SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals
SOCOM has always been one of the better games on the PS2 and I think it will remain so for some time. Maybe the trend will be continued on the PS3, who knows. But anyway, let’s not get caught daydreaming. SOCOM 3 is the latest in the series on PS2 and brings a lot of new features to both single- and multiplayer like huge maps, vehicles, modes, etc.
First let’s talk a bit about the single player options: there’s only a Campaign mode which doesn’t differ from other socom games qua goals. You need to fullfil some missions in different locations going from desert to jungle. The idea is to accomplish certain tasks like blowing up bridges, stopping a convoy, etc. Nothing really special. To give you an idea on the size of the maps: a city from SOCOM 2 can serve as a small part of a map from SOCOM 3 and next to that you’ve got about 10 of those other cities that are all connected by roads of wild pieces of desert and jungle. A huge change compared to previous releases and this also explains the adding of vehicles.
Then there’s the most important aspect of the whole SOCOM series, the multiplayer. You can show off your skills online or in a lan game, and that in different modes. First up are all the usual possibilities we know from previous episodes but there are 2 new types added.
The first one is “convoy” where you have to stop or ambush a convoy. This mode is certainly worth checking out since you really need teamplay and tactics if you want to win. In other words: the concept of the entire SOCOM series in all its glory! The second new mode, “control”, needs you to take control over the entire map. Every team has flags that they need to place in certain areas and those that manage to place their flags first, win the round. However, you can only place one flag per team in one area so you need to mark multiple areas with yours if you want to win! You also don’t have the ability to remove your opponent’s flags and the only thing you can do is add yours next to it.
This has as interesting result that defense is an absolute must! If you forget about that, the other team will have covered all areas in no time.
The new modes are a positive pro and add decent value to the whole online scene. Especially the convoy mode is something I can assure you, you’ve never seen in any other multiplayer game ever.
Next to these 2 new gameplay types there are also some other new things. You can play together with 32 players which heightens the intensity of battle greatly. As previously mentioned, there are a lot larger maps present which may lead you to wonder what will happen if you’re only with 12 players on a server. This has also been taken care of as maps adjust themselves to the maximum allowed players. A server that only lets 12 players play will turn smaller maps than bigger servers.
To quickly go back to the vehicles, they’re an absolute necessity due to the large maps. You would already need about 30 minutes to cross one on foot. Unfortunately, the driving feeling isn’t completely realistic. You can make a 180° turn at maximum speed without any problem and they also tend to move like concrete on wheels.
Also these large maps bring along some problems on the graphical side. Everything goes smoothly just as long as you stay inside the cities. Once outside city walls, plants and rocks will show incredibly low graphical quality and also the ground-textures are all but what you would like them to be. Often you can count the pixels of a desert without even having to stare.
For the rest I really have nothing bad to say about this game. Really good and simple controls and gameplay and added with multiplayer that kicks ass. What does a gamer want more?
Before I forget it, with your PSP and a copy of “SOCOM US Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo” you can free up some bonusses and use them in SOCOM 3 (and vice versa) through a crosstalk-function. A nice initiative from Zipper Interactive to have both games work together as this adds new gameplay elements for both titles and longer gaming fun!
All in all, SOCOM 3 is certainly a suggestion for any PS2 owner, and a must for fans of first person shooters. Currently, there’s no better online FPS available for the PS2!