SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs (www.socom.com) Rated M for Mature by ESRB. Fans had long waited for SOCOM series’ original developer, Zipper Interactive, to deliver a SOCOM title on the current generation console. Now that it’s here, many fans have rather mixed feelings about it and it’s rather apparent why.

SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs(www.socom.com) Rated M for Mature by ESRB. Fans had long waited for SOCOM series’ original developer, Zipper Interactive, to deliver a SOCOM title on the current generation console. Now that it’s here, many fans have rather mixed feelings about it and it’s rather apparent why.





Presentation:

SOCOM 4 takes us to tropical Asia, as NATO operations commander (nicknamed OpsCom) whose name is never mentioned in the game. The single player campaign follows OpsCom and his fireteam for six days as they unravel a planned crisis. The short-sounding journey is actually quite intense, perhaps too intense to feel realistic for a military operation. Realism aside, the intensity provides a strong drive to move the story forward. In fact, the odds OpsCom’s fireteam faces in the story pumps adrenaline much like Uncharted 2 did.

SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs

Graphics:
SOCOM features some top notch graphics for the PS3, though there’s no obvious improvement over Zipper’s last title, MAG from early 2010. Notable graphical feats include easily distinguishable facial features and expressions, functional smoke effects, and overall detailed environments.

Sounds:
The music of SOCOM is surprisingly memorable, as most shooters’ soundtracks don’t have much merit on their own. Assumed to have been played by a symphonic orchestra, the main theme blends an Asian-flavored melody featuring violins and woodwinds with military style marching percussion. It is quite something to have a piece of music truly heard amidst all the gunshots and explosions in a shooter game. Voice work is also highly appreciated where applicable. OpsCom’s voice is provided by Matthew Del Negro, whose appearances include The Sopranos and Law & Order. Nolan North’s voice is also found here, and it is very nice to “hear” him in a different personality and role.

SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs

Gameplay:
On top of a typical third-person shooter with cover system, the player is given control of 2 teams in the single player campaign. The game encourages the player to make tactical use of them to get through its levels. But, the stage designs don’t allow very much creativity or adaptation as far as tactical placements go, and there is a best way to place the troops for each encounter.

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Longevity:
As with any modern shooters, the meat of the game lies with online competitive multiplayer. But it’s also the source of the fans’ frustration even if the classic modes are still present. SOCOM 4 takes a big leap toward mainstream shooters, which makes it looks like… well, most other top-selling shooters out in the market. Playing it is also quite a similar experience. But its clan community and matchup features are thorough, something that group players will enjoy very much.

Another fun online mode is its cooperative matches, which puts 5 players together on one of six maps of the host’s choosing, to either take out a specified enemy or to collect intelligence through a stage. Cooperative against the AI is not a common experience anymore and is refreshing when they do appear in a well-designed game like SOCOM 4. But unfortunately that is that, there is no medal or any system that builds or accumulates over time for more longevity.

Conclusion:
With its release following Killzone 3 so shortly, many players may opt to choose one over the other. SOCOM 4 is more for a tactical mind, where the player needs to constantly pay attention to his/her surroundings and is overall a more immersive and realistic experience.

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