Game Review - by StormDaemon
The Police Quest series continue with another game that follows the lives of the LAPD SWAT team. SWAT 1 was original with its use of true to life scenarios and tactics, and SWAT 2 continues that tradition with a similar style but a different attitude. The birds-eye view that is throughout the game allows for an effective mix of strategy and action with only a few graphical downfalls. The option for being either a SWAT member or a terrorist increases the fun and playability of the game, makes for an interesting multiplayer challenge.
The storyline is that you are either a LAPD SWAT team member or a terrorist within an organization called the Council of the Five Eyes. The missions do not follow a particular pattern, but rather are a collection of missions either based on real life events or they are just made up.
The features in the game are average, but offer many options to deal with either SWAT or the terrorist. There were over 100 SWAT officers and 100 terrorists to pick from, each with their own abilities. Teams take a while to form, which hinders the action of the game, but after the scenario begins, it is forgotten about. Unfortunately, the game only offers a few weapons and items, those mainly dealing with police and terrorist situations. While it kept things concentrated on strategy, it would have been nice to see a few more weapons. The multiplayer options are decent, but every time you start a game, the teams and cells have to be reassigned and re-equipped, which got annoying real fast. The available actions for SWAT and the terrorist were decent and got the job done, but got confusing at times and having to point and click at everything slowed things down.
The gameplay was more of a strategic tone with some action mixed in because of the settings and groups involved. If SWAT was to just run in and start shooting, then hostages would be killed, so they have to take very strategic steps during each mission to make sure that innocents survive. As such, you have to slowly wind your way through everywhere, being careful at all times not to shoot at the wrong thing. The terrorists on the other hand, can do whatever they want, so it can be a shoot 'em up game if you want it to be that way. If you decide to play multiplayer, then it gets fun. The available options are either being part of SWAT or being a terrorist, playing head to head or cooperatively, and choosing which scenario. The connection better be good because the game will be somewhat choppy as is, and you certainly don't want to end up shooting your own teammates or hostages because of a few seconds of lag. It is fun, but annoying sometimes. While the game may seem like a shooter, it surely is not.
The graphics of the game are average, with no 3D and the same view throughout the game. The detail in the areas that the missions take place is the only real good point to be mentioned, even though the rest of it is just fine. The graphics are adequate and do the job with no spectacular effects and just animated sprites running around. Scrolling around the screen is bad though with a slow frame rate, and even with a good video card it is still the same. Even if you try to increase the rate, the scrolling is really choppy and annoying. The areas in the missions themselves can block things from view, allowing you to only see terrorists or what not with the radar on the bottom right hand of the screen. The transparency that is used to indicate a door or window that is behind the building is not that great either, it's noticeable, but still sometimes hard to find. There could be improvement, but that game is not truly graphics oriented.
The sound effects were average as well, with different voices and other effects for weapons being used. Nothing stood out, but nothing lacked. The hostages would say things on occasion, and if a terrorist saw a cop, or a SWAT team member saw a terrorist, they would yell it out and alert you. Everything else just seemed average.
Overall, this game was a decent game. While not boasting anything very impressive in the way of graphics or sound, the strategy and scenario of the game where the things that seemed to be appealing the most. With an average mix of action and strategy, the game is not that great for a real time simulation because it acted rather slowly at times. The main point about the game though, is not really the coding, but rather what is involved. Playing as SWAT or the terrorists is just fun in itself, and there are not too many other games out there that play on the same premise. The simulation aspect is rather good, but the graphics taken it a down a notch or two. Bottom line - if you like strategy and cops and robbers, buy it, but if you hate average graphics and limited action, walk away.