SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Review
- Posted April 12th, 2011 at 17:04 EDT by Adam Dolge
- 32 Comments
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SOCOM 4 adds another heavy hitter to the PlayStation 3's illustrious software line-up with its addictive missions and killer co-op gameplay. If Zipper Interactive can iron out the various competitive multiplayer bugs, SOCOM 4 could rank among the best 2011 has to offer.
- Online co-op is a blast
- Open design to fit multiple play styles
- Terrific graphics and soundtrack
- Competitive multiplayer bugs and lag
- Balancing issues in multiplayer
- Lackluster narrative
Zipper Interactive spent a lot of time working on SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs, and it’s clear some of the devoted fans of the series will feel disenfranchised, as if the third-person shooter has evolved beyond recognition. SOCOM is one of the many flagship franchises for Sony’s home consoles, and is noted for introducing some of the best online functionality available on PlayStation 2 with the 2002 inaugural entry in the series. With so much time put into SOCOM 4, it’s inevitable the game would make some significant changes to the strategic shooter formula. If you are one of those long-time fans, you may very well feel insulted by things like health regeneration and slower character movement, but many of these new changes can be turned off in classic multiplayer. The good news about SOCOM 4 — that is, depending on who you ask — is that the game will likely attract an even larger audience thanks to its accessible gameplay, expansive multiplayer, and terrific graphics and audio.
Before we delve into the single player campaign and story, I think it’s best to start with SOCOM 4’s greatest strength, at least in my experience. The series is known for strategic gameplay, of course, but it really made a name for itself with its extensive online functions. Some of the best gaming I’ve had in the past year was playing through missions cooperatively online with four other people (hypothetically fellow reviewers).
Strong leadership and communication are crucial to survive as you fight through the six different missions. Game modes include Takedown, which tasks your team with locating and eliminating an enemy officer, while Espionage focuses on counter-intelligence with players locating enemy Intel and sabotaging communications. Co-op is completely lag-free (which is way more than can be said about competitive multiplayer), enemies and objectives are random, and missions are customizable — from the volume and difficulty of your opponents. You can string a series of missions together to create mini-campaigns and as you progress in personal abilities, you can easily take on more responsibilities like flagging enemy snipers or barking orders to flank or fall back. No matter the skill level of your team, you must work together on harder difficulties.
I mentioned earlier in this review that some devote fans may feel left out. Some may go as far as saying the SOCOM franchise has sold out to appeal to the Call of Duty-infused generation. That’s an argument I’m not interested in, but I strongly believe you can’t make everyone happy. This level of difficulty that requires teamwork is something you won’t find in any COD game; period. The competitive multiplayer side of SOCOM requires some teamwork, but nowhere near the amount needed in co-op. To put it simply: If you are not willing to take orders or give orders, you are going to suffer.
The same principle is not entirely accurate for the single-player campaign. At harder difficulties, and in the later levels, you will need to take charge, but you can go through most of the game using your team as just extra guns. In many ways, the game is quite accessible and easy to learn. If you are new to strategy shooters, you may feel overwhelmed by giving orders to your gold and blue teams, both comprised of two soldiers. Your blue team focuses on heavy weapons, while your gold team is more distance and assassin-based. Again, you can choose to bypass the strategy portion of the game and opt for a run, cover, and shoot approach, but the harder the levels become the more time you will have to take planning your next moves.
The development team said it worked hard to create a compelling and interesting narrative, something Zipper felt was lacking in some previous entries. The story is pretty good, but not as competent as some other recent shooters. There is one noticeable difference with just about every SOCOM game — the story follows a more traditional military tale without any zombies, aliens, or mutant cowboys. And that’s a good thing.
You play most of the game in the boots of Cullen Gray, a NATO operations commander caught in a rebel uprising in Southeast Asia. As the country’s government ... (continued on next page)
- 12:41pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
8.5 I agree. I'm still upset that Zipper took such a "copy cat" approach. COD+ MGS+GRAW+R6V+UC+BFBC = SOCOM 4.
- 12:45pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
Yeah, I know real diehard fans will be upset, but it's still a really solid game and I literally had some of the best gaming experience playing Co-op. Without that experience it might be overly generic.
