Zipper Interactive is back with their latest iteration of the Socom franchise, Socom 4: U.S. Navy Seals. Socom 4 is a bit of a mixed bag for me. In terms of graphics the game is absolutely beautiful. There were a couple of instances where I would take a moment to simply rotate the camera and look at the environment around me. Unfortunately the rest of the game didn’t create the same sense of “wow” in me. The game play felt a bit off and there were some instances where there was some really bad hit detection. You can take cover in this game, however, I wasn’t always able to fire out of cover. I could be leaning over and have a clear shot at my enemy, and yet, there were times where it wouldn’t let me fire my weapon. I would just sit there, push the button to shoot and nothing would happen. This resulted in my character getting killed on more than one occasion and became a source of irritation as I progressed through the campaign.
The story for Socom 4 is standard shooter fare with the bad guy trying to blow up a key area that would have a devastating effect on the world economy. As you progress through the campaign you will come across a couple different types of missions. You have a standard mission where you go in and clear out the enemy, however, I really enjoyed the stealth missions. These were the missions where I had to infiltrate an enemy base without being seen to blow something up, put a tracker on a vehicle or whatever else that I needed to do. Your weapons are silenced in these missions so I could quietly snipe enemy combatants and stealth kill guys that got too close to my position. You can’t go on a killing spree though because your enemy will notice, so you have to be careful about when and how you act. I would melee kill an unsuspecting enemy, however, I would then have to pick up his body and stash it someplace dark where no one would notice. If I simply left his body there then there is a good chance the patrols will find it and I will be discovered, which makes it much harder to complete the objective. Additionally, you have waypoints that you can set for your squad and also orders that you can give. There were a few different occasions where I highlighted an enemy and then had one of my squadmates take them out with their silenced sniper rifle. The enemy A.I. seemed to be pretty intelligent as there was more than one occasion when they tried to flank me during firefights, try to get me out of my cover by throwing grenades in my direction and more. My ally A.I. also seemed to be pretty intelligent as there was more than one occasion where they saved me by taking out an enemy before I could do it or shooting an enemy I didn’t even see. It wasn’t perfect as there were times that the A.I. walked right in my path when I was trying to shoot but overall it worked pretty well.
Before each mission you get a chance to decide what loadout you are going to use. You can unlock a variety of different options by playing through the campaign and becoming a “master” at certain weapons. As I neared the end of the story I put silencers on all of my weapons so my enemy didn’t know I was coming until it was too late for them to do anything. You can carry two weapons at a time and two types of explosives. For my explosives I liked to use the standard frag grenades along with the concussion grenades. You can also create your own custom campaign by choosing the map, objective, difficulty and enemy count. If you don’t like any of those options then you can create a mission with custom map, objective, difficulty and enemy count options.
Online play is another important facet of Socom and this iteration you can play either competitively or cooperatively. If you select competitive you’ll have a variety of game types to choose from such as suppression, last defense, bomb squad and more. Within these two types are two different modes with “standard” mode and “classic” mode. “Classic” mode is basically the harder of the two for those who want a real challenge. In a game type like suppression if you pick “Standard” mode your objective is to kill players from the opposing team as many times as possible. In “Classic”mode there is no respawning so you are essentially one and done. You have your basic multiplayer options such as joining a friend and things of that nature. There is also a clan challenge where you can challenge another clan to a match. If you choose to go the cooperative route you will team up with other players against computer controlled enemies. In this mode teamwork is crucial as you will need to work together to not only complete your objectives but also to heal any teammates that might have fallen.
My overall time with Socom 4 was an enjoyable one despite the criticisms that I outlined above. There are some parts in the game that don’t have the polish you expect from a big title like this, however, the package as a whole was a fun experience. Hopefully the development team at Zipper can learn from their mistakes and make an even better title the next time. Socom 4 also features Move and Sharpshooter support, however, we didn’t have access to those to try out. We only had a Dualshock 3 at our disposal for this review. If you are a Socom fan I would recommend that you try out this game but you might want to rent before you buy. With the amount of games that keep coming out you’ll want to be sure that this is the game for you before spending your hard earned cash.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network