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Author Topic: SWAT: Target Liberty (PSP) impressions  (Read 827 times)
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Blackjack
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« on: October 18, 2007, 04:42:08 PM »

OK, misnomer -- I just picked this up at Gamestop (it's just hitting shelves today, afik) and can't play until tonight. So my only impressions are the box is plastic, and the manual is made of paper.  icon_neutral

However, if you have any questions about it (controls, multiplayer modes etc.), I'm happy to peek at the manual and share some factoids at least. Although some are saying it's "just like Killzone: Liberation," the graphics and character models seem larger, the isometric view seems a bit different angle than Killzone's, and it certainly still seems like it'll play more like it's SWAT brethren (I'm a big Killzone: Liberation fan, it was the PSP "system seller" for me, but I'm all for variety smile).

Few bits I got from the manual (I'm sure previews mentioned some of this, sorry if I repeat anything):
-You directly control one SWATee, with 2 squadmates (vs. 1 plus 4 squadmates in the PC games). You have a pool of 4 squadmates to choose from. Each has 5 skills they can develop over usage/time: Accuracy; Intimidation; Interrogation; Observation; Leadership. Each has a "Default Effect" and then 4 levels of advancement.

For example, Leadership's default is simply the ability to control officers. But get it to level 4 and you can revive each officer once with full health. Intimidation's default effect is "10% more people will surrender." At level 4 as many people as possible will surrender, and the officer can kick down doors with the force of C2.  ninja2 Sounds pretty cool - the skills are detailed on the back of the manual, btw.

-Square button issues default team orders; the R button brings up a control cursor and then you can see a full options menu including the typical SWAT game stuff (mirror under door, kick in door, blow open with C2, stack the team, or open the door and toss flashbang or gas grenade. When interacting with people options are restrain or interrogate. Sounds good, I'll hafta see whether this feels smooth or clumsy on psp. smile

-It's no Gears of War, but it says you can position an officer behind objects and they'll automatically assume a covered position. You can peek using the thumbstick and then fire from cover.

-A few buttons see double duty. For example, the Up directional arrow button is: tap to change weapon firing mode; press and hold to reload.

Multiplayer modes [Alas, it's strictly 4-player Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi -- there's no infrastructure [Internet play] support at all; I'm more interested in the single player, but I'm sure it's disappointing to many PSP fans]:
-Football: 2 or more players compete to collect hostages and bring them back to their base.
-Rodeo Round-up: 2 or more players lead assaults on their own personal load of a map selected by the host.
-The Great Escape: One player chosen to play as a SWAT officer whose goal is to escort a hostage from one point on a map to another. The other player(s) control terrorists whose goal is to stop the escape. Twist: The SWAT officer is escorting the terrorists' leader so there's a penalty if the terrorists get sloppy.
-There is, alas, no co-op, which is kind of a shame (I was a big SWAT 3/4 co-op fan).  icon_frown
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 06:04:19 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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Blackjack
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2007, 06:40:27 PM »

OK I'm a little scared of all the things the circle button is used for.  icon_surprised
-Run (hold button while moving)
-Restrain (while near compliant person)
-Interrogate (while near restrained person)
-Report (while near incapacitated person)
-Toggle Sniper mode (when prompted)
-Move-Red Officer (Cursor mode)
-Door commands-SWAT leader (hold near door)

Whew! I hope the PSP Slim's circle button is durable.  icon_cool
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Dante Rising
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2007, 07:10:10 PM »

It looks like this version of SWAT has a storyline from the writers of the FX show "The Shield". Very cool, as this is one of my favorite television programs. If SWAT plays as well as Killzone:Liberation, it is a must have for me.

Keep us informed, Blackjack!
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Blackjack
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2007, 08:14:06 PM »

That's a good point -- instead of the somewhat random police situations of the PC SWAT games, this has a storyline-bases single player campaign (foiling some terrorist plot in NYC).

I don't think this is as fast paced as Killzone: Liberation, just judging from gameplay movies. The larger graphics and characters mean there's a lot less map area visible on a screen than in Killzone, and movement seems quite a bit slower (though there's a sprint key).

The four squaddies each start with a strong rating in one of the four non-leadership skills (Accuracy; Intimidation; Interrogation; Observation). So I reckon it'll be kind of fun figuring out the best mix for a given mission.

