SWAT 4 is amazing and everyone should play it.

Warning: Pierson is talking at length about a game he loves. So sit down and be quiet, class.

For those not aware, SWAT 4 is an FPS that places you in command of a four-man (including you) SWAT team charged with saving hostages and arresting badguys.

First; it looks gorgeous, and doesn’t require a monster PC to run. My laptop cann’t play Doom III at anything more than about 3fps, and yet SWAT4 runs almost flawlessly with everything turned on.

Second; it has the absolute best order-system in creation. Right-clicking brings up a context sensitive menu of orders for your two teams (tab switches between which teams the orders apply to). Right-click on a door and you’ll get options like stacking run, picking the door, or blowing it with C4 charges, throwing a flashbang through (which they’ve actually got RIGHT in this game) and charging on in. The spacebar also acts as a quick-order button, automatically displaying the most likely order in a situation, and a quick tap of that will see your comrades do their stuff.

Third; the rankings. The game encourages you to be the best cop you possibly can be. Your get more points for arresting a suspect than incapacitating them (readl shooting their legs) or killing them. Points are also awarded for reporting suspects and hostages into HQ after arrest, and confiscating their guns. Getting the maximum 100 points is hard as all hell, but immensly satisfying. After a while you’ll find yourself taking non-lethal weaponry, for that perfect score.

Fourth; the AI. This is possibly some of the best AI of recent games. Enemies and hostages will neve react the same way twice, and they always act convincingly. Soemtimes on seeing you they’ll run the hell away, sometime’s they’ll come out shooting, sometimes (and this is a great part) they’ll actually point their guns at the hostages and say they’ll shoot him if you don’t leave, which leads to some wonderful standoffs if you’re at the end of a mission and want to leave with fulll points. Voice-acting is done well and while standard for these games (“ITSA COPS MAN!”) is never bad or unconvincing.

Unfortunately I can’t comment on the quality of any levels except the first, but be damned if they’re not off to a great start. The demo was released at Gamespot and other download sites a few days ago. Get it. Now. You won’t regret it. Unless you’re some sort of liberal bleeding-heart who thinks criminals need love instead of electroshock treatment. You pansy liberals.