Game Over Online ~ SWAT 3: Elite Edition

GameOver Game Reviews - SWAT 3: Elite Edition (c) Sierra, Reviewed by - Nicky Dimes

Game & Publisher SWAT 3: Elite Edition (c) Sierra
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 233, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 0%
Date Published Saturday, November 4th, 2000 at 08:06 PM

Divider Left By: Nicky Dimes Divider Right

When Sierra Studios released SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle last year, it immediately rivalled Red Storm's Rainbow Six series in terms of a quality first-person tactical shooter. It was an intense and immersive gaming experience that featured solid, realistic AI and impressive graphics. It was far from perfect though. For starters, the documentation was horribly neglected, creating a rather steep learning curve as potential officers had to basically figure out commands and objectives by trial and error. The interface was rigid, creating awkward moments on the battlefield, and the weapon physics were suspect. Perhaps the most glaring hitch in SWAT 3 was the lack of any multiplayer whatsoever. All that's been taken care of though, as Sierra has released SWAT 3: Elite Edition, an upgrade of sorts that not only addresses the minor issues, but also adds multiplayer to an already enjoyable game.

To Sierra's credit, owners of the original SWAT 3 will be happy to learn that they won't have to purchase a second SWAT 3 product. Instead, you can surf on over to Sierra's website and download a free 30-meg patch that will bring your version of SWAT 3 up to par with the Elite Edition product. So what exactly has been enhanced or added in this package?

To open with, the single-player experience has been tweaked quite a bit. The inflexible controls and interface have been upgraded to allow users to re-map the keyboard and mouse controls. More importantly, you can allocate a single button or key in order to lean to the left or right, resulting in the ability to peek around corners without causing any commotion. The Elite Edition also sports a new helmet-mounted display providing all sorts of useful information pertaining to orders and commands assigned to various squads. Weapon effects weigh a little heavier in combat now. Each gun behaves a little differently depending upon their weight, making it more challenging to aim and change targets. Players can also now toggle the strength of throwing grenades and lightsticks, allowing for better placement.

SWAT 3: Elite Edition also adds five new maps to the game: an L.A. subway station, a hospital, a heavily guarded house in the hills, Chang's theatre, and an airfield. These five new missions can be played in both single-player and multiplayer. Which of course brings us to the most significant addition to SWAT 3, multiplayer. You can play any one of 22 maps in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Co-Op or Last Man Standing. Unfortunately, Elite Edition only supports up to five players in one game, whereas its counterpart, Rogue Spear, allows for up to 16 players. The inability to play with more than 5 players keeps a lid on the potential for team games, so you'll probably find yourself playing a lot of Co-Op, which is by far the most intriguing of the multiplayer modes. You'll also find that once a multiplayer mission comes to a close, you'll get booted out of the game back to the server, where you'll have to seek out the same players if you'd like to continue playing with them. There's a lack of a control when it comes to playing multiple games online.

With those gripes aside, the multiplayer experience is just as intense as the single player component. There's nothing like playing with a group of human players in Co-Op, rather than putting your life in the hands of a computer-controlled trooper. It's extremely simple to find servers using Sierra's internal browser and while you might experience a few problems connecting properly (a patch has been released which addresses this issue), the actual gameplay is as smooth as a baby's bottom. You shouldn't have any problems finding players either, the activity level on the servers is quite high.

Last but not least, the mod community will be happy to know that SWAT 3: Elite Edition also includes a set of development tools that allows gamers to create their own missions, levels and player skins. Like any set of tools, it's not the easiest utility to use, but those who are dedicated to continuing the SWAT 3 experience will undoubtedly enjoy it's inclusion.

When the smoke clears and the press shows up at the scene, this is what SWAT 3 should have been a year ago. The addition of multiplayer really adds a whole other dimension to the gaming experience. The single-player has been tweaked nicely to address some of the issues gamers had from the original. To top it off, owners of the original SWAT 3 won't even have to shell out a single penny to reap the benefits of the Elite Edition. Some might say this upgrade came a little late, but better late than never.

[ 40/50 ] Gameplay
[ 07/10 ] Plotline
[ 09/10 ] Graphics
[ 08/10 ] Sounds
[ 09/10 ] Controls
[ 08/10 ] Bugs


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