Last year, I built a gaming PC. I wanted to get back into gaming away from my console and back to PC gaming, which I used to love. One of my favourite games was SWAT 4. The mechanics of the game were excellent, marrying tactics and control with the usual excitement of a first-person shooter. So when I saw Ready or Not on Steam, I jumped at it, pulled the trigger, and bought it. But I’ve been left feeling that I rushed that purchase just a little bit.
What is Ready or Not About?
The fictional city of Los Sueños is a city in turmoil. Crime rates are soaring and the police are stretched thin. In response, the LSPD has enlisted David ‘Judge’ Beaumont as the Commander of the LSPD SWAT team. Beaumont is tasked with bringing peace back to the city, but he will need to navigate a world of extremists, crooked politicians, and illicit activities. The SWAT team has been improved and given access to the best equipment, but Beaumont will still need to rely on his team’s mental and physical health in order to succeed.
This is the setting at the core of Ready or Not. Run the missions, command your team, navigate the buildings and either arrest or kill the bad guys. Sounds simple. Yet, the game’s makers have fumbled some mechanics which leave the game massively frustrating to play.
Now, an important stipulation is that I bought this game to play solo, not online. That’s just how I like to roll, but this likely changes the enjoyment a fair bit. Anyway, just what didn’t I like?
Ready or Not focuses on two main game modes; Practice Mode and commander mode. Once in Commander Mode, you are in charge of your team. You pick them, pick their load outs and are responsible for their well-being; mental and physical.
Commander Mode is incredibly frustrating. When you die, you have to sit through a scoreboard that tots up what you did and didn’t score, before being awarded a grade. You cannot skip this scoring process. Then, you are dropped back at your station and have to walk to the briefing room.
It’s incredibly frustrating to have to navigate this every time you die instead of a simple restart. There’s no story to buy into here either. It all makes this game really hard to play for any kind of extended period.
Odd Design Choices
I loved SWAT 4 because it was almost like a simulator. Ready or Not dabbles with the idea of being a simulator, but then just seems to stop taking itself so seriously. I’ve had bits of briefings missing. The planner for your missions is so useless. When choosing weapons there are no traditional info readily available to help pick one gun over another.
What’s really frustrating is that it Ready or Note should be an excellent game. But for some reason, the developers have made really odd choices. The kind of choices that leave you scratching your head.
Not least of which is pretty much unacceptable in modern game development.
No Female Officers
So I should mention the game is quite fun when it’s good. But I couldn’t help but see a glaring issue with the SWAT teams. There are no female police officers.
Now, let’s be fair. Women do make up a small percentage of SWAT teams. In fact, it’s less than 1% in real. But games are supposed to give you creative license. I’m not in SWAT either but here I am – commanding a SWAT team. Lots of excuses will be given. It’s a small game house and the likes. But for me, there’s no excuse.
The developers do state on Steam they “fully intend to add woman SWAT officers once it is feasible for us to do so, as with our current team size it would be difficult to add new model rigging, animations, etc. while also working on the game”.
Should it be more of a priority? To me – that’s a yes.
Ready or Not is still fairly fun. I can knock the game for silly decisions, but it still scratches the itch that comes from watching a police TV show. I got a Steam key for about €30 which means I don’t regret buying Ready or Not – but I nearly piad €50 direct from the developer. I want to play around with some mods and maybe try online a bit more. I feel like there’s fun to be had with this game. While it can’t match the fun of SWAT 4 it might just offer up a good game if I play with a fresh set of eyes.
But, the devs leave too much at risk for me. At the end of the day, surely they want to release something fun? I’m not sure they have.