SWAT 4 Gold

A tactical first-person shooter(FPS) where you play the role of SWAT(Special Weapons And Tactics) in various law enforcement situations.

Release Date

SWAT 4: April 2005.
SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate: March 2006.

Pros

Very realistic game. You are part of the police and you are not allowed to use deadly force except as the last resort. The mission score depends on your using force appropriately.

The weapons are as realistic as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow Of Chernobyl. Except for one thing, when you reload your weapon, the unused bullets in your old magazine does not carry over to the next magazine.

Excellent AI. Your team mates act as a team and really help you out. The enemy and civilian AI are also excellent and act very believable. They walk around, run, hide, attack and sometimes even given themselves up willingly. The one minor problem with your team mates though, is that they do not know how to subdue suspects if they refuse to drop their guns. You have to subdue all suspects yourself, until they drop their guns. If your friends have non-lethal weapons, what can happen is, they shoot the suspect, the suspect croaks for a bit but still holding on to the weapon. After a short time the suspect recovers and kills your friend.

Each time you play the same mission, some people are randomly placed. They also walk around so even though the map and mission is the same, you must take extra care at every corner because there might be an enemy right there. This really adds to the replay value.

There is a quick mission builder which allows you to take missions you have completed and change the conditions of the mission for you to play. Essentially you are making a new mission for the same map. There are many conditions to change like number of civilians, number of suspects, what mission objectives and even how high the morale of the people are. This adds to the replay value of SWAT 4.

The graphics are beautiful and the environments are very detailed. The only thing missing is environmental destructibility (Stranglehold anyone?).

The sounds are excellent. Everything from ambient sounds, speech and weapons to the action music really adds to the atmosphere of the game.

The Stetchkov Syndicate expansion allows you to play all the original missions with all the new weapons, new equipment and the new hold command functionality. This is on top of the new missions that comes with it.

Team members’ viewports. Look through the eyes of your mates by activating a picture-in-picture viewport. From there you can also give them orders as to what to do. You also get to use sniper viewports to watch or shoot suspects through windows.

Cons

The game takes a very long time to load, and half the time there is no harddisk activity. In fact a few times I accidentally started the game and didn’t even know it because the splash screen failed to show. I proceeded to load another game and then SWAT 4 shows up! The game took 3 minutes 16 seconds to load up when I timed it.

Each menu option also takes a long time to load.

Each mission also takes A long time to load. The first mission took 1 minute and 8 seconds to load! A relief though is that reloading the same mission takes a bit shorter time.

The scoring is a bit unfair. If you incapacitate or kill a suspect, even though it was done correctly (eg the suspect was shooting at you), your score still gets penalised. You do not get a negative score, just that you will not score as highly as if you arrested the suspect.

Other Points

You cannot save your game mid mission. This means you must go from start to end without being incapacitated or failing one of the mission objectives. This is exactly like in Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear except in SWAT 4 you can only control one character. So if your one person gets incapacitated, it is mission over instead of control switching to one of your buddies. Makes the game quite tense at times.

The accuracy of your weapon works the same as in Rainbow Six. It depends on whether you start moving and how fast you are moving. The accuracy is indicated by how far apart the crosshairs are and when you stop moving or are moving at a constant speed, the crosshairs slowly converge to show higher accuracy. Unlike S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Call Of Duty 4, you cannot use the iron sights to increase accuracy in an instant. You must slowly wait for the crosshairs to converge. Different weapons’ accuracy increase at different rates though, eg a pistol becomes accurate much faster than the M4 Carbine.

There is no story for the single-player campaign. It is a series of unrelated missions but have a full briefing on what the situation is. There are 13 missions in the standard SWAT 4. The expansion adds 7 extra missions with a loose plot about a gang called (surpise, surprise) The Stetchkov Syndicate.

Night vision goggles (NVGs) is one of the new pieces of equipment in The Stetchkov Syndicate. Unfortunately your buddies are too stupid to use it. It still comes in handy for weapons that do not have a flash light though, like the grenade launcher.

Biases

Reviewed version 1.1 of SWAT 4.

Reviewed version 1.0 of SWAT 4 The Stetchkov Syndicate.

I really liked Serious Sam, all the Doom games and Quake 2.

I also really liked Red Faction, Bioshock, Alien Vs Predator, Soldier of Fortune 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow Of Chernobyl, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear and Call Of Duty 4.

I also liked Red Faction 2, Painkiller Overdose and Star Wars Battlefront 2.

I also liked Battlefield 1942, Delta Force and Spec Ops 2.

There is multipler cooperative and team-based versus modes but I only played the single-player mode.

DRM

The game needs an Internet connection to activate on first start up.

A serial key must also be entered.

I bought SWAT 4 Gold from Direct2Drive and now they have been taken over by Gamefly. Since the take over around January 2012, I cannot play the game because Gamefly still has not provided a new license and activation for the game. Another wonderful story about DRM punishing customers.

SWAT 4 Gold is available DRM-free from GOG.com

Patches

The 1.1 patch is available here for non-Direct2Drive versions of the game.

Minimum Requirements (To Be Advised)

I will find out this info after Gamefly makes the game playable.

Computer Played On

  • Core 2 Duo 2.16GHz
  • 2Gb RAM
  • ATI Radeon X1600 256Mb RAM (laptop version)
  • Realtek HD Audio(no idea what model) with laptop speakers or Logitech ClearChat Premium PC Headset.
  • Win XP Pro
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

Handy Tips

Add -nointro to the SWAT 4 shortcut to skip the company intro videos.

Recommended Mods

Global Swat Force has got custom built maps and some of them are very good. Just follow the instructions on their site to install the maps. To open a custom map, load up SWAT 4 as normal. At the menu screen, press ` (backtick) to bring up the console. Then type
open <map name>
where <map name> is the name of the file WITHOUT the .s4m extension.

SWAT 4 Quick Mission Maker Map Pack. Eight game levels created by members of the SWAT 4 QA Team using the quick mission maker. No new maps, just modified missions on existing maps.

My Creations

My lone wolf and original missions packs for The Stetchkov Syndicate. The lone wolf mission pack contains all the original plus expansion missions configured for lone wolf play. The original missions pack is just all the original missions configured to play with the SWAT 4 Expansion, so you get to use the new weapons and command. Download swat4lwoldm.zip.

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