SWAT: Target Liberty

SWAT: Target LibertyAn abundance of obscure Japanese RPGs aside, the PSP hasn’t exactly had the best of the best when it comes to software this year. Exclusive titles have been few and far between, and even when they do appear they often fail both critically and commercially. Sadly this top-down tactical shooter fails to buck the trend… which is odd seeing as top-down tactical shooters usually work quite well on handhelds.

Firstly, running and gunning is out of the question. In fact, if you shoot before politely asking foes to surrender and drop their weapons you’ll end up with a penalty. It’s all about taking things slow, ordering your two teammates – who have their own skill sets, ranging from headshots to interrogation – to check ahead, and approaching every single sodding door you come across with caution.

Without question, opening doors with style is SWAT’s forte. You can stick a mirror underneath to look for enemies, place C2 to blow them wide open and potentially kill anybody lurking behind, send in your teammates to clear the area, chuck in a flash grenade or just simply kick the door down. Unfortunately though your teammates aren’t too clever, rarely acting wisely without your instruction.

That’s the least of the problems. Once you’ve made your way through the first level, a subway in the midst of a raging gang war, you’ve seen pretty much everything the game has to offer. From then on it’s just a case of making your way through maze-like levels, bursting into rooms and taking out enemies until you reach the end and a cutscene appears. It doesn’t help that the auto-aim takes ages to lock on either.

It’s a pity as the PSP’s widescreen is ideal for this type of game and the controls have clearly had a lot of thought put into them. The unlockable FMV clips, taken from an actual SWAT training school documentary, are a nice extra and the music provides some decent atmosphere. But when you start being shot to bits by off screen enemies while your teammates stand there picking their noses, the entire atmosphere is lost.

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