VOID Interactive's tactical shooter isn't for the faint-hearted, but boy is it a blast.
Back in December, around a week before the holidays, VOID Interactive released its tactical FPS Ready or Not on Steam Early Access. The game tasks players with commanding and operating a SWAT unit as they are sent into highly dangerous scenarios to eliminate or detain threats without racking up casualties or being killed in the line of duty. On the surface, it's a style of game that seems similar to Rainbow Six: Siege, but in reality, this is a title that's far more challenging and demanding, and requires a lot of patience and strategy to be able to succeed.
As a huge fan of shooter games, particularly ones where being quick on the trigger counts, I was instantly attracted to what Ready or Not brings to the table, and quickly grabbed myself a copy. With this in mind, a little bit of hubris followed as I assumed my experience in other shooters would translate and carry into Ready or Not. From a core game control perspective, this was the case as the gunplay is truly top-of-the-line and a lot of mechanics from other games can be brought into Ready or Not, but that is about as far as my prior experiences took me. Let me explain why.
The idea of pointing and clicking to aim and discharge a firearm is a major part of Ready or Not. This is really nothing surprising for the FPS genre. But where in a lot of shooters, you can run around and rely on your own abilities to win a gunfight, playing like this (while not exactly possible as the movement is far heavier and slow) will mean certain and pretty much instantaneous death in Ready or Not. This game is designed as a realistic interpretation of modern-day SWAT police, and you have to play as though behind every door is a hostile combatant pointing a 12-gauge shotgun at you. But more than that, as you have to also assume that every closed door is booby-trapped with some form of explosive and that every civilian is actually a hostile concealing a weapon. It's genuinely terrifying, and you really do have to double, nay triple-check before making any action, as I can personally guarantee that the one door you don't check, will have a trip mine connected to it.
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While all of this already makes for an FPS experience that is incredibly challenging to master, being a SWAT unit, your duty is to defuse a hostile scenario as quickly as possible, meaning the aim is to be as fluid and swift as you can be. Granted, the burden of doing this is alleviated by having a squad of SWAT officers (be it AI allies or online players) joining you for the ride, a squad that you can command or communicate with to be able to breach and clear your way through the many different levels available. And I mention breach and clearing, as some levels, for example Wenderly Hills Hotel, will require you to clear tens of rooms as you look for armed hostiles and civilians within the level. There are also other more open levels, such as 4U Gas Station where the tense close-quarter action is replaced with the potential to be fired upon by a combatant concealed at the back of large room, so whichever way you look at it, Ready or Not requires you to adapt to conflicts of a variety of kinds.
But anyway, back to the teamplay. The system that VOID Interactive has designed revolves around the commanding player (assuming you're playing solo and giving orders to AI squad mates) asking the other SWAT officers to unlock doors, clear a room by throwing in a flashbang and then proceeding to eliminate or detain any armed hostiles, as examples. It might seem like the AI does the heavy lifting here, but you only have a limited number of throwables meaning you have to make sure you're only breaching rooms that need to be breached, by sliding the snake camera under a door to scout a room without needing to actually enter. If you don't scout a room before giving your teammates orders, they might wander unknowingly into a trap, meaning your mission will be tainted by a dead officer as you simply failed to do your job as a leader correctly.
To really put a cherry on top, your squad mates won't do a lot without your command, meaning if you decide to push ahead alone and find yourself under fire and pressured by a group of combatants, it will take a while for your squad to catch up, of which by that time you will probably be dead. So as you can see, teamplay and proceeding methodically is of the utmost importance at all times.
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While Ready or Not is not a game for the faint-hearted, I do recommend shooter fans give it a try. This is a title that will push you to your limits and ask you to act with caution and patience, even more so as you crank up the difficulty to tackle even more demanding and hostile scenarios. But, assuming you have the grit and determination to rise to the challenge of this game, then Ready or Not is an FPS that will keep you entertained and enthralled in a way that isn't all that common in the FPS genre as of late.