SWAT 4 is a tactical first person shooter developed by Irrational Games and published by Vivendi Universal Games and released on April 5, 2005. It was built on Irrational Games's Vengence engine powered by Unreal Engine 2.0 technology. SWAT 4 puts players in control of the fictional Fairvew Police Department's SWAT unit, which is tasked with responding to crisis situations and arresting dangerous criminals.
An expansion to SWAT 4, titled SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate, was released on February 28, 2006.
- Main article: SWAT 4 mission
SWAT 4 features a single-player campaign in which the player has to lead their SWAT element through 13 unrelated missions. The game's realistic gameplay is intended to simulate real life SWAT operations. One crucial aspect of this is the game's use of police procedure, which penalizes players for shooting non-threatening suspects or innocent people. Other penalties issued by the game include officer incapacitation and personal injury. The game's difficulty levels dictate how many points the player will need to earn in order to advance to the next mission, as well as the suspects' aggression and willingness to comply.
The player is the leader in a five-man SWAT element consisting of the player character and four assaulters that are divided into two color coded pairs. Players issue commands from an order selection menu, which include room clearing, providing cover or handcuffing a compliant person. Additionally, a video camera is mounted on each police officer's helmet. This allows the leader to see what other members of the element see and issue commands remotely.
All missions start with a briefing which describes the situation and gives whatever details are available on the suspects and/or hostages. Some missions feature a 911 call which can give players a clue as what to expect. Sniper support may also be provided, but the snipers' views are limited to static parts of the map, often covering a single window, and players must manually take control of the snipers in order to shoot suspects in their line of sight. During the briefing, the player can choose equipment for themselves and the element, as well as select an entry point.
SWAT 4 also features several multiplayer game modes, all of which are team-based: SWAT versus suspects. The multiplayer modes are:
- Barricaded Suspects. Teams gain points by arresting or killing members of the other team. The team which hits the score limit first or has the highest score when the round time ends wins.
- VIP Escort. A random member of the SWAT team is selected to be the VIP. The suspects must arrest the VIP, hold him for two minutes and then execute him. The SWAT team must escort the VIP to an extraction point on the map. If the suspects kill the VIP without holding him for two minutes, SWAT wins. If a SWAT team member kills the VIP, suspects win.
- Rapid Deployment. Three to five bombs are placed throughout the map. The SWAT team must locate and disable them all within a time limit, if they fail to do so, suspects win.
- Co-op. This allows the player to play through the single-player missions with up to four other people taking the place of computer-controlled SWAT officers. In the expansion, Co-op can run on custom missions and with up to ten players per game, which can further be split into two completely separate teams (red and blue) with a leader each. This is not similar to single player teams where an element leader controls both teams. Many players and clans use the game as a platform for realistic operations, using real life tactics and organization.
In SWAT 4, players have a variety of weaponry and equipment to choose from, which can be issued to both the player character and the AI squadmates.
The player has several lethal firearms to choose from, including submachineguns and assault rifles. The submachineguns' light weight and short barrels make them ideal for close quarters combat, while the assault rifles offer greater knock down power. The player can also choose between pump action and semiautomatic shotguns. Two lethal sidearms are also available, in the form of a .45 caliber pistol and a 9mm pistol. All of these weapons are equipped with flashlights and sport elective ammo types, such as hollow point or full metal jacket ammunition.
Players can also utilize several less lethal weapons which are used to subdue suspects and civilians who resist detainment. These include a shotgun loaded with beanbag rounds, a pepperball gun which fires concentrated bursts of chemical mace and a Taser stun gun. In addition to these weapons, players can also use an assortment of tactical devices, including flashbang, CS gas, and sting grenades to disorient suspects prior to entering an area, breaching tools for forcing open locked doors, and door wedges which forcibly keep doors closed. Other tactical aids include chemical mace and the optiwand, a fiberoptic camera used to look under doors and around corners prior to entering a room.
SWAT 4 has been generally well received by computer game reviewers. Following is a small list of some of the reviews.
- IGN FAQs Strategy guide for The Stetchkov Syndicate
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