SWAT 4 is a tactical shooter developed by Irrational Games, and follows the missions of a group of SWAT officer in a fictional Eastern United States city. There are 15 missions to undertake, and each one presents a unique scenario to approach. Like a true SWAT officer, lethal force is frowned upon unless absolutely needed. For this reason, you'll employ a wide range of equipment and strategy to eliminate threats and defuse situations. Unlike other shooters, SWAT 4 prioritizes realism and consequence. Because of this, it's an intense and tactical shooter, where your every action is important.
The beginning of the game sees your character at a training facility, led by your commanding officer. Here, you'll quickly pick up the necessary skills to complete your missions. Instead of blasting assault rifles and chucking grenades, SWAT 4 encourages players to think smartly and use their entire arsenal. From flash and concussion grenades to riot shields and rubber bullets, there is a wide array of weaponry and gadgets you'll use. In order to properly proceed, you'll need to breach rooms, secure potential threats, and watch out for unknown threats. After the training facility, you'll embark on a number of missions that see you defusing hostage situations, taking down dangerous criminals, and generally saving the day.
The criminals you'll take on in SWAT 4 are a varied breed; ranging from dumb, trigger-happy drug dealers to smart planning kingpins. In order to complete your objectives with minimal bloodshed, you'll need to properly order your five-man squad around, properly identify targets, and check exits. Each level is a highly detailed scenario, and whether you're investigating a kidnapping at a residence or taking on a gunfight in a night club, you'll have to have your wits. There's a big focus on tactics and strategy, and unless you plan out your assault, you'll likely fail. SWAT 4 is designed for a more hardcore player; one who will think of multiple strategies and lay out a game plan before going in.
Besides the 15 main missions in the single player mode, there are a variety of multiplayer modes to enjoy as well. You're free to join private and public servers, where players can pick between a handful of multiplayer modes. There's “Barricaded Suspects”, which acts like a sort of team deathmatch. “VIP Escort” picks one member of the team to defend, while the opposing team attempts to kidnap and execute him. Finally, you can enjoy some intense bomb defusing in “Rapid Deployment”. In addition to these three multiplayer modes, you can also take on the single player missions with a full squad of friends in Co-op mode. Generally speaking, there's a wide variety of both competitive and cooperative content that boosts replayability and keeps you invested.
Overall, SWAT 4 is a brilliant shooter that focuses on smart strategy, cohesive planning, and deft execution. You won't succeed by running and gunning, instead you'll have to choose your shots and make them count. Although it's similar to games like Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six in style, the various scenarios and police role playing gives it an interesting edge. Whether solo or with friends, SWAT 4 offers some excellent content and satisfying missions to enjoy. It's a tough game for sure, and one that demands near perfection. However, it's one of the most rewarding games to complete, as only the most patient and disciplined will come out on top.