Early Access PC Key Provided by Void Interactive
Ready or Not is a tactical first-person shooter developed by Void Interactive, allowing players to take on the role of a police SWAT team in California. The game prides itself in realism and tactics focus gameplay. Currently, the game is in Steam Early Access and has received consistent community updates since its release on December 17, 2021. We decided to check out the game as we approach its one-year anniversary to see how much it has evolved as it nears its inevitable full launch.
Most modern FPS games steer away from realism in favor of fast-paced arcadey action. Ready or Not seeks the complete opposite in favor of realism and tactics. You take on the role of a SWAT police officer placed in high-stress situations across a multitude of locations. All missions come with the uncertainty of what to expect. Enemy spawns and objectives are always random and AI behaviors will have you on your toes since they can be unpredictable. This, along with teamwork and communication, is what this game is all about.
This multiplayer game allows you and your friends to team up in a tactical shooter simulation. In its current state, players have access to multiple maps that all have various mission types to choose from. The most common mission type is Barricaded Suspects, which requires your team to infiltrate the premises to save all civilians and neutralize/arrest all suspects. This is not a game to simply run and gun. Your character has a realistic weight and movement system which requires every step to be taken with thought. Not only that, but anyone with a weapon of any kind is an extreme threat. Raiding a low-lit drug house can be extremely dangerous especially if you do not check your corners. Crackheads with knives can end your life quickly if they get the jump on you. Every enemy is just as dangerous as the next and it’s up to you to de-escalate the situation.
Not every situation calls for lethal force. If a suspect has a knife and is fairly distant, the game encourages you to yell at them for compliance. “Put the weapon down!” or “Hands up!” is designated to the F key and it will be used a lot. Trying to get compliance from suspects and civilians is key to a successful mission. Of course, not everyone complies which can lead to a dead suspect, depending on the situation and your team’s gear. I like to carry pepper spray just in case we do run into a low-level threat that could be taken into custody as opposed to a kill.
The flow of Ready or Not consists of methodical advancement. Checking corners when entering a room, covering flanks, utilizing flash and stinger grenades to clear a room, and attempting to save every civilian possible. All of these things, along with teamwork and communication are imperative to success.
This tactical shooter sim does a great job of representing weapons in a video game. Your character can consist of a primary and secondary weapon, along with a utility tool to help with engagements. Breaching shotguns, battering rams, and gas grenade launchers are all valid options to take with you onto the field. You can also customize your body armor, the material it’s made of, and the various ammo types you want to take onto the field. Jacketed hollow point rounds and armor-piercing rounds can both be brought into a mission. You can tap the weapon key to swap between the ammo types willingly.
Everything has an animation, including the ability to check ammo. There is no HUD indicating the rounds you have left in your mag. You hold down the R key to do a quick ammo check from your mag, causing your character to remove the mag from the gun and check to see how many rounds are left in it. This causes you to think before checking, since you will be vulnerable for a few seconds. When things get heated, the game does allow you to double tap R for a tactical reload, which essential has your charcter drop your current mag and quickly reloads a new one. Once the firefight is over, you can go back and pick upm your dropped mag, just inc case you might need it for another room.
Reloads and not lost, meaning you keep your mags on your person. If you shoot half a clip and reload normally, your character will take out the current mag, store it, then reload with a new one. This is a realistic approach that is much more favored than simply losing the remaining ammo in the current clip. This simple dynamic keeps things realistic and forces you to strategize when in a firefight.
There are multiple modes including Hostage Rescue, Bomb Threat, Raid, and Gunman. It seems like not all modes are playable and all levels at the moment, but there are plenty of maps to take on, and it’s worth noting that typically different modes will have an alternative map layout in most locations.
Multiplayer is a blast with friends looking to take tactics seriously. There are no revives in this hardcore shooter so make sure you cover each other’s backs! Your entire team can be viewed via their headcams in the upper right corner of the screen and you can willingly scroll through your team’s cams to see everything they are seeing. It truly makes you feel like you are a part of a SWAT squad and it helps strengthen the game’s tactical aspects.
AI behavior can be realistic, with some surrendering only to fake it once you come in with the arrest, only to have them attempt to stab you in the throat. Some suspects can fake their death and shoot you from behind if you forget to restrain them. All of these systems help immerse you in the high-stress situations that an officer would go through. However, the AI is not perfect. Some will be able to see you through walls and kill you by shooting through the wall. Others will act completely dumb and stare at a corner, allowing for an easy kill. These scenarios are not common but they did happen in a couple of my sessions, so there is still work to be done here.
The game plays great and it’s a fantastic tactical shooter sim that I would recommend to anyone looking for a realistic experience to play with friends. Keep in mind that a lot of the updated content is first released to owners of the Supporter Edition of the game. This is a bit odd since you would think that Void Interactive would want everyone to experience the new maps and updates together, but it is a way to help fund the developers into making a true spiritual successor to SWAT 3 and SWAT 4 from Sierra.
I am not in favor of charging $80 for the ability to get first dibs on an update that will eventually come out available for everyone but it is completely optional. It does include the game’s first DLC content drop when it fully launches out of early access, but for now, it’s not necessary unless you truly want to support the devs. Otherwise, just wait for the content to be released for free and then enjoy it with the entire community.
I would like to see the ability to customize your missions, allowing you to set up your own scenarios to take on with your friends. Maybe a hostage situation along with a bomb threat and a plethora of civilians? I know the MOD community support is heavy with this game but it would be nice to see something built into the final product.
Ready or Not is one of the best tactical shooters I have played. It gives a wealth of options to take on missions with friends, allowing you to mix up recycled maps and try new tactics. A plethora of maps and modes make this a great time killer and the slowed-down pace will cause some intense moments with your friends. This game is on track to becoming something great upon final release and it’s already fantastic in its current state.
Ready or Not is available now on Steam Early Access for PC.