Ready or Not is a Co-Op First-Person Tactical Shooter being developed by Void Interactive from New Zealand. The game is currently in early access, but it already boasts very positive reviews on Steam. After their disaster Alpha PVP event back in 2020, Ready or Not Developers took the feedback seriously and managed to turn the game into something positive the fans are enjoying.
A lot of people claimed that this game is what Rainbow Six: Siege should have been and other say that this is a modern version of an old classic, SWAT 4. But is Ready or not a spiritual successor, a rip-off, or just another first-person shooter? We will dig deep into Ready or Not in this Early Access review.
What is the Premise of the Game, Ready or Not?
In Ready or Not, you play as an officer for the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) police division in a fictional city in the United States called Los Sueños. Your job is to successfully counter terrorist and hostage situations either with 4 more friends or friendly bots.
In this game, you will carry out operations in several locations in the city. These currently include locations like gas stations, hotels, houses, and more. This is a game where you are going to need good coordination and good teammates.
Let’s take a deep dive into what this game has to offer when it comes to content.
Reviewing the Playable Game Modes in Ready or Not
Ready or Not has five game modes. All of the current game modes have their own challenges depending on which one you pick. Keep in mind that all the game modes are limited to their respective maps as not all of them can be played on every map. This is at least true for the current state of the game and may change in the future.
Barricaded Suspects (Normal)
This is the default game mode that will give you the best SWAT tactical experience in Ready or Not. You need to enter a building, arrest or neutralize the suspects if they shoot first, secure the hostages, and find persons or illegal items of interest.
If you have a happy trigger finger, this game mode is not for you. This is because you will lose points for not applying rules of engagement and excessive use of force. Yet, if you enjoy a challenging and realistic SWAT experience, this game mode may be right up your alley.
Raid is similar to the Barricaded Suspects game mode. Yet, the rules of engagement do not apply here. Suspects will be more aggressive and won’t comply as easily to your commands. If you are trigger happy, this mode is definitely much more your style.
Bomb Threat (Very Hard)
This game mode works very similarly to Barricaded Suspect, but you have limited time to defuse a bomb. You will also need to rescue civilians and neutralize hostiles. The higher time component really increases the difficulty of this game mode in Ready or Not.
Active Shooter (Hard)
In this mode, there is only one hostile roaming around the level killing every civilian spotted. This requires a mix of speed and great coordination to neutralize the enemy as soon as possible.
Hostage Rescue (Insane)
Hostiles have gathered hostages, and they will shoot them as soon as you make a wrong move.
All these game modes can be played with bots, random teammates, or with a coordinated group of friends. What’s more, all of these different options provide completely different experiences.
Ready or Not Gameplay Review
At times, Ready or Not can be slow-paced and tense as you are moving slowly through hallways surrounded by fallen and injured civilians. The game definitely has an atmosphere as you clear bizarre rooms where you can tell something horrible happened as you see the walls splattered with blood.
In this game, you are not able to sprint as seen in the Alpha reveal, which adds to the tension. If you get shot in the leg your movement will be affected. If you take a bullet to the arm, your aiming will be worse, and if you take a non-fatal shot to the head or get flashed one or several times, everything will be fuzzy for a bit. This extra layer of realism and contextual wounding is something we wanted to highlight in this review of Ready or Not because it makes it stand above other more arcade-style SWAT games like Rainbow Six Siege.
Gunfights are quick and there are only a few of them in each mission. Yet when they happen, your adrenaline will rush in and the game’s tone and pace will kick into gear, highlighted by the game’s interesting choice of dubstep music playing in the background.
Movement Through Missions is Deliberate and Thoughtful, As It Should Be
This is a game that you can’t rush through as you need to report everything back to the HQ, such as dead bodies, injured hostiles or hostages, and deceased friendlies. You will also need to secure evidence found through the level and/or dropped by the enemies. Our review of Ready or Not found it to be much more of an intellectual and realistic SWAT game and a welcome change in a crowded space.
