Entertainment > Morals
Notions of traditional morality and legality are essentially thrown out of the window when your average gamer looks for a decent shooting game. As long as it’s got lots of guns, decent production value, and some longevity, people don’t care if they play as a down-on-his-luck good guy character or a damn Nazi (a la Day of Defeat). This makes Contract Killer 2 a rather easy sell for most. It has a lot of guns, realistic design of environments and weapons, and a contract-killer framework that has you accepting bounties in return for your shooting/killing skills. If it weren’t for the heavy monetisation of progress in the game this would be an ideal title recommended to all, but even with this taken into account, there are some positives about the experience worth mentioning in this review.
Gameplay > Storyline
Let’s not beat around the metaphorical bush that is this game’s premise and gameplay. You play as contract killer Jack Griffin, a man wronged by a group or individual that fired a rocket close to your person, almost killing you in the process. It’s time for revenge and investigation (though not in equal parts), and from this arises the structure of the gameplay itself. You receive various missions from a mysterious female character, all of which involve completing missions and their objectives in return for cash and an occasional moving on of the storyline via cut-scenes (and not much else).
Though the story falls by the wayside somewhat after the initial opening scenes, the gameplay remains fairly consistent throughout. The interface is clean and simple, yet highly polished (the game is cut from the Glu Games cloth, after all). It allows you go into aiming mode by tapping on the crosshair reticule icon, as well as using the shield icon to duck behind cover, and weapon-swap buttons that allow you to cycle between the two weapons you can carry about your person. With this clean and empowering interface you’re able to control the action as it unfolds, and what unfolds is a combination of both long and short-range (melee) encounters with the enemy.
Missions and Guns
There’s a bit of variation that takes the game beyond simply point and shoot, and this is much welcome. Missions vary from the classic “shoot everything in sight” to escape-without-being-killed objectives as well as stealth missions where you must remain undetected.
The guns are also an important part of the action of course, and the roster of weapons is something worth sticking around for. Each weapon has a high-fidelity design which is implemented very well in the game. The true magnificence however comes in the audio and visual aspects of the guns. The audio feels spot on and when combined with the gun animations, you truly feel and hear – nay – experience the guns. They feel like they have a real kick when you fire them and like each shot is devastatingly powerful. Only the best shooting games like Sniper Elite III are able to do this, though don’t expect detailed X-Ray kill sequences in Contract Killer 2.
Annoying Freemium but Decent Entertainment
There’s a bit of annoying twist to the development of the game as a whole, and that’s the in-app purchase system. The fact that it’s there isn’t the contention here, but rather the heavy emphasis on monetisation of your progress. If you want to excel in the missions you need better guns with more ammo and quicker reload times, and you can either grind for what feels like an age for them or you can tip out your wallet in the Glu direction in order to speed things up a bit. Developers have to make money I understand, but the financial wall built up to impede your progress can only be scaled through gruelling grinding, or broken through by shelling out real money.
It's still a great game with high production values and a serious cache of weapons for you to utilise in the ample selection of missions you can embark upon. It’s a shame about the in-app purchases, but in the end they don’t impede the experience too much if you’re willing to put in a bit of work.