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     " I suspect SWAT will be relegated to a second string title... "

      Title: SWAT Global Strike Team by Sierra

      Format: Xbox tactical shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: With games, just as with movies, there seems to be a synchronicity of thought that has developed on a global scale. Whether its due to a "me too" attitude, a respond to market demand, or just a funny coincidence-- we'll never know, but regardless, as a general rule when one type of game makes a resurgence it will come back on a number of fronts. This week enter the return of the tactical shooter…and Sierra's heavy in the mix with a revision of their classic police line in SWAT: Global Strike Team.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Functionality is an important part of any game's graphics, and in truth that's all you ever need, but too often a game maker confuses functionality with aesthetic appeal…and so is the case with SWAT. Not an ugly game by any stretch, SWAT fails graphically only when compared to other equivalent games on the market. The lighting is solid, the models are o.k.., and the environments are acceptable, but when compared to some of the other graphical marvels we've seen released at the same time SWAT just doesn't match up. We know the Xbox is capable of so much more. 3 out of 5

      Playability: Admittedly, there are only so many things you can do with a first person shooter, and until we see a dramatic increase in processing power we're probably near that limit. Thus, I was intrigued by one of the few unique aspects SWAT is able to bring to the table: the idea of police procedure. Since you play as a SWAT team you can't just go in and kill everything you see. Bad guys must be carefully identified, given a chance to surrender, and killed only in necessity. Thus, there's a lot of breeching a room, yelling police over your voice recognizing mic, and trying to return fire at only those who deserve it. Or, at least, that's the theory.
           In practice the effect isn't so pronounced. Though chastised for unjustified shootings, it really isn't all that game altering even if you would have earned the team enough lawsuits to tie up the courts for the next 150 years. And the voice recognition system, cleverly included for both shouting orders to perps to try and make them surrender as well as to give your teammates orders, is pleasantly accurate in its recognition but can require excessive shouting for acknowledgement and be slow enough in execution that you may end up just discarding it all together.
           As for play itself, the game is fun but a little less than challenging. You'll run through level after level, quickly realizing that true tactics are a waste of time, and gunning down perp after perp…stopping only long enough to handcuff the ones who aren't dead. And while a reward system, allowing you to upgrade your guns, exists to try and keep you on the tactical path, the effects aren't grand enough to save it from being a simple run-n-gun. While the violence itself, the crux of any shooting game, is fast paced and entertaining, it lacks much in the way of realism and plays more like an arcade game than a tactical shooter. Add the rather unfortunately straight forward nature of the missions and the limitations in the strategies it allows you will keep the play from really being anything tactical and a long way from landmark 3 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Though a semi-clever story does exist, based around the globalization of a single SWAT organization to thwart terror attacks world wide, it is scarcely portrayed and doesn't really involve you all that much. It's a nice addition, but until people start really adding some depths to their games stories like these will stay exclusively a bit of eye candy while you rest your thumbs from the last mission. 3 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Split screen play, both cooperative and death match, is certainly good for what ails ya, and getting a few buddies in on the frag-fest will be a highlight of your SWAT play. Downloadable content will also help keep things fresh and, depending on how well it's supported, could give you lots of extra hours of fun. Unfortunately, while all that is good, some limitations in its execution keep it from being a great thing. For starters, co-op is limited to unlocked levels (those you've done on your own) so working your way through the campaign together is right out. Death match, while entertaining, gets old pretty fast due to a lack of variation in objectives and weapons. And Live support, most annoyingly of all, is limited exclusively to download and has no play options. 3.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       An okay game all in all, SWAT was fun for what it offered. Unfortunately, as you guessed might be the case, it ends up falling decidedly mid-line among some other really remarkable shooters that have and will soon hit, so I suspect SWAT will be relegated to a second string title.

      The Good: Good voice incorporation, good clean violence, and some fun ideas.

      The Bad: Unfortunately nothing is executed near perfectly, and fun is all it ever rates.

      The Overall Ugly: Rent it if you're curious, but you'll default to more polished titles.

      What it's Worth: Rental

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