I’m confused why we’ve never written about video games before. We totally should. And games like READY OR NOT, which just released in Early Access on Steam, reminds me why. Here at GovX, we’re just as interested in games, movies, shows, and books as we are in gear for your on- and off-duty lives.
I started playing READY OR NOT over the weekend with my buddy. We’d been looking for a replacement to our go-to co-operative games, and this one had been on our radar since VOID Interactive announced it waaaaaay back in 2017. It just launched in Early Access on Steam this past Friday, for $39.99. And for that price, you’re getting a hell of a game that shows serious promise as this gen’s definitive tactical shooter.
READY OR NOT is an intense first-person shooter in a modern world where you play as a SWAT police officer called to defuse hostile scenarios. VOID interactive consulted with police teams globally to create rules of engagement and a scoring system that are both challenging and realistic. So, if you’re expecting a run-and-gun shooter where you kill everything in sight, you’re not going to find it here. READY OR NOT emphasizes defusing high-threat scenarios in realistic ways.
Say you use a camera gadget under a door crack to see what awaits you in the next room. You spot a suspect armed with a TEC-9 semi-automatic, so you instruct your teammate to blow the door’s lock with a breaching shotgun, toss in a flashbang, and enter the room.
Sounds like a standard tactical situation, right? But where READY OR NOT differs from a game like Call of Duty is how you react to what happens next. If the suspect, disoriented from the flashbang, drops his gun and surrenders, you’re penalized if you kill him, and rewarded if you take him into custody. This game places an emphasis on following the rules of engagement, so if the suspect decides to point his gun at you, you’re fully authorized to put him down.
I have never played a game like this before. It forces you to think like a real tactical professional—consider situational awareness, evaluate threats, utilize non-lethal tactics, and respond with force only if absolutely necessary. It feels immensely satisfying to clear a room with perfection precision.
One time my friend and I breached a room and saw an armed suspect with his back to us. We yelled at him to drop the weapon and get on his knees. He dropped the shotgun he was carrying and put his hands up. I kept my M4A1 trained on him as my friend moved toward him to take him into custody … then he drew a handgun. Before he could raise it, my friend and I each put three in his chest. Suspect down. Clean kill. It was awesome.
I’d never seen that kind of realistic moment in a game before, and that’s just in Early Access. I don’t know what’s in store for READY OR NOT as it continues development on its way to a full release, but considering what’s here already, I’m excited to follow this game’s evolution.
Oh, and it’s also simply gorgeous. Equip a PEQ-15 laser unit on your rifle, put on a pair of NVGs, and see the most accurately rendered laser you’ve ever seen in a game world. The world is beautifully textured, with insanely realistic weapon models, tactical gadgets and gear. I love how doors splinter when struck by a battering ram or blown apart by a breaching charge. Most missions take place at night, or in dimly lit indoor spaces, and VOID Interactive makes the world feel visually hostile and tense with their expert lighting. I look forward to seeing if VOID takes advantage of ray tracing effects to bring the world even more to life with real-time reflections and shadows.
If you’re looking for an alternative to shoot-everything-that-moves shooters, check out READY OR NOT. You can play with up to four friends, or you can command a squad of AI teammates by yourself. It’s a great deal of fun, and if you’re looking to squad up, find me on Discord.