Review by TryTheVeal
"A Great Expansion To An Already Great Game"
SWAT 4 is the first game out of the SWAT series that I have played. This game is very unlike other first person shooters. Other shooters mostly require run-and-gun style gameplay, but SWAT 4 is very different. You almost have to forget everything you have ever learned in other first person shooters. SWAT requires precision in every moment of gameplay or it's game over. I had so much fun with this game. One of the greatest shooters I've played, not to mention one of the best multiplayer experiences in a long while.
The story in SWAT is a story not unknown if you haven't been living under a rock. It is a simple premise involving a team of five SWAT members fighting criminals and terrorists. Whilst being a fairly simplistic storyline, it has some fun and interesting missions. The story takes you to the house of a sadistic rapist to a held-up convenience store. The campaign difficulty can be customized to suit the needs of players. It also includes a custom mission maker. You can use the campaign missions and add custom objectives, add as many or as few enemies and hostages as you want. You can also decide who is designated a hostage or a suspect. Custom missions have difficulty that can be customized to your liking. You can customize any mission out of the game with any objectives, you can make it as complex or as simple as you want.
Like I said before, forget everything you know about first person shooters. Try and run and gun and you will die. Realism is the order of the day. One or two shots and your dead. At the start of every mission you select how you want to loadout. You can either select a lethal or non-lethal loadout. Basic gameplay usually involves you or one of your teammates checking under the door, throwing a flash, running in and yelling "Get down!" to the suspects on the other side of the door. If that doesn't work you can always taze them, or punch them. Sometimes if you shoot a suspect in the leg with a submachine gun, it can kill them. Which is kind of a downer. Other methods of clearing a room involve blowing open a door. you can either do this with a C2 charge or a shotgun shell blast with a special gun. Most guns have a flashlight at the end which you can use to illuminate your path. The enemy AI is also decently intelligent. They will not hesitate to shoot you on site, depending on their morale. They can also hear you coming, and will take action. One time, a suspect was around a corner, and he heard me pull the pin on my flashbang and ran. The only downside about the AI is your SP teammates will sometimes block doorways. Other than that the AI is great. It still makes for a great experience and the gameplay is very rewarding and fun.
Online multiplayer is where the majority of replay comes from, and about the only mode I use when I play. There are five modes of play in online. Co-op, VIP Escort, Rapid Deployment, Smash and Grab, and Barricaded Suspects. Co-op is self explanatory. It's just missions from the campaign played online with up to 10 players. VIP Escort is where you play either the SWAT or the terrorists and you either protect the VIP or kill him. Rapid deployment is where you have to disarm bombs. Smash and Grab involves getting a briefcase. Barricaded Suspects is basically just a deathmatch. The online is very enjoyable because the players are fun to play with and they follow the rules. You can play in either online or LAN. Online in my opinion is the best part of the game and the only reason I play the game. I hardly ever play the campaign.
The graphics are very nice. Even with my old Radeon 9270 128 MB it looks great. The environments are detailed as are the character models. Guns are detailes and nicely modeled, mirrors show reflections, walls show bullet holes. If you don't turn your head when you deploy a flash, the screen will go white and and you will lose your vision for a few seconds. Getting hit by sting grenades will cause your vision to go blurry, the same with non-lethal shotguns. The game also has bump mapping, but it runs slow on my video card. You shouldn't really have much time to pay attention to the graphics, but they are noticable. They make the experience better.
The sound in this game is very well executed. The voice acting is superb. Especially when you're yelling at suspects. The gunshots sound very realistic every gun sounds exactly like it should. Suspects yell and cuss at you. Hostages scream in terror. The superb sound makes the game engrossing and very enjoyable. It helps to have the volume high.
Good sound design
Sometimes AI can be spotty
Can be frustrating failing a mission and having to do it all over again
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/03/08
Game Release: SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate (US, 02/28/06)
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