SOCOM 4 (a.k.a SOCOM Special Forces) Single Player Review
First of all, I’d like to make an apology to Zipper Interactive & SONY for taking longer than expected on this review. A few reasons for that, but the majority of the time was spent waiting for PSN to come back up as I was looking to give the multiplayer a test drive.
Now, before I go ahead to give you an overview of the game, I’d just like to clarify that this review is purely based on the single player campaign. As briefly mentioned above, before I got around to give the multiplayer a chance, PSN was taken offline. Hopefully, once PSN is up and running, I’ll be able to give the multiplayer a whirl and give you my thoughts on that too.
So, where were we? Ahh…yes. I decided to play the single player campaign on normal mode. The introductory video certainly kept me glued to the screen, but once the game got started I wasn’t quite sure about the initial impression the game was giving me.
You start the game in an office building, along with an additional squad of 2 – whom you can control by simply pointing your gun and selecting tactical positions, which they take place and either gun the opposition down while you sit back or cover you when you decide to go all gung ho. The concept of the game is to work as a team, and even in the single player, you find yourself in situations where you cannot progress unless you decide to distribute your squad members into specific positions where they can clear the road for you to proceed. However, if your tactical positioning fails, they’re very likely to get shot down.
The first stage provides some very average experiences and a very slow start. The 1st stage felt like it was merely created for you to simply get used to the controls, all due to the fact the continuous prompts that kept popping on screen to advise you of the weaponry you can use at that particular moment in time.
The gameplay also felt a little dated, and at times, it felt like I was playing the game on a PS2, but with much better graphics and with the added functionality of the Move wand. Even though new technology features have been added, a little attention to detail where gameplay & storyline is concerned couldn’t have gone amiss. Even though I do have PlayStation Move, I’ve always preferred to play games like SOCOM using the sixaxis/dualshock controlller. I guess I should’ve given the Move wand a try before writing this review. Heck, I’ll do just that and update the post at a later date.
So, the review so far does sound a bit harsh, doesn’t it? The game starts slowly, but I do have to advise that it does start to pick up gradually as you move through the levels. However, I just didn’t feel that urge to pick up my controller and play this game for hours on end. This game had a more casual feel to it.
So, you’ve moved past the 1st level and you’re used to the controls; your squad then gets increased from a squad of 3 (including yourself) to a squad of 5 as soon as you complete around 2% the 2nd level. Even though I only managed to play through majority of the single player campaign, I couldn’t help but get a feeling that the multiplayer for this game was the main focus point – in fact why kid myself – multiplayer these days is the main focal point on 99% of the games that are released.
The AI could be improved. At times, right in the middle of gun fights, the AI simply ran into my gunfire. There were times when I managed to walk past the enemies, whereas, if I attempted that same level again, the enemies easily spotted me and my squad and completely battered us with bullets.
The cut scenes look great. When the initial single player campaign video came on, I was amazed by the quality of the character texture and facial expressions. The actual gameplay graphics are also good. Due to most of the gameplay taking place over the shoulder (maybe I’m missing a point here – camera views? I think I should look into this), the background scenery on my 37″ Full HD TV looked colourful, but pretty standard.
I mentioned above, once PSN is back, I hope to review the multiplayer aspect of the game. I do think I may have been a little harsh whilst doing the review, but I may be proven wrong once I get to taste the multiplayer portion of the game.
[review pros=”Cut scenes look great
The ability to command squad members into tactical positions
Total gameplay exceeds 30+ hours (including cutscenes)
AI needs to be improved. You can either get your hands dirty in gun fights or just sit back and let the AI do the work (maybe that’s a Pro as well?), and the AI needs to realise when it’s getting shot at rather than run directly into gunfire.
Single Player Campaign plot is too weak, and, at times, boring
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of SOCOM 4 provided by Zipper Interactive.