Another thing preventing you from playing Ready or Not as a Gun-N-Run are enemies setting up booby traps on doors or someone waiting for you with a shotgun on the other side. Thus, having your team check the other side with a mirror gun is a must before breaching a room.
The Lobby in Ready or Not Further Highlights the Game’s Commitment to Immersion
Another one of our favorite parts of the game is the Lobby, which we didn’t expect to enjoy at all when we started our review of Ready or Not. You are able to move through the lobby to the lockers to edit your loadout, to a mirror to change your appearance, and to a table to pick your attachments.
Once you are done you are able to walk by yourself to the shooting range and kill house, making you feel in a real police station instead of having a regular menu to do all of this. This all adds to the realism and immersion that the developers of Ready or Not are trying to maintain.
Single-Player in Ready or Not is Actually Very Enjoyable
Single-player is probably where I got the most enjoyment out of the game. In this game mode, you are deployed with 4 bots divided into a blue team and a red team. You can give orders to both or provide orders to a specific team. It is very intuitive, especially if you are familiar with SWAT 4.
The Friendly AI
The AI is not perfect, but it gets the job done. It is good enough to make you feel immersed. It can be clunky and glitchy sometimes. We ended up getting flashed several times due to a friendly flash being missed.
There’s room for improvement here, of course, yet we were presently surprised while completing our review of Ready or Not that the friendly AI doesn’t take away from the gaming experience and makes the game quite playable in single-player mode.
The Enemy AI
The enemy AI has a lot of areas of opportunity for improvement, as it can be unpredictable in an unrealistic way that sometimes seems glitchy and illogical. It definitely would be better to have AI that coordinates better and reacts depending on the situation, instead of just rushing with a knife when spotting you.
We feel that the enemy AI is about as smart as a pack of deranged lunatics, at best. This is currently disappointing, yet as the game is still just in early release, we won’t hold it against the developers. They have every right to have an unfinished product at the moment. We just hope it improves so that we can face even more interesting challenges.
These are basically mannequins that can either comply or not, to your orders. Sometimes they can be literally outside right next to a police car and still be completely scared. It would be a great improvement if you could give civilians orders based on the situation.
Like the enemy AI, during our review of Ready or Not, we found the civilian’s AI to make little sense. It, unfortunately, took us out of the game and make it quite clear that we were just in a sim. Again, because the game is Early Access, we have to expect some aspects of the game to be in an unpolished state, so we aren’t overly concerned, but it is something we plan to watch for as the development of Ready or Not progresses further.
Playing with Other Players in Ready or Not
With the right group of friends, this game can be extremely fun if you coordinate well and everyone knows what they are doing. Breaching from multiple points or coordinating a flanking maneuver are where this game shines.
Playing with Random Teammates
This is probably the worst way to play the game. When you matchmake for a match, there is a 50/50 chance that you will get good teammates or bad teammates. Out of all my matches playing with random players, the great majority I ended up dying to teammates, players without microphones, trolling, or just being lone wolfs and dying on the other side of the map.
Countless times, we had to restart a match due to a team player teamkilling very early in the mission. Only one time did we end up teaming up with a decent team during our many hours of reviewing Ready or Not. Even when looking for players on the Discord official server, it was the same result. If you are here because you enjoy tactical-slowed paced shooters, this is definitely not the way to play. If you have no other choices, try to make friends with those gems you find in the game who can team up with you later.
Our Review of the Armory in Ready or Not Shows It is Already Very Complete
Ready or Not provides the player with a very vast armory where you can equip a variety of lethal and non-lethal assault rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, and launchers. You can also select the gear you want to take with you on your mission. Equipment choices range from headgear to tactical equipment to throwables.
It’s hard to pick the single best gun in Ready or Not, especially as the game is under rapid development. We also think it’s the developers’ intention to balance and tweak the different weapons to fit different playstyles and situations, so there is not always a small set of top choices that may become stale. We’ve listed the current options by weapon type below.
