View Full Version : A Very Vicious Review: S.W.A.T 4

Vicious Horizon
5th May 2009, 08:18 PM

Developer: 2K Boston
Platform: PC
Multiplayer: Check
Single player: Check

Another VVReview, this game, I felt I just needed to review, it's one of PC Gamer's top 100 PC games of all time, and a beloved series for me.
SWAT 4's armoury is full of interesting and well-balanced weapons in both Single Player and Multiplayer.

Multiplayer includes two new primary weapons, and one new Pistol, there's a silenced Mac10 machine pistol and the legendary AK-47 is added for you budding terrorists. The new secondary weapon is the Python pistol, slow to fire and reload, but it packs a donkey-punch. The varied armoury for both modes will affect your tactics and methods of clearing. There are two non-lethal weapons that you can use, a Less-Than-Lethal Shotgun that fires beanbags, and a modified paintball gun that fires pellets containing OC gas (Tear-Gas), the other weapons include SMGs, Rifles and Shotguns, the SMG and Rifles have customisable ammo, from JHP to FMJ, FMJ are armour-piercing, but can travel through an un-armoured target harming anyone at the rear.

The Single-player campaign has no real story-line, which is a bit of a let-down, as this game would be ten-fold more interesting, but your squadmates will periodically chatter and make satirical remarks, either towards hostages/suspects or to something in the room, i.e: Reynolds: "Donuts? Noone told us there'd be donuts here." Jackson: "How can you eat that shit, man? It'll slow you down in the field." Girard: "Coming from the guy who eats nothing but meat?" Jackson "Hey, don't knock it until you try it, bro.", Jokes at Jackson/Hollywood's expense are a running joke through the missions, aswell as some others.

The first mission has you raiding a Chinese Restaurant in downtown New York for an illegal arms modification factory and a murder suspect, which is an easy mission, but with many risks for newer players who don't know what they're going to expect, but the missions quickly move on from small crimes onto serial murderers, crazed cults planning to destroy an entire neighborhood, even to a foreign diplomat having a failed assassination attempt retried in a grizzly hospital scene towards the end. The lack of storyline is forgivable through the huge time-gaps between missions, and the downloadable content.

Tactics are both complex, and user-friendly, the practised Stacking up against a door and ordering your squad to check the lock, then using an opti-wand to scan the room without putting yourself in danger. Ordering the team to attach C2 to the door, then throw a flashbang into the room before storming can become a repeated excersize, but almost never becomes tedious. You'll end up regretting that rushed room and finding two of your squad incapacitated and limping for the remainder of the mission. There are three grenade types, Stingers, which explode in a shower of hard, rubber balls that bounce off surfaces into anyone stupid enough to get in the way. Flashbangs, which well.. do I need to explain? and CS Gas, which is effectively tear-gas and my personal favourite. Some suspects have goggles, which make Flashbangs nearly useless, others have Gas masks which stop CS Gas, others have body armour, which negates Stingers.

There's always one part in a mission where the shit hits the fan, you're a man down, you're out of effective grenades and there are jumpy suspects aiming guns at hostages, you decide to rush in and attempt an arrest, you realise that was a bad idea when one hostage in incapacitated and you lose the rest of your squad, you're on your own with half a clip left of ammo, and another room left. There's a feeling of elation if you survive the mission and win, but there's the feeling of frustration as you get shot from your blind-side and die.

One last note on Single-player, we all know and love L4D's AI director, but SWAT 4 has it too, depending on your entry angle, and the direction you go, suspect/hostages will be moved, others will move themselves, setting up ambushes if they see you through a window, or escape from a flashbang. This vastly increases longevity, and prevents the 'pros' from storming levels on Co-Op and wiping the level clean before less experienced players get a look-in.

Ok, Multiplayer, there are some changes to the game, the armoury is changed, as I mentioned above, but there are also armour customisation, you can choose between a helmet, and a gas mask. Helmets protect you from headshots, where as Gas Masks prevent CS Gas (a common choice on MP) BUT, puts a black border around your view, so peripheral vision is impaired. You can also choose between Light Armour and Heavy armour, Light armour lets you move quickly, but offers little protection from lethal weapon fire, and Heavy Armour gives you exception protection from Pistols and SMGs, but offers limited protection against Armour piercing rounds in Rifles and Armour Piercing Shotgun Slugs, it also limits your movement speed.

There are a few Multiplayer modes, but the two most popular are Barricaded Suspects and Co-Op. BS is where there are two teams, which have to compete to try and arrest or kill the entire other team, the last team standing are the victors. Co-Op is where a group of players work together to complete the singleplayer missions at a pre-set difficulty, AFAIK you must enter through Entrance 1 only, no alternative entrances, most servers only allow 5 people in a co-op server, but some allow 10 and even 15 players. There are generally 5
players in an element, so sometimes teams will split up and use pronged assaults, SWAT is suited to clans and communities as the tactics aren't intrusive, and players always have to adapt to new situations.

- Vicious Horizon Out.
Good points Replayable SP campaign | Many difficulty settings | Brilliant Communities | Great Mods | MP is alot of fun even 4 years on.
Bad points Lack of Story | Can be frustrating as missions are long | Still a few glitches | Lack of players on MP, not a big problem now, but in a few years there wont be many left.

My Seal Of Approval =)

5th May 2009, 08:55 PM
Great review, I might get it actually, would only buy it for the MP aspect though

5th May 2009, 09:29 PM
Not a very vicious review if you ask me, also, interesting tags. :p

All-in-all, nice review. I'll probably not buy it because of exams and stuff, and even when it was new it was always on my "it would be nice to have, but on the other hand this is more shiny" list.

Vicious Horizon
6th May 2009, 07:39 AM
MP is alot of fun, if not for all the antics that happen, and the comical C2 suicides that happen when people get bored of trying to find the dropped evidence or unreported status are just an awesome laugh.

(Shit, should have put about evidence etc. in the review.. oh well XD)

@ Bloo: Shush :P I can't be harsh to a game I like XD