SWAT First Impressions at the World Cyber Games

The press got a chance to play SWAT for the first time at World Cyber Games, the event I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. We caught editors from Gamespy, IGN, PC Gamer, and CGW playing SWAT and word on the street is that they got a bit rowdy. Interesting recent previews of the game can be found at IGN, GameSpot, and GameSpy.

Dan Adams from IGN calls the Tribes experience "smooth as pie" and says that "we'll have another tactical shooter to make fans of realistic shooters happy and sappy." Irrational was definitely going for happy AND sappy so we found this particularly gratifying!

The press also got a first look at SWAT's "rapid deployment" mode in which SWAT must locate and deactivate several bombs before they explode. Sounds fairly straightforward, but suspects are on the loose desperately trying to make sure the building blows up before that annoying SWAT team foils their evil plan. So, the rapid deployment mode is basically a really fast-paced race to beat the bad guys. Like any episode of Alias (the show, not the game-this is very different than the game). Have I mentioned my massive girl crush on Jennifer Garner and how Ken had to take me to see 13 Going on 30? Anyway...

So far the response to both the single and multiplayer versions have been extremely positive. SWAT is a complex game but people seemed to be grasping it very easily. Like all Tactical Shooters (Rainbow 6, SOCOM), SWAT is purposely slower paced. This may frustrate some newcomers to the franchise but trust us and stick with it. You will get used to the pace and you will understand that it really enhances the gameplay. The slower speed means more intense and tactical engagements, rather than the typical run through the room shooting at everything that moves genre.

Bill Gardner reported from WCG that within a few minutes, just about everyone who sat down to play SWAT was "hooting, hollering and having the time of their life."

Back at Irrational, the SWAT team reports that they are getting really psyched for the release of the game. They are currently working on polishing the co-op mode and madly play-testing multiplayer to balance the levels. SWAT producer Sara Verrilli tells me that her team is taking several months to make sure multiplayer is "really stellar". Apparently it is much more difficult to balance than single player so they are putting SWAT through tons of extra testing.

-- Meredith Levine