main game.
- Too Awesome to Use: Averted. Your inventory is reset to full ammo and 3 out of 5 health syringes at the beginning of each level, so there's no real point in trying to save resources for later.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The out and out combat of the Delta Force missions isn't that unexpected as the tutorial includes assault rifle use, but the game gives no foreshadowing of the spotter missions where you mark targets for Wells with binoculars or the railshooter section.
- Unflinching Walk: Wells and the Delta Force team as they walk away from the destruction of the uranium mine at the end of the penultimate level.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted in the first game, in which you can pick up enemy firearms, although picking up an assault rifle means dropping your sniper rifle, which you need for many segments of the game (although these sniping segments usually have a Dragunov sniper rifle nearby in case you actually did throw away your sniper rifle earlier).