Remembering SWAT and Factions

Recently, I’ve been replaying quite a few old games. In a time where the backlog should be tackled or actually playing new games I bought like Animal Crossing: New Horizons or DOOM Eternal, I’ve been going back to last generation classics.

My friends Logan Moore and Michael Ruiz have been talking about replaying the Halo series probably since Halo Infinite was revealed. They’d been slowly chipping away over time. I wanted to join along, but the first three games don’t have 3-4 player co-op campaigns. They recently beat Halo 3 and my time to join arrived with Halo 3: ODST. We beat ODST through Halo 5: Guardians in just one week. Not that these games are particularly tough or long, but the current world environment gave us a little more flexibility in our schedules to finish the fight.

While waiting for either of them to log on when we planned to play, I’d boot up multiplayer for a few matches. My bread and butter was SWAT, a mode with headshot-only instant kills, one gun per match. Those guns happen to rotate between my favorites too; the DMR, the Pistol, and the all-mighty Battle Rifle.

SWAT is snappy, tactical, and a balance between team and self performance. It’s crucial to know the maps and how your character can move in that space. Reflexes must be sharp and precise. I love SWAT.

Another game I’ve been playing recently is The Last of Us. I actually replayed it last year, but ever since I started working on Chasing the Stick, I haven’t been able to kick the urge to ply again. I’m playing slower this time, with my wife watching along. She hasn’t watched the game since we started dating seven years ago.

I have been entertaining the idea of actually getting the platinum trophy. I’ll never be able to get it on PS3 due to the multiplayer servers being shut down. Those trophies are tough to get and have been my main deterrent in getting the platinum previously. To scratch my the itch I have to play when Abby isn’t in the mood to watch, I’ve decided to dive back into the Factions multiplayer mode in pursuit of the two crucial multiplayer trophies.

Factions is so flipping tense. It’s another spacial multiplayer game with a tactical core fused with speedy reaction time. It is methodical and reactive at the same time. The maps in Factions are so well designed. Every sightline is intentionally placed and there is no perfect camping spot I know of. The maps are wonderfully balanced, giving both teams fair terrain to engage on. They are designed to allow for truly memorable encounters.

I’ve been rather enjoying my time back in these multiplayer modes that I love so much. They are mechanically so different. SWAT is a first-person shooter with an insanely low time-to-kill. Factions is slow and riddled with preparation and limited lives. Yet, I enjoy them in the same way.

I believe it is the tactical nature of each game that marvelously balances effective teamwork with decisive lone-wolf actions. They are modes where you can shine as both a team player and as a solo player. The team can also suffer greatly if you do not understand what role to be in when it is necessary. You (should) be constantly learning in these games. If you are not, you are likely on the losing side.

You have to constantly think about what the other team’s players may be doing and properly adjust and plan. You also have to be prepared for the moments you did not correctly guess their plan. It’s equally important to plan ahead and think on your feet. I have a ton of fun doing that.

These modes excel at making me feel good and smart, whether I am or not, which is the whole point of a game. I have a blast ripping through Spartans and getting a Killtacular. There isn’t a rush quite like flanking an enemy in Factions for the win. They teach and reinforce the core mechanics of the game, while allowing me to see how far I’ve come. Other multiplayer modes like Spies vs Mercs in Splinter Cell or the original Trials of Osiris in Destiny do the same thing. I’m glad to have this time back in SWAT and Factions. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.