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Review by: Josh Horowitz
Published: May 6, 2005
While many people these days seem to be preoccupied with the ongoing situation in Iraq and global terrorism in general, it’s important to recognize the contributions of the men and women in law enforcement protecting the nation domestically. Organized crime, gang violence, and high profile robbery has escalated over the years, requiring police agencies nationwide to organize elite units to handle homeland problems quickly and effectively. These are the Special Weapons and Tactics units known as SWAT, and they are respected around the world for their military precision and effectiveness in securing situations and saving lives. Now, after a few years hiatus, Irrational Games has developed a new first-person tactical simulation of the SWAT experience in their latest iteration of the series, SWAT 4.
In SWAT 4, players take the role of element leader of a team of five highly trained, heavily armed officers. Their goal is to bring order to chaos throughout a series of 13 single-player scenarios, including high-risk arrest warrants, hostage rescue, and infiltration. Players will visit a wide variety of locations, from small convenience stores and apartment buildings, to laboratories, hospitals, and a fortified three-story jewelry business after a bungled robbery. Like a real SWAT team, players will get a chance to assess the situation prior to entering it with guns blazing. Each scenario has a detailed briefing and most missions provide floor layouts and various entry points to give SWAT an advantage over the bad guys.
SWAT 4‘s single-player experience includes a training mode, 13 career missions, an Instant Action mode, and the ability to create custom SWAT missions. This version of SWAT also includes a multiplayer mode supporting up to 16 players over LAN or the Internet via GameSpy Arcade. There are three competitive, team-based multiplayer modes, as well as a co-op mode that lets players retry any of the single-player career missions with human teammates.
Unlike most first person shooters, players in SWAT 4 must try to follow police procedure during a mission to succeed. This means that it is preferable to take suspects alive rather than dead, with players giving them a chance to surrender by shouting instructions first. Shooting the bad guys is only allowed in the defense of life – doing otherwise lowers the player’s final score at the end of the mission. In addition, all downed and captured suspects and civilians must be secured and checked in at headquarters, and all weapons must be collected to achieve a perfect score.
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