#678 SWAT 4

Posted: 27th March 2021 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

941st played so far

Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games

In this day and age, it’s already quite uncomfortable to play as a member of the American police, doing SWAT operations, taking down criminals with a lot of violence and all that. I played the original Police Quest and while there were some odd moments in there, it created the idealized, by the books and strict view of policing. Later, as the series moved from its Sierra adventure game roots to more action based games, it was run by Daryl Gates, one of the big proponents of turning the police into its own military police, including encouraging these SWAT teams. Before creating the Police Quest: SWAT series, he was in charge of the LAPD during the Rodney King riots and it would seem he is responsible in maintaining the problems within the American police and beyond that lead to the current BLM protests and the police’s over the top, violent response to it – almost as if they’ve created their own little dictatorship that can’t be questioned.

I’m going into SWAT 4 with trepidation because of that. Daryl Gates was no longer associated with the series, but the change from an adventure game focused on police procedures into a tactical shooter that goes in on shooting and killing the bad guys, snipers and all, shows how a game series where I enjoyed the first changed so much that I don’t quite know what to do with it.

Our Thoughts

And lets be honest, at the start of this blog I wouldn’t have thought as much about it, but just as Tom Clancy games feel wrong to me now, I couldn’t bring myself to really try. The two big targets of your first mission are Alex Jimenez and Lian Niu, two what you’d euphemistically call “ethnic” names, and you’re in a rundown neighbourhood because this would never happen to your white suburban place, right? There’s no option to negotiate or defuse the situation, you just have to figure out whether you’re dealing with civilians (usually dressed in white) or one of the bad guys who’ll indiscriminately shoot at you. Yeah, you can arrest them if they surrender, but it’s all about that firefight.

In fact, to “rescue” all of the civilians in a level you have to restrain all of them, because that one cook might just also be a bad guy? The other suspects are ‘neutralized’ rather than what I really did – kill them. At least I can justify this in other games as them being terrorists, looking to kill you as much as you go after them, and looking to kill many more. Here, it feels over the top and unnecessary – perhaps too close to real life.

The tactical play doesn’t even seem that good. The commands to your squad are clunky and don’t seem to be followed quite well enough. The gunplay is awkward. It’s not that much fun.

Final Thoughts

Based on this game, the stereotype of the shouty, aggressive police officer is completely real and I still regret having paid money to play this game, as it feels grosser now than ever before. No matter what historic value this might have, these days other games do this better and nicer without glorifying a violent police force without examining the effects of this.