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Monday 11 April 2005

SWATs up then? [Spiny]

T'death have had a rather long (at least by our standards) love affair with Red Storm's tactical shooters Ghost Recon & Rainbow Six 3. To sate my tactical desires while waiting for RS4 I picked up the just-released SWAT 4 developed by Irrational.

So, how does it compare with RS3? Rather well actually.

The first thing I noticed was that the pace was slower. Yes even slower. The shuffle/run of SWAT 4 is about the pace of RS3s walk as I remember it. Things like your reticule cross hairs come in much slower too. This means that emphasis is placed much more on tactics than any run & gun ability. (Heh, who'd have though that about RS?). Naturally this would kill the gameplay if your squads AI wasn't up to scratch & I'm pleased to report that it's pretty good. Certainly a match for RS3 & probably better. The enemy (or "subject" in SWATspeak) is markedly better. They behave much more naturally, taking cover, running away etc. Although I do miss the comedy value from RS3 of the "whatwasthat?" faux east euro accents. In fact the AI provides one of the most entertaining aspects of the game. I was initially sceptical about a shooter where the object of the game was not to kill the bad guys. The idea is that you get them to 'comply' by yelling at them before cuffing them with zip ties. Sometimes the hostages refuse to comply so you get to blast them at point blank range with a bean bag shotty "ow ow ow ow!", spray them with pepper spray "Arrgh my eyes!" or even tazer them "hey, look at the funny granny dance!"

The interface is really easy to use, although oddly missing the 'on zulu' stuff from RS to synchronise multiple entries to the same room. What you can do though is give orders directly to any team member via a picture-in-picture view from their helmet cam. You get to control the sniper this way too, for long range bad guy head'sploding.

I had a brief multi player session which consisted mainly of me dying - there's a lot to learn here even for old RS hands. Knowledge of the map layout is even more important with the reduced walking and aiming speeds. Most reviews I've seen have been giving > 85% for this, I'd make it a 90% for me but that's probably because I'm a fan of the genre. Once I'm through the single player I'll definitely be up for some co-op (4 to a game). Hou, Pod?


  1. Hey,
    I've been playing the demo version. Its nice but I found it has its failings. The eurogamer review is pretty spot on as to what they are.I'd be up for some co-op if we have enough people to justify a purchase.

  2. "And despite the Good Cop trappings, this really is one of the most macho games I've recently played; all guns, tactics and difficulty. "Slim: No elves in it.

  3. PC Gamer gave it 91% & were spot on about the difficulty. To 'get' this game you have to be playing it on hard or elite level. The single player game is superior to RS. I whinged on the message boards about bugs in the server browser & got a reply from a dev saying the're looking into the issues. Not bad. Just need ASE to support it now.