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October 3 2007
S.W.A.T. Target Liberty - PSP Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
25/10/2007VivendiSierra3G Studios1-4$69.95
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SWAT looks pretty nice overall.
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The game uses an isometric viewpoint.

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You may want to move to cover!
Sierra's SWAT series on the PC has been on of the most successful game franchises in recent years. Having started out on the PC in 1995 with a rather dire FMV styled game the series has evolved to become of the best action titles on the market. SWAT 3 and SWAT 4 in particular have quite large followings. It was a bit of a surprise to hear that the series would be coming to the PSP - it certainly isn't a system with huge amounts of horsepower to equal the latest PC games - but the game is coming, and we've got our hands on an early build to give you our impressions.

Penned by script writer Scott Rosenbaum (The Shield), SWAT: Target Liberty is set in New York City. As SWAT leader, Kurt Wolf, it is up to you to lead your team through each mission and not only survive, but minimize hostage as well as, enemy casualties and recover evidence of the international terrorist threats. As the plot unfolds, you find yourself further entangled in a vicious Korean Triad gang war that is being controlled by a group of Al-Qaeda lieutenants who operate an elite unit named Hammer of God, whose ultimate goal is to frame North Korea for the detonation of a nuclear device in New York.

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Using non-lethal means to control enemies.
As you can see this game is played from an isometric viewpoint similar to that in Sony's Killzone: Liberation and indeed the original SWAT 2 on PC. Each officer in the unit has a specialty and using a unique skill system, the player can upgrade their individual combat expertise to increase their chances of success. Interestingly this game isn't a 'kill everyone you see' type shooter as you will also be able to use non-lethal means of completing missions without casualties and unnecessary kills. In order to assist you with this the game includes a host of non-lethal weapons including tear gas, flashbangs, and bean bag shotguns. Indeed by not killing enemies you will earn points and increase your team's stats and skills. The game also includes randomisation so that you will experience unique gameplay every time you play with randomized enemy placement.

Now we've played a fair chunk of this game so far and have to say it's pretty entertaining. Controls are responsive, gameplay can be pretty intense at times, squadmates seem to know what they're doing and the missions are pretty large. Issuing squad commands is easy enough (simply press the R button to activate the menu) and the game allows you to take cover behind objects simply by pressing up against them. Our biggest problem with this game, by far, is that the SWAT team members move around so sluggishly. By god, are they slow. I mean they hardly even seem to move around at walking pace and for a game based on elite forces this is not good enough.

Multi-player is also being supported in SWAT: Target Liberty. Using the SWAT "Kill-House" generator, players can create random multiplayer maps of varying sizes to guarantee a new experience everytime you play with your friends.

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Get your hands up bia-tch!
Graphics in SWAT: Target Liberty also seem to be shaping up quite nicely. They're not the best we've seen on the PSP but what is there is clean and quite functional. Animation on the characters is farily smooth which is important in a game such as this. Audio is also pretty nice with some solid effects such as gunfire and a bit of speech as well.

From our hands-on time with SWAT: Target Liberty this is shaping up as a solid release. The graphics are pretty nice - and these screenshots don't really convey the sharpness of the game - and the gameplay seems entertaining enough. I would like to see the characters move around a little swifter - this is SWAT after all - as they seem a little sluggish but this is a game to keep an eye out for in October 2007 which it will hit our shelves with a rrp of $AU69.95.