Ready or Not 

Red & Black Gamers

31st May 2022

Ready or Not is a tactical shooter where you take on the role of a member of a S.W.A.T (Special Weapons And Tactics) team and you play through scenarios from hostage rescue to counterterrorism using equipment and tactics that the real American pigs use! Woo!. Despite still being in it's beta it really has taken milsim nerds hostage. (pun intended)

The game, just like Insurgency: Sandstorm, has no specific plot. It's set in a fictionalised American city called Los Suenos. From the in game description;

"Life in Los Suenos is unforgiving. The sidewalks are littered with the tents of the homeless, people clamour for money to keep themselves off the streets. Criminal activity is at an all time high"

Bleak, but very real.

I hope you like the dark! Almost every map in the game is in low-light settings (dingy apartments, underground wine cellars, hotel backrooms) and the missions seem to take place at night / dawn most of the time so you'll be squinting. Adjusting your brightness might be cheating but I thought it was the only way to see a single thing on some of the maps. There's also night vision goggles which are essential on some maps.

The sound design is impressive, all the weapons sound different and suppressors don't make your gun sound like it's a NERF gun so there's that. Due to it being in beta, the voice lines are limited, sometimes a bit clunky. I.e. when breaking using explosives, the member your team placing them will say "need C2 up front" rather than something like "explosives planted" or something also when checking under a door in a room you've already cleared, your guys will tell you "contact in sight" if it's someone who's already been arrested or killed which is confusing at times... Civies and "Suspects' ' alike have many voice lines both just when they're chatting or threatening one another and during combat/surrendering.

There is some light soundtrack ambience to the game which most times is hardly noticeable yet very fitting.

The game has an immersive menu which is a sort of police station where you can customise your weapons, equipment, character and their uniform. You also select missions from this screen and can practice live firing in a range or in an assault course with dummy targets.
There's actually a really impressive amount of firearms to pick and a good few actually useful bits of tactical equipment. Not to mention very decent customization including being able to fold the stocks on some of the SMGs so you're more mobile and flexible.

You select which mission to play by going over to a desk and picking from a map-menu. There are 5 game modes which increase in difficulty.

Barricaded Suspects: "Suspects" and Civilians are scattered throughout an area, arrest them all but you're allowed to shoot at them if you're threatened.

Raid: "Suspects" are more dangerous (aka, less handguns, more ARs and less likely to throw their hands up when the door opens) and your rules of engagement have been relaxed. You can essentially fire on sight without consequences. Their number is often higher also which adds a new challenge since you're only given 4 magazines for your SMG or AR so you've gotta be precise... Otherwise you'll be breaching with your handgun (which you also get 4 magazines for) the game has an immersive reload function in which the bullets leftover don't magically re-sort. Your character drops empty mags on the floor or pockets magazines with spare rounds.

Active Shooter: A gunman is killing unarmed people, kill them before they kille everyone. This one can be really difficult based only on where you are in proximity to the shooter(s) sometimes the shooter is in the next room, sometimes they're two floors down and killing someone every 40 seconds.

Bomb Threat: There's a bomb in a building, defuse it first then kill/detain everyone in the building. As you can imagine this one is a pain in the ass as you've got to both rush  to find the bomb and not trip on a tripwire in the process.

Hostage Rescue: There's hostages somewhere in a building. Find them and save them by being quiet and taking out/arresting the hostage takers before they pull the trigger. This is almost what I imagined the game would be like. They take action on hearing loud things pretty quickly, breaching doors with a shotgun or even your boot if you're not sure how close you are is a big no-no.

Each one of these can be surprisingly difficult until you learn to take it slow and steady. Mirroring for suspects and traps under every door. The gameplay being mechanical and boring can be thrown off massively by a civilian pulling a knife and trying to stab you as you approach to arrest.

The feel of actually going room-to-room is surprisingly smooth. At various times I had to perform complex tasks like splitting my team in half and breaching a room using different equipment and tactics but I never lost track of which buttons to press to make it all happen. Even though you move very slowly and your opponents often sprint while mag-dumping a 20 round mag from a 7.62 battle rifle at your squad who seldom take cover. It is challenging but not impossible to win most firefights. Especially because your opponents often bottle it when shot at and call it a day..

Unfortunately none of my anarchist mates fancies roleplaying as cops so I completed this one using AI teammates rather than with humans. I can imagine that it would be far more fun with your friends botching entries rather than bots.

Some of the 'suspects' you are out to get aren't exactly redeemable. In some of the maps, they're wearing black armbands with hard to read text and the civilians have bomb vests on. In others it's young men in hoodies trying to stab 4 SWAT team members with assault rifles. One which really hit me is a map called 'Ides of March' which is a scenario where a group have barricaded themselves in after attempting to assassinate a politician who cut funding to a veterans association which even the game called under-supported. And then wiping these guys out is fine since they killed 3 cops in the attempt.

ROE (rules of engagement) apply in all the different scenarios and as such the game can either punish you heavily for blasting through suspects on sight or actively encouraging you to kill people by blowing doors open on them. Furthermore shooting surrendered or running suspects is okay in most modes so it's a bit awks when the roe basically is as floppy as the real feds's ROE.

Even more funny, many of the suspects call you a pig as you arrest them.

Like I mentioned above there is an all to real position the police are in within this game and it's so close to real life it made playing it at times sort of awkward. Celebrating arresting like 35 people isn't that much of an anarchist vibe.

Furthermore there's a handful of other issues; the game makes a clear jab at poor people in the description for the raid on the "low income developments" in the hunt for Methamphetamine. And on the Dockyard map, your largely Slavic Accented opponents say things like "i am an American citizen" upon arrest..

When you kill / arrest all of the suspects each mission gives you the prompt that you've "BrOugHT OrDeR tO chAos" which is so corny I kinda want to keep failing missions.

100% I'd say if you can get it on sale and you really want to play a difficult CQB style shooter with questionable values. I don't really like paying this kind of money for incomplete games so I'm glad I had a coupon.


Kuwasi Maroon
Ready Or Not by VOID Interactive is available now on steam for £30.99

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