Ever since the Playstation 2 made its transition to online gaming, one of the games to help them really gain a solid fan base was SOCOM: US Navy Seals. The game offered great third person tactical strategy online and has really gained quite a bit of following. Then came SOCOM II, which was not what I would call a huge leap forward, but a great enough leap that the game was one that many fans are still playing to this day. And now is SOCOM III: US Navy Seals for the PS2, and can the third time be the charm for Zipper Interactive and SCEA? Read our full review to find out!
Many of us we know that this series is on par with the likes of Grand Theft Auto and even Mario, but we don’t quite know why. For those who are not overly familiar with the SOCOM series, then here is a little update for you. SOCOM is a third person tactical shooter. Your main objective is to really work as a team (preferably online) to take out the other team. The game really caught on like wild fire and was instantly one of the best tactical shooters to make it on the consoles. With the use of voice over the Internet, it helped easily make this game one of the more popular choices for the PS2. So can SOCOM 3 keep the series alive?
First and foremost, I would like to thank the people over at Zipper Interactive for finally putting some effort into their single player experience. This time around, the game actually has a decent war time story that has you going through three different campaigns. The game basically places you smack down in the middle of the action, and allows you to go with your squad and really do the best to eliminate all enemies. Basically some of the big changes from SOCOM II to SOCOM III were the size of the map, which really is much bigger in SOCOM III. Another huge change is that you can now drive the vehicles, so you will go in humvees, and jeeps, and all sorts of different vehicles. Not only that but it also seems as though the developers have put a lot more variety in the environments you play in.
The single player experience itself may not be the most satisfying experience of all time, but the improvements made to this single player from where it was in the last few versions was really an accomplishment for this team. You go through these missions with multiple checkpoints, which helps eliminate having to repeat missions over and over again. I was impressed with the way the developers put together the single player missions, and how they introduced a great deal of variety, and this truly was a fun experience that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Of course the single player mode is a great way to brush up on your skills for the real draw of the SOCOM series. The online play has also really benefited from the increasing size of the environments and drivable vehicles online. The developers have added some new modes to the mix, which are Convoy and Control. Both are extremely fun modes, but really require even more teamwork than the other classic modes. With this being said, the whole multiplayer experience is still the same as it was in the previous games, with the added bonus of bigger maps and more vehicles.
These two aspects alone greatly improve the whole SOCOM experience, because this makes the game feel even more alive. The game still has great controls and still feels smooth from start to finish. One of the most impressive accomplishments this game has is that it still plays smoothly, even with a bigger and deeper game. After I got done playing SOCOM III and starting writing this review, I must say I was extremely satisfied with the gameplay. It has been improved in ways that will really take this series a good step in the right direction.
The visuals of SOCOM III feel on par with the high quality visuals in SOCOM II. The character models still haven’t been changed all that much from the original game. For whatever reason the developers don’t find it necessary to upgrade the character models, and allow them to have more detail and more life to them.
The biggest improvement in SOCOM III is of course the massive environments, which look absolutely fantastic! There is plenty of detail scattered through the environments, and all of the war effects are alive and well in this game. If you liked the visual style of the previous game, you will continue to enjoy in this edition - just don’t expect any huge changes.
I have to say that I enjoyed SOCOM II, but I still felt like a sincere upgrade was needed to keep this series alive in this game. And boy did they come through. The size differential in the environments is really a key factor in what changes this game from typical to great. When I look at how great the vehicles handle, and just the smooth flow of SOCOM III, I just am very impressed. Lag was very rarely an issue in the game, and the overall playability of this game was just a ton of fun.
The game that SOCOM fans have been waiting for is here, in SOCOM III: US Navy Seals, as the developers have done enough great stuff in this game to warrant a must have purchase. With the expansion of the environments, the ability to use vehicles and a much more entertaining single player experience, there is no reason why any tactical shooting fan should pass up this game. It’s fun, addictive, and has great multiplayer support.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.