Definitely a contender for game of the year, SWAT 4 provides a great balance of gameplay features with an easy-to-use interface and realistic situations. SWAT 4 is a tactical first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by Sierra Entertainment. This game was released in 2005 exclusively for Microsoft Windows. SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. As part of an elite force, you and your teammates will be assigned a variety of missions that take advantage of your training, skills and deployment of tactics, weapons and gadgets.
Absence of Story Mode Opens New Doors
There is no story mode, which is a good thing since players are facing different unrelated situations in each mission. The briefing before each mission is the only background players will get on any particular situation and it will help to make decisions as to what weapons and gadgets to use in addition to adopting a team strategy before beginning. The absence of a story mode in SWAT 4 makes each mission feel like a different game. The threats range from crazed robbery suspects to heavily armed intelligent terrorist cells.
Weapons and Strategy
Weapons, gadgets and tactics are implemented to provide maximum safety to all parties. The shotgun is not a particularly deadly weapon but if players manage to shoot an enemy in the arm or the leg with a high-powered assault rifle, more often than not they will end up killing them. Non-lethal weapons include a taser, pepper ball gun, bean bag ammunition, flashbang grenades, CS gas, and a stinger grenade render the subject in pain temporarily. Body armor will protect players but it’s no substitute for avoiding hits altogether. Considering how good the enemy’s aim is, that’s no easy task.
AI Is a Players Friend in SWAT 4
The enemy AI is smart, sometimes smarter than the player’s AI teammates. The enemy will run, take cover and wait for players to expose themselves or fall into a trap. Although gamers may give their teammates commands, they sometimes follow them too closely and won’t take the opportunity to engage the enemy when ambushed. It doesn’t happen all the time but the only way to guarantee this doesn’t happen is to play with three other reasonably intelligent humans in co-op mode.
Using team tactics really provides an advantage. For instance, when players converge on a door, they can use the opti-wand to scan the room and learn where the enemies are located. Then the team can take aim and cover all the hot spots before opening the door. This technique comes in handy even when players can’t see in before breaching a door. Using teamwork and timing to a player’s advantage is the key to good play in SWAT 4.
SWAT 4 Commands and Environment
Commands have been streamlined in the most obvious of situations. For instance, when approaching a door players will be asked if they want to open it. There’s no need to go surfing through an interface to do that. Depending on where the cursor is placed players will be offered a series of pertinent commands. All of the environments are heavily detailed – almost too much. The developers are really showing off here and it shouldn’t go unnoticed. When entering an office building there will be rows and rows of cubicles but each one is decorated to reflect the one-third of an individual’s life that is spent there. Some are messy, some are clean but most of them are different.
Each mission in SWAT 4 requires a different approach. Use of non-lethal force is highly recommended in all situations. If players are able to bring the suspects alive, they will be rewarded with more points. In most real-life situations lethal force is the last option. There may be hostages or other innocent lives at stake. It’s also better to have the suspects alive for interrogation as they may be deeply involved in political conspiracies. Thanks to randomly generated enemies, players will never know where they’ll be located when playing the same levels over. This is also true for the other multiplayer modes which include Team Deathmatch, Escort and a bomb defusing mode called Rapid Deployment which is a race against time.
Just when players start to get jaded and think that a particular genre may have run its cycle, a game like SWAT 4 comes around. It’s hard to imagine how Irrational Games would top this one because it’s just that good. Players interested in first-person shooter games; this is the one to check out.