Review by JW ACE
"Some cool new weapons and levels"
This is the expansion to Swat 4. Swat 4 itself was an underrated gem for all fans of the tactical shooter games. It put you as a Swat Element leader in various police scenarios. There was not any great multi-player, but some outstanding single player missions. The expansion basically adds more levels and new weapons, but that's not all it adds.
As with most expansions, the graphics are exactly the same. Actually, there were one or two spots in the final level where there was a graphical glitch. It was not much, but still very noticeable. Other than that, all is well.
Again, pretty much the same. Music is very intense in some parts of the levels. There are a few added lines to what the bad guys say. My personal favorite is Holy Mary after you flash-bang them.
Controls are a carbon copy of the parent game, with 3 small changes. L is used to drop light sticks to mark rooms and V is used to turn on Night vision if its equipped. One of the new features of the expansion is the ability to issue an order, but have the unit hold until given a GO code. You do this by holding down the Ctrl key while issuing the order. All 3 are very simple and easy to learn.
The game play has some changes, but overall it remains the same. You are still a police force, so you objective is to fire as few bullets as possible. Ideally, you want the bad guy to surrender, not die in a shootout. The scoring system is the same as Swat 4, more points for more arrests, and keeping the Command Center updated on all statuses. There is one new feature that is a great addition to the game play. In Swat 4, once a suspect surrendered, he dropped his gun and stayed put, even if you left the room. Now, unless you cuff him, he will get brave, and reach for his gun again. While the end result of this usually ends up in a lower score, because your teammates shoot the guy when he starts moving and you don't get the arrest, its much more realistic.
The expansion also puts some new guns at your disposal. The best would probably be the Grenade launcher, but only if you use it, the teammate AI does not seem to know how to fully use the launcher. This gun is great if you are trying to get a high score, because it's completely non-lethal and will make most bad guys surrender. Another gun is an upgrade to the ta-zor. This one has a longer range, and is just as effective as the other one. There are a few others, but the only other one worth mentioning is a more powerful pistol, which is a great supplement if you have the Grenade launcher.
Controlling your teammates are just as easy as in the parent game. You right-click to access the menu, and where you are looking indicates the direction you want them to look, or clear, or anything else. Another new feature, as described above, is that you can tell the team do something, but not until you say to go. This is useful for you to set-up in another area. For example, there are two entrances to a room, with multiple suspects. You have the red and blue teams each stack-up on different doors. You tell the blue team to Open, Gas, and Clear on your GO command. You then you set up with the red team, you give the command and then give the red team the command to Open and Clear from their end. If done correctly, the gas bomb will go off as the red team opens the door, and then the entire element is in the room trying to subdue suspects, which is easier because both escape roots are blocked.
Now, unlike the parent game, the expansion missions are all connected to each other in terms of the back-story. The first 3 or so involved taking care of situations where the small time suspects have bigger guns than expected. Later you start conducting raids on this Stetchkov gang, which is becoming a huge illegal gun supplier. The final mission is raiding their main warehouse, which is a very tough scenario.
When all is said and done, the expansion is just that, and expansion. It adds some nice features to Swat 4 and some cool new levels. I found the single player very satisfying. The biggest change to the multi-player is Voice over IP has been added. I tried this, and it worked without issue, and it's a great feature seeing as how you need good coordination between teams for it to be a good match. However, as with Swat 4, the multi-player just does not really match the single player, but if you liked it, then you will love this new feature.
If you liked Swat 4, then there is no reason not to buy the expansion, its only 20 bucks and should give you your moneys worth. If you don't have Swat 4, and you want it, then wait for the GOLD edition to come out as it will contain both Swat 4 and this expansion in one box.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 03/29/06
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