- R7 Launcher (Non-Lethal)
- TAC700 (Non-Lethal)
- MK1 Carbine (To be released)
- Beanbag Shotgun (Non-Lethal)
- M4 Super 90
- 870 CQB
- M32A1 Flash
- .357 Magnum
- Taser (Non-Lethal)
- 57 USG
All of the Weapons in Ready or Not are Fully Customizable
All these weapons are fully customizable with different attachments for both your Primary Weapons and Secondary Weapons. Unfortunately, Ready or Not does not provide the player with statistics of what each attachment does. We’re not sure it’s that simple, and maybe it really is more physics-based than a single set of stats. Yet, as a new player coming in, you don’t get to know why this underbarrel is better than the other or why this gun is more reliable than another.
Showing the player statistics of the equipment would be a great addition to the game to help everyone playing understand the armory and make more informed decisions based on the scenario they will be going into.
Other Gear and Tactical Equipment
Ready or Not also provides the player tools based on their playstyle, such as a Riot Shield, Mirrorgun to peek under doors, breaching shotgun for locked doors, NVGs, and more that will be covered in an upcoming article. There is something for every type of player in this game.
Great Sound Design That is Not Always Reliable
When it comes to the sound design for the weaponry and equipment, Void Interactive did a great job! Guns are loud, suppressors do not make your gun completely silenced, and the explosions will make you throw your headphones.
Where Ready or Not developers have so far failed is on the sound design that player can trust to react to enemy movement. Footsteps are completely unreliable, as you can have enemies rushing to you with a knife and only notice them because they started screaming.
The music changes depending on what’s going on in the game. The music sounds like it’s from an early 2000’s action dubstep movie, which it’s not a bad thing. It completely matches the tone of the game and helps you feel the game’s change in pace.
Ready or Not Level Design Review
At the current state of the game, there are 11 maps that a player can enjoy. These include the following locations:
- 213 Park Homes
- 4U Gas Station
- Wenderly Hills Hotel
- Hotel Rooms
- Caesar’s Cars Dealership
- Port Hoken
- Cherryessa Farm
- Valley (Test Level)
- Fast Food (Test Level)
- Penthouse (Test Level)
Most of them have an overall good design and can be very unpredictable. Void Interactive has claimed to be working on new maps. For those interested in diving more into the current map offerings, you can check out the blueprints of many of the available Ready or Not maps, here.
Ready or Not Graphics Review
The graphics in Ready or Not are excellent. They are not the absolute top-tier, like you’d expect from a AAA title like Battlefield. However, they are stunning for a game from a small studio. We really like the night scenes in Ready or Not. The high contrast really helps to add to the game’s intensity. You are always waiting for an enemy to lunge out of the darkness or from around a door.
Performance Review of Ready or Not
The game was reviewed with the following specs:
- CPU: AMD GEN 5 3700x
- GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 Super
- RAM: 32GB
- 1440p Resolution
- 64 Bit processor
- DirectX 11
Overall, the game performed well on DirectX 11 with medium to high graphics hitting constantly between 70-85 FPS. Frame drops were noticeable when there was a lot of action happening on the screen. On DirectX 12 the frames were much lower with constant frame drops. We expect some improvements to occur in performance before full release.
Ready or Not Review – The Verdict
Ready or Not is not a game for everyone, as a lot of players will find it to be slow-paced at times. Yet, fans of the realistic tactical and military shooters, especially those that enjoyed the old SWAT games or who play games like ARMA, will feel at home.
Ready or Not borrows a lot from SWAT 4, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It even adds a lot to the greatness of SWAT 4 by adding attachments to guns, more gear, and more ways to play.
It would be also great if there was a tutorial for players not familiar with the genre. The game only provides players with a shooting range and a kill house, but it won’t tell you anything about the gadgets and how to use them.
You can currently pick up Ready or Not in Early Access on Steam or the developer’s website. When the game is fully released, we will perform an additional review to update you on the game’s improvements and changes.
Ready or Not is a game with a bright future if they continue down the right path by improving the game and A and by adding new content as time passes. The game is already very playable in Early Access, albeit with some poor AI that takes away from the realism.
For fans of realistic, tactical shooters, we wholeheartedly recommend Ready or Not, even as an Early Access game.
Fun and Engaging9