SWAT4 - The Last of its Kind

In a storm of sales and ongoing surging popularity, many first person shooters are fading to oblivion. Only those with the protection of a multibillion dollar company can survive. Originality and advancements are abandoned in seeking monetization of stale gameplay mechanics. The market for first person shooters becomes increasingly saturated as companies attempt to crush the others with massive capital. SWAT 4 had no massive cache of funds for backing, and while first person shooters became faster and more arcade like, SWAT was a fresh overdose of realism. Naturally, SWAT 4 was drowned in the great food, however, it remains alive in those who have experienced this one of a kind game.

In SWAT 4 you are a SWAT sergeant who has recently transferred to a squad consisting of four other officers. The missions range from serving high risk warrants, arresting a serial killer to dispatching homeland terrorists in their compound. The game has no overarching storyline or complex plot to unravel; each mission is a self-contained entity. You are not a grand hero who will save the world from an unimaginable danger. You are simply a law enforcement agent doing your job.

Unlike other tactical shooters, in SWAT 4 you play as a force of peace. Your objective is to bring order to chaos while preserving lives instead of ending them. Arresting suspects instead of shooting them and even avoiding shooting completely may be a hurdle for gamers accustomed to a "spray and pray" type form of gameplay. The game's pace is slower due to its realistic design. You and your fellow officers cannot sustain much damage before incapacitation, and what doesn't kill, injures, hindering your combat ability. The game has no save points or checkpoints, so if you die on a mission you are forced to restart it, as you would do in real life.

SWAT 4's enjoyability rises from the freedom it gives the player. As the SWAT team leader you control the actions of your four teammates, so you can play the game as a real time strategy or as a pure first person shooter, depending on your preference. However, SWAT 4 does not reach pure perfection. The only clearly negative point of this game is a result of this mechanic. I would not recommend playing alone because teammates' artificial stupidity is completely engaged at times. This can be remedied by playing with friends instead of the so-called artificial intelligence. If you wish to play without your team denying carrying out orders because they are occupied, standing stupefied waiting in a corner before they finally throw a grenade, which ricochets off a wall into your face, then play with a human online or by LAN.

SWAT 4 is an excellent tactical shooter despite occasional AI mishaps. It is best when played socially, however, be sure to warn friends of the game's difficulty if they are considering buying. For some this is a negative strike and for others it is a positive point. Those who play Operation Flashpoint, ARMA II, or Rainbow six either already have this game or would certainly enjoy SWAT 4. The game as a whole is a bit on the hard side, but if you are seeking a challenge this game is for you.

Thank you Kaelaholme, I thought for a moment I was the only person who had played this game, to the point I was beginning to wonder if maybe I had imagined it all. I would love to see shooters take different approaches to the norm, that's why a game like Mirror's Edge (Which is more a platformer with shooter elements) sticks out in my mind as one of the most memorable experiences I've had with gaming. but I digress, excellent review of an excellent game, thank you.

Admittedly I've never played SWAT 4, but what boggles me is why there aren't more games like it. I mean, the US Army and Marines have their sims, as do the armed forces of quite a few countries, yet law enforcement doesn't have any, the closest being SWAT 4. I liked the Rainbow Six Vegas games, but I disliked the whole "wallpaper the entire room with blood" approach, i.e. lethal force was ALWAYS the answer.

Edit: And what happened the realism difficulty as well? Games claim to be 'realistic' these days, but aren't that realistic/masochistic

I preferred SWAT 3, the AI seemed less idiotic in that one, though the graphics are far more dated as well.

I love Swat 4 and its expansion. It really is the perfect lan game.

I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

Flames in 3...2...1...

OT: Never played this game or its predecessors, and I don't usually go for online shooters anyway. If that's what you find fun, though, I can't really criticise you since I enjoy JRPGs (apparently, admitting to that around here gives you a coupon for one free lynching.)

I played that one too, for some reason (i'm saying that because i haven't played any other SWAT Title and other than Rainbow Six [3...and the Vegas ones although they don't really count] i'm not really into those "more realistic" military Shooters)

But yeah, SWAT 4 was truly something special, alone by thinking about how most of the time while playing, my index finger did not lie on the Left Mouse Button, but rather on the Wheel/Middle Mouse Button. At least on my Setup, that was the one that made your character shout something like "POLICE!" or "PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS" in order to intimidate hostiles into surrendering.
It's a special kind of thrill when you face enemies in this game that you DON'T WANT to shoot, but MIGHT HAVE TO, and you never know how they react.

