SOCOM II: US Navy SEALs
16th Jun 2003 | 14:47
Lesson One in online SOCOM combat: join a game where your team-mates speak a language that you can understand. Chances are if you're reading this, English is probably a safe bet.
Lesson Two: keep a low profile if you do join a game where everyone is speaking in foreign tongues. Don't go all Rambo, or you'll screw up your squad's attack strategy and probably get booted out of the game. But not before your former gibberish-speaking team-mates insult you with a tirade of words that you don't understand. (By the way, if anyone knows what 'abe endetarmsåbning' means in Danish, please write in.)
Every Shot You Take, I'll Be Watching You
The online multiplayer game is all about communication (via the headset) and working closely with your squad members as a well-oiled tactical killer team. It isn't a Quake-style frag fest and you're not a one-man army. So if you're hoping to get instant thrills from racking up hundreds of mindless solo kills, you're better off dodging Sony's first online shooter for PS2. However, if you're the kind of soldier who likes to use his noggin as well as his brawn, enrol here now.
This is strategic warfare. Having someone watch your back armed only with an elastic band is far more valuable than being alone and equipped with the most powerful weapon on the battlefield.
Teamwork is what keeps you alive. Die and you're out of that game until either team completes its objective, much like Counter-Strike or some of the multiplayer missions in Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault.
When you croak, you really feel like you've let your squad down. And the only way to make sure that you stay alive for as long as possible is by thinking tactically, exercising patience and not acting recklessly.
NO SMOKE WITHOUT GUNFIRE
You need to get to a building where terrorists are guarding hostages. It's in the open and not surrounded by any small objects that you can sprint between and take cover from en route.
There are no shadows to hide in, nothing. If you leg it over there, you'll get gunned down for sure, damaging the strength of your team. Instead, you communicate with your mates: "Pete! Alex! Throw smoke grenades into the open and cover me and Paul as we leg it over there and secure the ground floor that end!" Once there, you perform the same tactical operation to get the rest of your team over to where you are. Not one man dies.
That's what's so rewarding about SOCOM. There are tons of simple solutions to potentially life-threatening scenarios. Plus you get a real kick from pulling off this sort of strategic manoeuvre as a team.
All OUT OF OPTIONS, SIR!
This is SOCOM at its satisfying best. However, a word of warning: Sony's shooter has a few dents in its armour plating that make it vulnerable to attack.
First off, it's a real slow burner of a game. To get enjoyment out of it you really have to spend many hours learning all the maps and getting used to the slightly clumsy control system. And as you can probably tell from the screenshots, it isn't the prettiest pistol-packer on the block.
Most of you will be able to put
up with these minor flaws because they don't adversely affect SOCOM's solid gameplay. But what really gets CVG's goat is the fact there are only three very basic multiplayer mission modes to play - Extraction, Demolition, and Suppression.
These are just fancy names the developer's dreamt up for hostage rescue, plant the bomb, and team deathmatch. Don't get use wrong, you can suck a lot of fun out of these modes but you can't help feeling a bit short-changed.
There's a 12-mission single-player campaign, which adds more meat to the package. Unfortunately, though, this extra chunk of game is more like a newspaper-full of greasy doner kebab than a sliver of prime fillet steak. It's nowhere near as exciting or interactive as the online experience, mostly as a result of your AI team-mates being about as intelligent as a sack of potatoes.
All the more reason for getting your ass online and enjoying SOCOM as it's meant to be played.