Ready or Not PC Review

Ready or Not, here I come... very, very slowly.

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Ready or Not is a tactical first person shooter that sees players take control of a SWAT team, who are deployed to deal with multiple dangerous situations. From breaching dilapidated meth dens, to pursuing active shooters through hospitals and college buildings, the game presents some tense scenarios and tasks players with saving the day, whilst sticking to the strict Rules of Engagement outlined before each mission.

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The game has been in early access for a number of years leading up to this long-awaited release. In that time, it has built up a dedicated fan base, who have eagerly awaited each update that brings the game closer to a real-world scenario. The developers seem to have actively listened to community feedback and have respectably made multiple changes to the Ready or Not experience based on that.

Whilst all of this is really commendable and encouraging, there is one aspect that Ready or Not unfortunately can’t quite bypass; tactical shooters are boring.

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Ready or Not releases on December 13th and is available on PC via Steam.

Games like this are the hardest to review, as they always leave me feeling extremely conflicted. A well-made game doesn’t deserve to be punished just because I didn’t appreciate what it was going for. With that being said, I can only ever write about my own personal experience with a game, and my experience with Ready or Not was a snooze-fest.

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For the few, not the many

It is a shame, because there is something here that I’m sure many will enjoy. The developers seem as though they are genuinely trying to deliver what fans of the genre are looking for, and I appreciate that. After reading up about this title on forums in preparation for my review, it seems that VOID Interactive has delivered something that is apparently true to life, with several real-life service men and women saying that they struggled to enjoy their time with this game, as it is so true to their day-to-day experiences.

If you are looking to slowly take lives in a realistic environment, while your team mates suffer from psychological issues like PTSD after witnessing a school shooting, then I guess that could be looked at as a ringing endorsement. However, forgive me for thinking that it doesn’t exactly feel like the most fun thing to experience.

If games like Call of Duty and Doom glorify firearms, making them feel fun and cool to use, Ready or Not does the opposite. If shooting an armed assailant in the neck and then listening to his death rattle as he gargles and chokes on his own blood is your idea of fun, then I suggest that you seek professional help.

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Less 'busting makes me feel good,' and more 'killing makes me feel sad...'
Less ‘busting makes me feel good,’ and more ‘killing makes me feel sad…’

Although, it isn’t even the disturbingly realistic violence that makes the game feel not fun to play, it is the gameplay itself. There is no dual wielding, or slide-cancelling here, instead everything plods along at a snail’s pace. Even breaching a door leading to a room full of armed enemies feels akin to a monotonous chore.

Desperately searching for fun

The longer that I spent with Ready or Not, the more I learned to accept that this was not going to be a fun time, so rather than slate the game for what it is not, I instead tried my best to derive enjoyment from what it was. Try as I might though, there just unfortunately isn’t much to go around here.

I respect the commitment to realism here, the atmosphere is undoubtedly the game’s greatest strength. The lack of an audible score makes the sound design feel more effective, with only the sounds of bullet casings clinking to the floor and your team’s footsteps littering the player’s headset.

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The modding aspect of the game has also been encouraged and that is cool, allowing the community to create their own custom scenarios using the game’s premade assets. This is another aspect that is likely to only expand following the full release of the game. Again, it speaks to the dedicated community of fans that this title has accrued in the lead up to its release.

Never have I yawned this much when taking part in an FPS door breach procedure.
Never have I yawned this much when taking part in an FPS door breach procedure.

The aspect of this game that I was most disappointed in when testing, was bot AI. This isn’t normally a major sticking point for me, but a lot has been made by both the developers and the fan community about the ‘groundbreaking’ AI in Ready or Not. During my time with it though, I was not overly impressed. Whether it was enemies or teammates, I witnessed the AI do questionable things on multiple occasions.

More than once, a teammate would block me in a narrow corridor or doorway, leaving me unable to get past. A good few times, I’d walk into a room to see an enemy, blankly staring into the corner of a room with his weapon drawn, even though he is supposed to be on alert. None of it felt like the revolutionary AI advancement that was promised to me by the game’s marketing in any way whatsoever.

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I decided to take things a step further when testing the AI in the hospital mission, going from room to room killing unarmed nurses and doctors in plain view of my squad. Despite the fact that I was taking more innocent lives than the active shooter that we’d been sent in to hunt down, the rest of my squad did nothing to stop me, just looking on blankly. Other than my radio man freaking out, there was no real consequence to my abhorrent actions, which was a shame. This would have been a great opportunity for the AI to step in and stop me.

Not too pleasing on the eyes

Ready or Not also isn’t much to look at. The ‘true-to-life’ art direction means that environmental design feels sterile, with the color palette being made of browns, greys and black. Many of the game’s textures are also fairly low resolution, and bumping up the graphical settings only made this more noticeable.

This is about as varied as the color palette gets in Ready or Not.
This is about as varied as the color palette gets in Ready or Not.

My next bugbear is something that might not apply to everyone. If you plan on using a controller to play, you are going to have a difficult time. I play all PC games with an Xbox controller and when a game doesn’t support controller functionality at launch, it is an annoyance. Thankfully, Ready or Not does include an option to map in-game commands to controller inputs manually. Still though, it doesn’t feel great to spend your first 30 minutes with a game mapping controller inputs just so that you can play it.

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Even after the pace was halted after I’d spent a good chunk of time manually sorting out the controller inputs, not all of them worked as I’d hoped. Certain functions were mapped to different inputs to the ones I assigned and some inputs didn’t work at all; to the point that I ended up playing with one hand on the controller and one hand on the keyboard.

What didn’t help matters is the fact that the game’s HUD fails to make obvious the equipment that is currently being carried. I spent at least two missions thinking that the input I had set for equipping my night vision goggles wasn’t working, before I realized that I hadn’t chose them in the pre-mission loadout menu. In this sense, the presentation is sorely lacking, with everything from mission selection to choosing weapons feeling lackluster and sparse.

Ultimately, I get what VOID Interactive was going for with Ready or Not, it just isn’t the game for me. I’m sure that this title will have its fans, and I genuinely hope that they get what they want from it. Lord knows that they have been waiting long enough for the game’s full release. For me though, I lost interest in proceedings very quickly due to a barebones single player story, disappointing visuals, and painfully slow gameplay.

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Ready or Not – 6/10

6 out of 10

Ready or Not was reviewed on PC with a code supplied to FandomWire by Honest PR.

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Written by Daniel Boyd

Articles Published: 154

Dan is one of FandomWire's Gaming Content Leads and Editors. Along with Luke Addison, he is one of the site's two Lead Video Game Critics and Content Co-ordinators. He is a 28-year-old writer from Glasgow. He graduated from university with an honours degree in 3D Animation, before pivoting to pursue his love for critical writing. He has also written freelance pieces for other sites such as Game Rant, WhatCulture Gaming, KeenGamer.com and The Big Glasgow Comic Page. He loves movies, video games and comic books.