Other than that, i also liked how they kept things believable. Every place was realistic and believable, without being "game like" at all. Wich can be also said about the missions, like the somewhat famous Serial Killer House where you might solve the Mission within a few minutes because there were only like two people you have to deal with, but boy was there potential to mess up the whole thing. And while the AI was problematic at times, the system/UI to give orders was very well made. And back then, i found it incredibly cool how in some missions you'd have snipers that overlook the place your in in a very limited view that you could see in a small window and even could take control of them.

Overall, a very unique and memorable game. Thanks for digging up memories.

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

You know, I would actually like to hear a defense of that position, what exactly made you hate the game so vehemently?

As a disclaimer, I'm not trying to bait you, I'm honestly interested to hear what you thought was wrong with it.

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

I didn't enjoy playing it either. The LP on the other hand...
http://spoonyexperiment.com/category/lets-play/swat-4/
Seriously, its more fun to actually watch the game.

I recently reinstalled SWAT4. It's very good, though the weapons can be infuriating at times, and by that I mean the moments when you fire a burst at a bad guy, it tears a diagonal line of holes in the walls behind him, and he headshots you.

In future I'd suggest putting a bit more depth and maybe some pictures into your reviews though. Your language is a little plain, but really what you want to do is get the point across without confusion, which you do well.

Kaelaholme:
The game has no save points or checkpoints, so if you die on a mission you are forced to restart it, as you would do in real life.

Haha, just had to comment: You do not restart in real life when you die :)

OT: Loved this game, loved the satisfaction of taking down a whole situation without having to kill anyone. Great to see someone else appreciate it.

SWAT 4 might be my favourite FPS ever (I count it as a shooter, even though you're trying not to shoot at all). I didn't have that many problems with the AI, in fact I think it's pretty good. It has some problems, like your squadmembers having close to no initiative, so that they don't really do anything without being told to. But the AI does have it's moments, especially the enemies.

A good review, if a little short. A little more depth would be nice, but still, good job.

dogstile:

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

I didn't enjoy playing it either. The LP on the other hand...
http://spoonyexperiment.com/category/lets-play/swat-4/
Seriously, its more fun to actually watch the game.

You're in my way with your ninjaing comment sir. You're standing in my spot sir.

I absolutely loved SWAT 4 and to a lesser degree the expansion. The open-endedness of the mission strategy as well as the planning phase that made the modern guns-blazing-cover-and-shoot approach implausible was what did it for me, as well as the fact that lethality was never absolutely necessary. It truly was the thinking man's FPS. Come to think of it, my only gripe was that there were often situations where your AI team-mates were far more harm than good, and it was best to just make them wait outside while you cleared a tricky room. I lost my disc copy years ago and it would seem that it isn't available on steam, does anyone know where I might go about obtaining another copy?

Xifel:

Kaelaholme:
The game has no save points or checkpoints, so if you die on a mission you are forced to restart it, as you would do in real life.

Haha, just had to comment: You do not restart in real life when you die :)

You don't? Damn you must be the only one.

i played and still play that religiously. sometimes still do with friends, in LAN (that was this thing back then, in the long long ago, when you could hook your computers together and play games in multiplayer without internet! yes, really! that existed).
one of the greatest shooters ever made, exept for the ever-twitchy stereotypical CoD crowd of guys that don't think further ahead than their next frag.

sadly, as the OP pointed out, the game had to end. not fun, clever design and gameplay are what makes a game today, but the fact if or if not it is simple and easy enough to be played with four buttons and a wobbly thumbstick. thanks, consoles.

[/rant]

Hylke Langhout:

dogstile:

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

I didn't enjoy playing it either. The LP on the other hand...
http://spoonyexperiment.com/category/lets-play/swat-4/
Seriously, its more fun to actually watch the game.

You're in my way with your ninjaing comment sir. You're standing in my spot sir.

I will punch you in your SOUL ;)

I loved this game so much. Always played co-op over the versus modes and loved it to death and actually joined my first clan through that called frosty's playhouse.