Anyway, hopefully in 3-4 hours I can give it a whirl. smile
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Blackjack
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2007, 02:56:35 AM »

This is definitely not another Killzone: Liberation, as IGN's very crabby review (4.5/10) concluded:

IGN review
http://psp.ign.com/articles/828/828488p1.html?RSSwhen2007-10-18_160900&RSSid=828488
Quote
There's certainly room for a tactical isometric shooter, but that game is going to have to be at least half as good as the high water mark set by Killzone: Liberation, and this game doesn't even come close.
So, I'm afraid if you've finished Killzone: Liberation, and have played the downloadable Chapter 5 add-on, then you're better off continuing to wait.  tear The sad thing is, Guerrilla said in their forums that they've already put away their PSP kits and focused all their resources on their PS3 Killzone game. crybaby

But, my own thoughts? I'm not a reviewer, and I have a weakness sometimes for games that get trashed (my disclaimer).

I was wrong about the character models being larger. They are maybe a teeny bit larger, and in certain situations where the camera view zooms in, the character models basically scale up in size. And the viewpoint is a bit more vertical so as to let you see into the next room up to a certain point.

Once you go through the training missions, the controls aren't so hard to figure out, but if you just read the manual, they're quite intimidating.  saywhat Rather than have you manually aim, you press and hold the L button -- this maps up to all 4 of the circular buttons to any targets in sight. Tab the appropriate button, and then you are locked on that target (i.e., even if you move around, you'll remain aimed at that target you locked in on).

The R button is more of an interaction cursor, something like the mouse cursor in SWAT 3/4. Point out a door with it to get the appropriate squad commands, point at a complaying civvy to give restraining orders etc. There are a few options for automating things, like the interrogation of each civvy or terrorist. You can also set the two squadmates to "auto," " Lethal only" and "Less than lethal." I think even in LTF, I've seen them nail a terrorist with lethal weaponry so I guess they retain some autonomy. To some extent, the AI squaddies are too good -- sometimes I can't get a shot in.  Tongue [I know the reviewer complains the AI is awful -- there are some situations where environmental obstructions seem to to block their ability to get an accurate shot in].

While the controls all work OK, I find it a bit too easy to get mixed up. Given the fairly deliberate pace, you generally have time to get things in order (at least on Normal skill). I agree with the reviewer the "fire from cover" mechanic is clumsy and not terribly useful (it looks cool, it doesn't "play" cool in that regard).

The mission maps are pretty long. Start button pulls up a HUD, including a decent 3-D map of the level with cleared areas marked.

Cutscenes are a mix of some somewhat cheesy 3-D render cinematics, and some in-game graphics.

Sound is good, great even. Lots of digitized voices, and the weapons sound OK. Music can be a bit grating but you can adjust it in said HUD screen.

And the game is just sluggish. I guess that's on purpose to get a tactical "feel," but when you laugh out loud at how slow they look when in "sprint" mode, something's amiss.

So, I would probably caution anyone interested in this to try to rent it first if you can. If it doesn't do it for ya, perhaps the upcoming SOCOM: Tactical Strike (which isn't isometric, but seems like it is shaping up better as a tactical squaddie game) will hit the mark better. ninja2
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 02:59:47 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2007, 05:29:41 AM »

Uh, wow, those shooting controls sound really, really bad.

Damn, I was hoping Guerrilla would make a turn based strategy game set in the Killzone Universe.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 12:48:37 PM »

The shooting controls feel OK after some practice. They are hard to explain in writing without making it sound convoluted.  icon_smile If the PSP had a second thumbstick, I don't think 3G would've resorted to such a strange system to try to avoid making you manually aim.

I think I read 3G has previously only done games for cell phones (this is their first PSP title), so I can't help feeling some of the weaknesses in this are just from lack of familiarity with the PSP, its abilities and its controls. I know Killzone: Liberation was Guerilla's first (and alas, probably only) PSP effort, but maybe going from PS2 to PSP is an easier transition than from cellphone to PSP.  icon_neutral

I liked the mostly ill-reviewed Alien Syndrome (although very repetitive) up to a point, and to me that's the one PSP arcadey action game that has at least a little bit of Killzone: Liberation's energy, if not its polish and fun variety.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 05:32:06 PM »

UK Pocket Gamer has a review (still negative, 6/10, citing mainly the sluggish pace of play):

Pocket Gamer review
http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/PSP/SWAT%3A+Target+Liberty/review.asp?c=4462
Quote from: Pocket Gamer
That said, the core gameplay isn't horrible, it just fails to be interesting due to slow, monotonous pacing. And when it comes down to it, multiplayer in combination with a great visual presentation keeps Target Liberty from flat-lining.
The sad thing is, most later previews remarked on how sluggish the movement in the game felt. It's a shame the devs didn't take that to heart, ask for a little more time to work on it, and re-work the speed. Basically, the sprint speed feels like what the default movement speed *should* be.  disgust
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 05:34:11 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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