SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3
SOCOM is a name that guarantees beautiful multiplayer violence on the Playstation. Still it’s managed to get quite a following on the console’s little brother, the PSP. SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3 is the latest part in the handheld series and will have to do its utmost best to keep up the reputation of its predecessors.
The story? Quite the usual actually. Some Russian madman would love to restore the glory of the Soviet Union and what better way than to use some weapons of mass destruction for that goal? Of course that’s without counting on the US of A and before you know it, an elite squad is sent behind enemy lines to solve the problems before they get too big.
This elite team exists of Wraith, the main character and three tough Seals who are all prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater goal. A difference with the previous games is that you can no longer control multiple members but only the main character. The others can be left alone, doing their own thing, or be given commands through a simple interface. Those commands go from breaking a door to securing an entire area.
The controls of the game are logical and efficient. With the circle button you give commands and with R and L you can swiftly aim or switch between hostiles. Next to the auto-aim there’s the possibility to do the targeting yourself but this is quite unnecessary as it’s way simpler to use the automatic way. All buttons are set up logically and it’s no problem to take on any situation.
What the developers focused on especially is making the franchise more accessible on the PSP. Next to the simpler way of giving commands there’s now also some magical healing. Gone are the days where you would curse yourself when getting hit at the start of a game. Just hide behind a wall and in no time you’ll be fit enough again to kick some major hostile butt.
The singleplayer has eight missions and ranges from disarming explosives over taking out a target to liberating hostages. The standard missions we’re used to from previous SOCOM games. Things are built up quite linear, except for some locations, but give you enough freedom to make the necessary tactical decisions. Still it’s a bit disappointing that the singleplayer isn’t longer as you’ll have finished it in about five hours.
Even on highest difficulty the game feels pretty easy. It’s like your teammates are a lot smarter than the enemies as they have no problem mowing the opposition down. Of course we can’t complain that they’re not dumb enough as there’s nothing more frustrating than to constantly having to come to their aid. Still it would have been better to have enemies of equal intelligence as that of your squad.
There’s also a multiplayer present and this is where SOCOM really has to hold up the honor. The missions can be replayed n co-op which supports up to 4 players and if that isn’t enough for you, you can go online and fight up to 15 other players. For this combat you can choose from five different modes going from exterminating all others to defending an object.
A nice addition is that both in single and multiplay over 30 different weapons are available. These can also be adjusted with extra visor, silencer, more room for bullets and countless other things and you can unlock them by getting points.
Graphically the game looks prtty good, especially when taking into account that the PSP is quite an aging handheld. The characters look pretty sharp and if you change their appearance in single or multiplayer you’ll get to see this in-game. The same can be said about the environment, both indoors and outside. If you’re fighting in the snow, you’ll really feel like being in snow and not walking on some kind of white underground.
In games like these the sound is equally important to the graphics as you need to get drawn into the combat and again SOCOM succeeds perfectly, up to the level of what the PSP is capable of. The voice-overs suit the countless characters and range from the tough Americans to the treaturous Russian. The weapons sound really nice and you’ll easily get immersed in the large scale combat.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3 is certainly no revolution in handheld gaming but it does make the SOCOM franchise more accessible on PSP. With the updated multiplay this is the best SOCOM experience you’ll find on a handheld!