Argonaut
Sierra/VU
Action/FPS
1-4
10.29.03

SWAT: Global Strike Team


When I first heard that a SWAT game was coming to Xbox, I was very hyped up to play it. Then I saw the first screen shots, and I thought they should have been better. Now I finally get to play the game, and it lived up to what I wanted it to be, and more. I am very happy to say that SWAT is my kind of game. In SWAT your supposed to restrain enemies and hostages (police or civilian), but sometimes you have to use deadly force.

Gameplay

From the start of the game, the main menu consists of Campaign, Time Attack, Co-op, Co-op Time Attack, and Deathmatch. The main campaign mode is about your team of 3 that work together to complete the assigned objectives. Tony "TJ" Jackson is for security and to defuse explosives (tech expert). Kana Lee is the Sniper. Most of the time you'll be controlling the team leader, Mathias Kincaid. Each character has certain attributes, and when you need someone for a specific job (i.e. Sniper), the events will just happen automatically in the middle of a level. This usually is not a problem, and doesn't take away from the gameplay. But on the other end, you also sometimes use a different person for an entire level. In the mix, they threw in some solo missions, which is cool. You carry 2 weapons (machine gun, tranquilizer, etc), and one type of throwing device (usually tear gas or grenades). Before each mission, you select which weapon you want for "Lethal" and "Not so Lethal," and the type of grenades you'd like to carry.

As you walk in to a room with your team, you can persuade the enemy to drop their weapons, but tapping X when they are in your view. Each terrorist has a certain level that they will tolerate. Some don't care about a SWAT team yelling at them to put their hands in the air, while others will drop to their knees with there hands up the first time they see you. Firing off a view shots will make the compliance meter that displays their resistance move even higher, resulting in them giving up (the lower the meter, the more they stand up and fight you). While your trying to get them to give up, at the same time you can be taking fire from someone else. This usually resulted in me just killing everyone. If they do give up, and they eventually will, you must restrain them with handcuffs. It's okay to kill enemies in SWAT: GST, but it is not a good thing to kill your enemy after they surrender. If you sneak up behind an enemy, you will get immediate compliance, and the enemy will drop his weapon. The main thing to remember is not to use unauthorized force. You can still complete the missions, but you are not supposed to kill someone if they have their hands up. The enemies are everywhere, and you'll be eliminating criminals from all over the globe.

As you play through the game and complete missions, you can unlock new things such as the ability to customize your weapons. You acquire weapon upgrade points pretty much every mission. You can upgrade your accuracy, size of your clip, and a few other nifty things. If you're a statistics buff, they are available after each mission. They show how many civilians killed and/or rescued, your accuracy percentage, how many suspects went down, how long it took, an overall grade, and a few others.

The AI is pretty dumb sometimes. One of their fellow terrorists surrendered, and had his hands in the air. But before I had secured him with handcuffs, some other terrorist was firing at me, and hit his friend and killed him. The AI of your teammates, however, is very realistic. However, unlike Rainbow Six, if one member of your team dies, the mission is over. In Rainbow Six, you just leave your fallen men there!

The Xbox Communicator headset works great in SWAT. The voice recognition puts you in the game, and I like it. Besides having a headset on, putting on a gas mask made me feel even more into the game. The game is set up very good, and it really gives you a feeling of being there.

Controlling your character and your team is set up perfectly. The d-pad is used to issue commands to your other teammates. The B button will knock off your enemies with the end of your weapon. A reloads your weapons, and Y switches in between weapons. When holding down the black button, it brings up a menu with four different options: Glow stick, Night vision, Gas Mask, and Binoculars. You can't survive without night vision, and you definitely will need your gasmask at times. I like how if you don't have your gas mask equipped, your player will cough and walk unevenly. The white button will throw a grenade. Finally, the R trigger fires your weapon. If you have a sniper rifle, you can zoom in on anyone, but always remember you can't zoom in with a gas mask on!

Multiplayer

You cannot play SWAT online. No Xbox Live play isn't that much of a drawback since they included 4-player split screen matches. The 2-player co-op is most of the multiplayer action that I played, and I was very pleased with it. This is because the missions are 10 all new scenarios, and different from the single player game. You can also download new deathmatch maps from Xbox Live. Although I haven't had the chance, SWAT: GST supports system link play (says on the back of the box, but I can't find the option in the game). While there is a bunch of different deathmatch modes, they are not as fun as the co-op mode.

Graphics

Wow! They really cleaned up this game from the screen shots and the movies previously shown. From the previous media every character model seemed to be in sprites that were one-sided. Now, every character is modeled in full 3D, and a heck of a lot better then Counter-Strike's graphics. The reflections and shadows are not Rainbow Six, but they are still very good indeed. The reflections and fog on your gas mask look amazing. Certain steel doors will open and close, and what I thought was neat was the dust shooting up when a door closes. One thing that I think is important in a game like this, which they included, is the ability to shoot out lights. You can hide in the shadows pretty well, and in the really dark areas you can equip night vision that enables you to see. With over 21 missions, you will encounter all types of environments. In some missions you'll be inside, outside, or a combination of both. As a whole, the level design is great.

Sound

"SWAT, HANDS IN THE AIR!" That is just one of the sayings that you'll hear when you press X. Walking on snow has the most distinct sound out of all the surfaces. A regular surface sounds like nothing for the most part. Shots from your gun all sound realistic, but the rest of the sound department really plays a role in the gameplay. Mainly, because you'll be able to hear enemies around certain corners, and it will get your attention to look that way. This could save you from a grenade or tear gas. The sounds of broken glass, enemy voices, and your team voices all sound realistic. There are also other things that I haven't noticed much in other games, such as car alarms going off in parking garages during a shootout from bullets and explosions from grenades. The echoes in the parking garages are perfectly done, particularly the cars peeling out. If a grenade goes off to close to you, your hearing will be distorted, especially when you fire your weapon. It sounds very muffled, and what I would expect it to sound like.

Bottom Line:

I was expecting total crap, but what I played was something that is a good game. This game is worth more than just a rent. Anyone who was skeptical about this one will really be surprised at how great this title came out. The screen shots don't do enough to show how awesome this game really is. If you need a new squad-based shooter, this game comes with over 21 missions (plus 10 more co-op missions), so I would highly recommend this title any day. This game is one of a kind, and must be played. The gameplay and graphics surprised me, and I am happy to say that this game is a hit.

Related Links:

Official SWAT: Global Strike Team Website

-Steve Melanson




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