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January 17 2008
SWAT: Target Liberty - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
25/10/2007VivendiSierra3G Studios
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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SWAT is played from an isometric viewpoint.
Shooters. Sometimes it seems like you canít get away from them. Not with the PSP, as there has been a distinct lack of games fitting this category since launch, with only really one key title coming to mind, being Killzone: Liberation. So when I was offered a chance to give SWAT: Target Liberty a go, I was pretty eager. Sadly, the end result does little more than remind me while Killzone: Liberation still remains the undeniable king of PSP shooters by a long way. Read on for a more detailed description.

Players will assume the role of Kurt Wolfe, and lead him and two squad mates through a string of environments, where you are to try and subdue a Korean gang fight within New York. Suddenly, things turn awry, and somehow nuclear weaponry gets involved, and it seems that you and you two cohorts are charged with handling this issue on your own. Now, in this case, Ďsuddenlyí means about as sudden as someone spontaneously combusts... when they are underwater. To put it another way, not sudden at all. Lucky that the plot isnít deep or else thereíd be danger of you missing out on something fun here due to the insanely slow speed at which the story gains pace.

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Running around the subway.
Actually, slow is a good way to describe this game generally. Now I know SWAT agents arenít going to be running in all guns blazing ala Killzone: Liberation, but honestly, the entire advantage of games is that the normal rules and constraints of life simply DONíT hinder our ability to enjoy. Controlling from the overhead isometric viewpoint, you will have direct control of Kurt and be able to order about his two buddies. These two will provide you with at least as much support, in battle, as 4 eggs, a bag of wet donuts, and a recently used mop that has since been set on fire, stabbed with fork, and thrown into the boot of your car whilst it is being set on fire. That is to say that, they will simply watch you get shot, and maybe occasionally shoot in some random direction. Obviously, this is the pinnacle of art imitating life, with the game perfectly capturing how a real-life SWAT team functions.

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Looks good, doesn't play as well.
So while your friends, whom we shall name Abigail and Jethro for the purpose of this review (as those names, for SWAT agents, represent the appropriate amount of embarrassment they deserve), do precisely nothing, you will be left to contend with many enemies, who show infinitely more intelligence, when they feel like it.

One thing I should mention Ė SWAT: Target Liberty does have a few multiplayer modes included with it. Unfortunately, as these modes are not online, and none of my mates are stupid enough to waste their money on this, we were unable to test them. As such, I cannot say whether these make up for any of the games issues or not.

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No need to kill everyone in the game.
Now Iím going to do something that I probably shouldnít here. Iím going to talk about other reviews of this game (yes, I read reviews as well!). It seems that most other reviews have praised this game for its graphical prowess. Well Iím sorry but either those other reviewers were intoxicated by some mind-altering, no-doubt illegal, substance, or Iím not getting it. Granted, the game doesnít look bad. But thatís where it stops. Or maybe Iím the only one who got a chance to play Killzone: Liberation. There is no way, after playing that beautiful release, that you can honestly tell me that SWAT sets a new benchmark for top-down isometric shooters.

Having said that, the game does look -nice-. Levels vary from sparse to reasonably detailed environments, character animations do the job and effects are pulled off decently enough. The game never excels beyond a Ďnice lookingí game though. This is disappointing, but it is not bad enough to hold the game back at all (the AI does enough of this!). Overall, it looks decent but it wonít blow you away.

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So here's another screen of SWAT.
This is doubly so for the in-game sound, as no element of the sound is worthy of much discussion on its own. Music, effects, and ambient noise Ė they are all done to the same degree, which is to say they fit in the game, but will never cause your jaw to drop. Overall, this is an average aural release.

If you like repetitions, monotonous, repetition, stupid AI, repetition and all round average games, then this is definitely the shooter for you. SWAT: Target Liberty captures very little of anything that could be considered enjoyable, but is bound to amuse someone for the brief 4-6 hours or even less that the campaign lasts. Iíd say avoid this one unless you really need something to get angry at.

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

GRAPHICSIt looks slightly above average at best, and with detail in the levels varying, plain at worst.
SOUNDSounds fit in, but arenít anything special. Likewise for music and ambient noise. The epitome of average.
GAMEPLAYBoring. Monotonous. Frustrating. Exceedingly slow. At least it ends quickly.
VALUELess than 6 hours to finish the story if you are really slow. About 4 for most gamers. Horrible value here.
OVERALLIf you really need a new shooter, or a reason to shoot something, then this is your game. Otherwise, avoid wherever possible.

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