Was my favorite game and probably still is as far as FPS go. I wish they made a new one, but they would probably just screw up the formula.Also loved going through a whole mission shot in the leg moving irritatingly slow.

Valanthe:

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

You know, I would actually like to hear a defense of that position, what exactly made you hate the game so vehemently?

As a disclaimer, I'm not trying to bait you, I'm honestly interested to hear what you thought was wrong with it.

That's fair enough.

Perhaps the thing that got me the most, and I'm aware it's a fairly minor problem, was the movement speed. I felt like I was wearing boots made of lead.

One of my favourite games ever. For some reason, it seems almost mocking me to give up and play something simple like Doom if I can't hack a serious person's shooter.

I hate the grenade fumbles and telling me to move, but otherwise the AI seems pretty good.

Is great to be able to give your squad a wide range of orders, to seperate them into halves, and have them work in formation as a team.

In Rainbow 6: Raven Shield, if you tell your squad "Open, grenade and clear", they walk up to the door in single file, the lead opens the door, puts the gun away, gets a grenade, tosses it in, gets the gun out again, walks into the room and the rest follow in single file.

In SWAT 4, the move up to the sides of the door, get ready, nod at each other to show readiness, one opens the door, another on the other side tosses a grenade in and the first one moves in while the second gets his gun back and follows. Those two move forwards a bit, then stop until the next two have entered the room before going forwards again. So much better.

So many times playing something else and wishing it was like SWAT4, that I had door wedges or an optiwand, or that my sqaud would work better.

I thought it was brilliant although it could benefit from an update. Would be nice to see that guy pull up his gun rather than just oops bang.

SL33TBL1ND:

Valanthe:

SL33TBL1ND:
I played this game once. Was the worst FPS I had ever played in my entire life.

You know, I would actually like to hear a defense of that position, what exactly made you hate the game so vehemently?

As a disclaimer, I'm not trying to bait you, I'm honestly interested to hear what you thought was wrong with it.

That's fair enough.

Perhaps the thing that got me the most, and I'm aware it's a fairly minor problem, was the movement speed. I felt like I was wearing boots made of lead.

That is because it was attempting to be somewhat realistic. You dont run through a building to clear it. You try to move fluidly.

robert022614:
That is because it was attempting to be somewhat realistic. You dont run through a building to clear it. You try to move fluidly.

Though that's generally true, of course, I did end up wishing for a panicked run command, at times when I've being fired on but can't see the shooter, so I can duck behind something, or when someone's fumbled a grenade in front of me.

Oh, as an aside, do breaching charges actually do anything besides loudly open doors? Also, have they ever injured someone standing too close on the other side, never happened with me.

Hahaha I literally just watched Spoony's Lets Play Swat 4 - Mission 7: Full House... of CRIME! two minutes ago.

After watching it, it looks like it would unbearable to play by yourself. Multiplayer centered games are fine. But when a game pretty much requires you to have friends to play with, it gets a mark down in my book.

JoesshittyOs:
After watching it, it looks like it would unbearable to play by yourself. Multiplayer centered games are fine. But when a game pretty much requires you to have friends to play with, it gets a mark down in my book.

it's not like that. you can play it in multiplayer, and it's even greater if you do. but you can play it on your own too. i beat it on the hardest difficulty in singleplayer and had a hell of a great time while doing it.
actually, i found the AI to be pretty impressive. of course, it has some glitches, like any AI. in any other game that wouldn't be noticable, but in this game, where one minor wrong step can cost you your virtual life and the mission, it's annoying. but it's not like your AI teammates are completely useless fucks. you have to get the hang of how to maneuver them, get a feel for what rooms they can and what rooms they can't clear on their own, and you'll be fine.

robert022614:

SL33TBL1ND:

Valanthe:

You know, I would actually like to hear a defense of that position, what exactly made you hate the game so vehemently?

As a disclaimer, I'm not trying to bait you, I'm honestly interested to hear what you thought was wrong with it.

That's fair enough.

Perhaps the thing that got me the most, and I'm aware it's a fairly minor problem, was the movement speed. I felt like I was wearing boots made of lead.

That is because it was attempting to be somewhat realistic. You dont run through a building to clear it. You try to move fluidly.

And? It doesn't matter what it was trying to do if it failed to entertain me in the slightest.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked