I’ve never really been a fan of the SOCOM games – I didn’t play the PS2 games and PS3 title ‘Confrontation’ was a bit of a mess by the time I got around to playing it. In fact my best experience with SOCOM has been on the PSP.
Unlike ‘Confrontation’ this title has a full single player campaign as well as a sizeable online offering.
Having had a hands on session at Eurogamer back in October I had high hopes for the game.
With the PSN down I fired SOCOM up to get stuck into the campaign mode, which I was looking forward to.
You take on the role of Cullen Gray, a Spec Ops Commander and leader of a 5-man NATO special forces squad. Your team is dropped into Malaysia to help deal with the rising threat of both local rebels, the Naga, and a mercenary group called Clawhammer.
For the majority of missions you’ll have the entire team with you, split into two squads of two people. You control the movements of these with left and right on the dpad. So you can order your squads into position to flank enemies or even just approach them head on in a firefight.
This lends the game a tactical edge that is sadly lacking in a lot of games these days. It’s not as sophisticated as Rainbow Six but it’s simplicity means it can be used effectively and feels like you have some control over proceedings.
Thrown in for good measure are a few sneaking missions, which I know have been the bane of some reviewers lives. I can see both sides here because they are frustrating in places but for me the change of pace was welcome. I would’ve liked to have maybe seen you have a chance to fight your way through but there is no chance for that here.
While the story is standard Spec Ops fare I found most of the characters likable and it was one of the more enjoyable stories I’ve played through this year.
Once the PSN was back up and running I got involved on the multiplayer front and have to say I was most impressed. Large, well designed levels are the standard here and once you get used to the fact that health is limited compared to a lot of games, you’ll find yourself tearing it up across the maps.
The game has all the usual multiplayer modes and you should have no trouble finding a full lobby. I was a bit concerned SOCOM may struggle to capture players online after the PSN outage but that doesn’t seem to have been a problem.
Overall SOCOM has proved to be better than I thought, both online and offline. It might not be up for many ‘Game Of The Year’ awards but this is a great online shooter with a decent campaign to boot.