- 1:23pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
This game is absolutley terrible, no lobby system, no pistols, no demoloition mode, no classic cam. This review is obviously biased as other reviewers are more accurately posting 3/10 for Socom 4. Don\'t get me wrong I\'m a huge Socom fan, but this new version is a smack in the face to any Socom vets. Zipper Interactive has sold out and is trying to copy COD, and it\'s a good reviewers job to see that. This site will never be visited by the likes of me again!
- 1:24pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
- 2:03pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
Did you play the beta Adam? There have been a lot of issues getting into games but once you do get in, it's a seamless experience; there hasn't been any lag or glitching. I'm really enjoying it.
- 2:06pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
@5 yeah, but only a bit because of when I got the final build. It was so hit or miss. One game was flawless, another was unplayable. There is a gameday launch to address some issues (which is why I didn't really take too many points off for these issues). @3, I understand the hardcore fans' disappointment, so fairly stated points.
- 2:31pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
It's on my rent list. Played the BETA but didn't leave a good impression(Mostly because I was shot and had to sit through the entire match..).
- 2:57pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
buy it, plainum it, trade it
- 4:08pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
^I tried telling you that about the move, and you didn't want to believe me awhile back^...You even went on to say how you were thankful to get a PS Move/SOCOM review from a "trusty" source as in PSU when they did their review on SOCOM with the PS Move.
The game doesn't come out until April 19th in NA, not today.
- 4:36pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
I didn't like the beta, but the co-op mode and campaign could make up for that.
@fonfahbre - I agree, one of the reasons why the beta sucked was because of that.
I am the type to buy games for the campaign, and i will multiplayer provided it isn't buggy or broken. if the campaign is good and longer than 6 hours (kz3), i may need to look this one up. i need another game to play with the sharpshooter anyway.
- 4:46pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
It sounds to me like many of you base your opinion of a game on how good you are at it. I'm good at it ooooh great game....I'm not good it, what a crappy game. Weak sauce! W-E-A-K
- 4:50pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
yes and no, the beta felt boring and uneventful. add that to the fact that i died alot and had to wait forever for a new game to start was a fail for me. I died alot in kz3, but i enjoyed the game until i my stats wouldn't save, then i lost interest.
- 5:20pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
For you they have what's called STANDARD MODE, which is a ranked respawn and basically the minor leagues of SOCOM. CLASSIC MODE is for the expert SOCOM players and we show no mercy on noobs because we know we have the power to make you watch. LOL. If you play STANDARD you can die all you want and just respawn back into the action. I suggest you start there instead of CLASSIC.
- 6:26pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
@15 you sound like you have no SOCOM saavy whatsoever...just trying to chime in with your pretend knowledge again.
"Being able to play in Classic is a good thing."
Considering classic is available in every single SOCOM game dating back to 2002 how is that something even worth mentioning? Nub.
- 6:44pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
I noob, and don't care to be hardcore, thanks for letting me know the difference between standard and classic, as i didn't know. I noob.
- 7:04pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
I don't remember basing any opinions with my comment. I just said that the BETA didn't leave a good impression. I mean seriously not all of us will enjoy a mode like that, I play games to have fun not watch other people play if I get shot.
Secondly it's on my rent list so I know that I will be playing it after release, I will give my opinion afterwards. Calling people out like that, judging their skills and putting words in their mouths is immature. Read the content more carefully next time.
- 7:14pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
Has anyone checked out the other reviews on this game yet. psu is the highest with 1 site giving it a 3. definately a mixed bag.
- 8:31pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
Thanks for your input bro, but I was never talking to you at any point in this thread. I have no idea who you are.
- 10:26pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
funny kid, theres nothing competitive about socom4! its been dumbed down for ppl like you. definitely the easiest socom ever made! even easier than the psp version with lock on aim lol. whether i choose to play it for trophies or not shouldnt matter, the game is plain easy! ill wait for something more competitive, in the mean time ill be playing confrontation. if i wanted to play cod in 3rd person view ill pick up mw2 again. gimme my platinum lol
socom4: jack of all trades, master of none!
- 10:55pm EDT - April 12th, 2011
Socom r is without a doubt, an abomination in the gaming community.It has the worst gameplay , with the many,many,many,many problems that they are attempting to fix except the graphics engine they are currently using has certain limitations and they wont be able to be fixed. There is so much of Socom left out of this new version that it is nothing more than anothe COD/MAG shooter. The Zipper deveopement group should all be absolutely ashamed of themselve. 2 1/2 years on this title and this is all they could come up with. Good thing i dont run Sony because they would all be looking for employment.
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