SWAT 4 Gold edition is a bargin at it's budget price and is worth checking out if you are a fan of the SWAT series.
In SWAT 4 Gold you are the team or element leader of two 2-man squads. There are 14 missions in SWAT 4, and 7 missions in The Stetchkov Syndicate. Missions range from rescuing hostages to arresting a wanted and at-large suspect. The game is played in the popular first person view so it makes it feels like a shooter. Which is kind of is but isn't in the normal sense. SWAT is a life saving organization, so while you can go into situations equiped with a 12 guage shotgun, MP5 sub machine gun, or a M4 assault rifle your main goal is to arrest suspects, not kill them. This makes the game alot of fun and stressful at times. You would love to just drop the suspect but it's alot more fun to go through a level arresting everyone instead of killing everyone, that's just way to easy. And you will be docked points for killing suspects and if you kill a civilian is mission over. Which can happen some times on accident and that really sucks as there are no quick saves or checkpoints in this game.
Thankfully to help you arrest suspects instead of kill them you can use a tazer, flashbangs, gas grenades, and stinger grenades. You can also use bean bag ammo in you 12 guage and use a paint ball gun equiped with balls filled with tear gas. The tazer is execellent at getting suspects and civilians to do what you want but it only has one shot. In The Stetchkov Syndicate you get a updated tazer that has two shots. If your not in the arresting mood you can equip your M4 with hollow point or full metal jacket rounds.
The gameplay in a nut shell is you and your element will make your way into a building, arrest all suspects and rescue all civilians. You will usually have a option of entry points into a building and will be able to see a layout of the building during the mission briefing. Sometimes the layout is detailed and sometimes it's not. During the briefing you will also select your weapon loadout. Controlls are very simple and easy to use, actually the entire interface of the game is very simple to use and commanding your teammates is very easy. When you move your target cursor onto a door or a point on the floor and press the right mouse button a menu will appear that will have all the entry options you can perform. Select what you want your team mates to do and they will do it...sometimes. Every now and then I had to tell them twice until they performed a order. And when you tell them to move to a certian spot they will just take whatever way they want to, this includes going into a room with suspects. Sometimes they do some really stupid things but for the most part the AI is ok. The suspects AI is pretty good, if they see you they will either open fire or run.
There are a few new gameplay tweeks introducted in The Stetchkov Syndicate expansion pack. There are some new equipment items but the most helpful addition is the ability to issue a hold order. If there are two doorways into a room you can have each squad stack up against a door, you then can issue commands to have your squads hold at the doors until you give the order to enter. This lets your squads enter a room from different points and cover more area. This makes the expansion pack alot easier, most of the levels are set up to take advantage of this option. Sometimes in SWAT 4 your entire team will be killed entering a room from one door. The option to come into a room at two different points makes it alot easier.
The graphics are pretty good, the levels, characters, and just about everything looks really good. The sound is also good, the weapons and explosions all sound good and the voice work is very good.
Overall SWAT 4 Gold is a great game and it's such a steal at it's budget price. If you have been interested in this game then it's worth your time and money to check it out.