You never hear the bullet that kills you, or so they say. Neither do you foresee the magic bullet that saves you - at least, City Interactive didn't. 2010's Sniper: Ghost Warrior, a budget release from the Polish publisher known only for its low-rent productions, unexpectedly changed the lives of its creators.
The game, a first-person shooter that draws heavy influence from the sniping missions in Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare titles, sold more than 2.5 million copies in the 12 months following its unassuming release, generating profits in excess of $25 million and booting its maker from the low leagues towards blockbuster development. As such, this sequel arrives bedecked in Cry Engine 3 colours with 10 missions spread across a three-act structure, all pieced together by a greatly extended team.
The kernel of appeal at the heart of any sniper game is the rhythm of planning and execution as you wiggle down in the dust, hold a finger to the air to estimate wind strength and direction and line up a reticule on a target 800-odd metres away. Ghost Warrior 2 pays off a well judged shot with a lingering slow-motion camera that tracks the bullet as it twists through the breeze. Then, a hit pause before it enters your target's body with a crunch and a splat. There's none of Sniper Elite V2's X-ray pornography here, revealing the bullet puncturing a lung or severing a testicle, but the effect is similar: a mixture of light titillation at the fatal power you wield over an unsuspecting person, and light disgust at the way in which you've chosen to express it.