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Review: Heat & SWAT 4

February 4, 2011

Heat may be one of the seminal crime dramas, at least in part due to starring two giants of the genre, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Neil McCauley (DeNiro) and his team plan to rob a bank with an estimated twelve million payoff. Meanwhile, homicide lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Pacino) is hot on their trails, investigating an armored car robbery and murder. The robbery culminates in a six-minute long running gunfight through the streets of Los Angeles, which makes it a strong contender for greatest bank robbery ever committed to film.

If you have ever seen someone or heard someone doing an Al Pacino impression, this is the movie they were quoting. “She got a GREAT ASS! And you got your head…ALL THE WAY UP IT!” Seriously, Pacino in this movie would give Christopher Walken a run for his money. The casting department for this movie is full of geniuses. Between DeNiro and Pacino, there is no way this movie would end poorly.

Now, I’m not what you’d call a fan of the whole crime drama genre, but I love this movie. I just enjoyed everything about this movie. The interplay between Pacino and DeNiro is fantastic, the story is amazing, the action sequences are expertly choreographed, and the only problem is the movie is two an a half hours long, and even good movies start to wear on you after that long. Go to wherever you get DVDs from and find a copy. Now. Don’t even bother to read the rest of the page, you can do it in three hours.

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In SWAT 4, you play the leader of a five-man SWAT team in the metropolis of Fairview, a fictional version of New York. Your team is apparently the only one in the state, as the missions you get are all over the place in terms of what you have to do. SWAT is called out for everything from gas station stickups to domestic terrorists.

The game is balls hard. It’s a police procedural game, combined with a first-person shooter, and if that sounds awkward, it’s because it is. The first few missions are relatively easy: bust someone for illegally modifying weapons, bring in a serial killer, take down crackheads who decide to hold up a gas station. After that, the things SWAT is called out for make the jump to ridiculous levels of difficulty. The enemy AI is very good, which sucks for you because they behave like actual people would, which means turning into a camping bitch.

The friendly AI, on the other hand, not quite as good. The police have no initiative whatsoever. Everything they do, you have to order them to do. They throw worse than an infant, dropping flashbangs at their own feet. When they clear a room, they don’t really clear a room. They take three steps inside, and loudly proclaim that the room is clear. Meanwhile, you’ve rushed in after a suspect, expecting to have backup, and they just stand there at the door, staring at you as some guy in body armor shoots you right in the shin with a sawed-off. And that makes it impossible to run or climb stairs at a reasonable clip. You’ll limp up the stairs, dragging your useless, shredded foot behind you.

Some of the weapons are flat out ridiculous, too. You might be fooled into taking an auto shotgun with slugs because, hey, who wouldn’t want their shotgun to fire faster? Do not do it. If you ever get hit in the arm, and you will, your shot will pull like, four feet. The rifles are complete overkill half the time, and the OC paintball gun and beanbag shotgun are some of the best weapons in the game because they let you shoot suspects on sight without losing points for using deadly force.

The points system, though, is really the part of the game the bends you over the table. Shoot someone who pulled a magnum on you? Minus ten points because you didn’t give him a chance to surrender. Even though he pointed a magnum at your chest. There are times when self-preservation and civilian protection takes precedence over procedure, and that is a classic example of one of them.

SWAT 4 isn’t a bad game. It’s just…kind of dumb sometimes. If you’re willing to play by the game’s rules, it can be fun (especially when you taser someone right in the head). But if you play it like your standard FPS, you’re going to die. A lot. Like I said, camping bitches. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to get a copy, but if you find one for, say, $10, and you like these kind of procedural games, you could do worse.

 

As always, if you agree, disagree, think I’m a moron, have a movie or game you want reviewed, tell me in the comments or drop me a line at gameandamovie@gmail.com. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to sleep.

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