PC Game -- SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate

If you've already got SWAT 4 (and you'll need it if you want to play this expansion pack), you'll already be aware that it's one of the few first-person shooters that places the emphasis firmly on tactics, teamwork and, most importantly, non-lethal containment. As such, successful completion requires a thoughtful approach - run-and-gun just doesn't cut it.

The expansion is no exception, with you heading up a five-man team called in to neutralise a variety of criminals and situations. Instead of a series of unrelated incidents, The Stetchkov Syndicate builds a storyline into the seven new missions.

These are as challenging as before (so pretty tough), but you've got some new toys and weapons to play with, too. Light sticks can mark rooms that you've already cleared, and night-vision goggles should help when the lights go out.

As before, environments range from gloomy and oppressive to expansive and bright, with clever combinations of choke points and open spaces that require careful consideration before you proceed.

The expansion pack also increases the number of players in the online game to 10, with a new "Smash and Grab" mode and voice support.

Sadly, the AI is the same as before, so you'll still get the occasional pathing error from your team mates, but SWAT fans should definitely add The Stetchkov Syndicate to their collection.

Click here to view Screenshot 1, and here for Screenshot 2
Visuals: Varied and realistic, though not as detailed as some first-person shooters.
Audio: Lots of shouting. Musical stings accompany signature moments.
Gameplay: Aside from the occasional AI inconsistency and the need to pepper-spray innocents, this is a worthy addition to an excellent game.
Score: 4 stars (out of 5)
URL: www.swat4.com
Price: $49.95

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Laurence Grayson

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