We've been following it step-by-step since it was in Early Access, and now that it's out we're amazed at how unnoticed this game is. On the other hand, with a promotional effort close to zero, KillHouse Games could not expect the world to go looking for them with the lantern. Luckily, almost a year ago, Door Kickers hit our eyes, and it was love at first sight. The game fills an important void, that of top-down special team simulators, and it does it excellently.
To date we can consider it the best real-time strategy game with SWAT out of the way. Seventy missions, infinite ways to approach each scenario and as many ways to fail miserably. And since SWAT is serious, bankruptcy is not part of the operations manual. So we try and retry a mission up to thirty times in a row, changing approach, armaments, disposition of agents. If we just can't make it, let's move on to a few more cases, unlock new weapons, and get back harder and more prepared than before. Because every aspect of this game is an incentive to perfect. And it is remarkable that KillHouse Games has managed to study a never frustrating game system. The scenarios can be closed with an excellent result in less than a minute (even those on multiple floors) so it is not a pain to start from scratch. And then the fast pace, the hundreds of shots fired per second and the disproportionate number of corpses that we leave behind as soon as we break in, keep the interest alive even after countless attempts. Above all because every mistake teaches us something, always. As the game also says, you can finish a mission with some dead agent, but the fact remains that our tactics sucked. And if these words don't hurt your pride, then you are in the wrong game.
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Ready for everything
Each mission repays us with experience points for the agents involved, who thus rise in rank, improving their skills. We also get stars to spend on new gear and doctrine points for the skill branch. From the point of view of armaments, the game does not let itself be begged and offers dozens of options for each class. There are four classes defined by the type of weapon: pistol, submachine gun, shotgun, shield, or silenced weapon.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each class and weapon, so you can imagine how many combinations are possible, without considering the choice of the type of protection for the body and secondary accessories, which we will return to later. Preparing our team before a mission is one of the subtle pleasures of the game. In all, there are ten agents on the team, but the actual number on the field changes according to the task. While it is true that each mission opens up to many different approaches, however, we must consider what the objective is. When there are hostages involved, for example, it is better not to be announced by shooting from the windows like crazy, or to throw grenades into a room without first having peeked through the door with the appropriate portable camera. Likewise, breaking into a drug factory from a single entrance and noisily will give the traffickers time to destroy a lot of evidence. When it comes to defusing a bomb, we believe that there is no need to tell you that speed is everything. There are also many other variations to consider. Do the enemies know we're coming? Do we need a taser for a high-risk arrest warrant? Finally, it is the very conformation of the scenario that recommends the use of certain weapons rather than others. If we are in the open field, a precise machine gun is better than one that takes down an elephant, while enemies with a bodice and AK-47 must be stunned by a blinding grenade and hit at least on both sides so as not to give them time to recover and replicate. Variety is one of the game's strong points, and the developers promise to add new missions over a long period. Already in this way, however, you will be spoiled for choice. Between the plane in the hands of terrorists and the drug cartel barricaded in a seaside villa, no day's work is alike.
The art of giving orders
The tactical component of Door Kickers is flexible and very satisfying. You can always play in real time, dragging one agent at a time, even if it is difficult to get great results. Much better to pause the game and give commands to each individual agent, and then restart the action and admire the result, or be horrified by the disaster.
The long gestation of the game in Early Access allowed the developers to create a very specific but easy to master system, which it even allows you to assign all the commands necessary for the entire mission at the beginning and then stop and watch the agents who complete a raid on three floors without touching the mouse. This is certainly one of the greatest satisfactions that Door Kickers can offer, and it is always accompanied by a medal and experience points at will. Going into more detail, we can establish how the point of view of an agent rotates during the assigned path, decide when to stop and when to restart, perhaps at the exact moment when another throws a blinding bomb. Any action can be coordinated with that of other SWATs. Agents with silenced weapons also have the ability to keep a target at gunpoint and fire only when we decide. Then there is the doors to consider. In this case it is the equipment we were talking about before that makes the difference. We can pick them by hand or with a quick tool, place a charge that stuns those on the other side, break them down with a hammer blow, with a shotgun or, if there is a lock, break it with large pincers. Some methods are faster, others noisier, and it's up to us to decide which is best based on the situation and tactics we have in mind. Imagine an orchestra in which each component must play its part precisely and in time. Well, if you are good at giving commands, seeing your team in action is like listening to a symphony played by a large orchestra. Pure pleasure.
Never a moment of rest
The final version of Door Kickers includes the campaign mode, absent during early access. There are three campaigns in all, divided into missions linked together by a logical thread. This mode needs to be enhanced, but the developers are aware of this and in fact they are working to add new campaigns, narrative scenes between missions, missions that take place simultaneously and developments based on the results obtained in the different phases.
At the moment the only significant change is the wounding of agents, who do not heal from one mission to another in the campaign, or the final death if we activate the Iron Man option. Unfortunately this it is not enough to create an emotional bond between us and our agents, above all because everyone can interpret any class, depriving us of a true personalization. With any luck, this will also be considered in the months to come. While the automatic generation of campaigns is still in the works, we can already use the random mission generator, which we assure you will be working on after a long time. The standard missions in fact provide different possible dispositions of the enemies and, with three medals to unlock for each level, you will replay them over and over again. Anyone who still wants an endless gaming experience can access the level editor, which is intuitive and easy to use. Finally there is the button that opens the mod screen. There are dozens of them, although many need to be updated to work with the newly released version of the game. At the moment mods expand the number of weapons available, add new uniforms and activate graphic changes, such as bullet holes on enemy bodies and corpses that do not disappear from the screen as they do now, leaving a black crime scene silhouette. From a graphic point of view we have little to complain about, because the scenarios are very detailed and distinct from each other. Unfortunately, the game engine does not allow you to carry out the action simultaneously on multiple floors, and the command that allows us to climb the stairs sometimes leaves some agents behind. But they are subtleties, and could be fixed with subsequent updates. Meanwhile, we have seventy missions to finish in record time.
PC System Requirements
- The editorial team uses the ASUS CG8250 Personal Computer
- Intel Core i7 2600 processor
- 8 GB of RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card
- Windows 7 operating system
- Intel Pentium IV 2.6 GHz processor or equivalent
- 2 GB RAM
- Video card with OpenGL 2.0 graphics adapter
- DirectX 9.0 c
- Windows XP SP3 or later operating system
CommentDigital Delivery Steam, Official Site Price 18,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Elegant and precise in handling troops, Door Kickers even allows us to assign all the commands for a mission and then watch our team clean up a den of drug traffickers without touching the mouse. With seventy different missions, infinite approaches to each map and an enviable strategic depth, Door Kickers is the ultimate tactical SWAT simulator with a top view. It still lacks something to be perfect, but the developers are already working on it.
- Huge variety of possible situations and tactics
- Refined and satisfying simulation
- Between missions, campaigns, level editor and random mission generator you will play for months
- Encourage improvement without becoming frustrating
- Campaigns need to be boosted
- We wish we could become more attached to individual agents
- The action is limited to one plan at a time