SOCOM has always been one of Sony’s premier franchises, and has always had a huge online following. This time around, with a new developer, the game has not been overly publicized and almost has been swept under the rug. Was this intentional? Or did the game just get lost in the holiday rush? Read our full review to find out…
Anyone who has played the SOCOM games on the PS2 will know what to expect when they pick up and play Confrontation. The core gameplay has remained generally unchanged from the previous titles, and continues to provide solid and strongly team based shooting. Unfortunately, although the bulk of the gameplay is unchanged a lot has changed which keeps it from being as enjoyable as previous titles.
The biggest problem with SOCOM is that the game really isn’t finished, and the game can be unplayable at times. This should change soon depending on the level of confidence Sony has for the game’s potential or could stay the same and ruin the whole experience and possibly the franchise. At the time of review, the servers were still generally very unstable, and there was a really bad latency problem, but when I was able to get in a good game it did feel similar to playing the previous games on the PS2.
Subtle but noticeable differences can be found in the ways the guns shoot, and I found that these differences were almost unbalanced because it just seemed like it was easier to shoot from far away while running than from close up and crouching or proning. The SOCOM franchise has always been a very realistic experience, but the server issues are throwing this idea far off.
Team gameplay has always been a monumental aspect of the SOCOM franchise, and fortunately this is no different in this installment. The headsets that come with the blu-ray version of the game are very useful for all players and communication is vital for any sort of prolonged success. This is definitely one of the positive aspects of SOCOM because too many games have relied on running and gunning, one man army, gameplay over teamwork. To say the least if you run and gun in SOCOM you will most likely die if you are playing against somewhat good players and you will die a lot.
SOCOM has always been a game about competition and has always been one of the most popular games on online ladders or tournaments. This is because of the high level of skill needed to become good at this game, and unfortunately there aren’t many rewards for those who are skillful, or motivation for people to get better. Although trophies really are not very important, they were promised, and at the time of review were not included.
The game comes with a good variety of maps, with some being renovated old maps, and others new entirely. This is a good feature for those who are fans of the series and know some maps well, and most keep the layout of the older games. The maps are all very well designed, and again emphasize teamwork over all which is a good thing to see.
SOCOM has never been the graphical powerhouse that many other shooters have been, and often relied on level design and realism to make up for the lack of detail. This is the deal again for Confrontation as the game at times looks like it could have come out on the PS2. This is not always the case because at times the great lighting can make up for the poor textures and environments. The older maps do look much better than the games they originally came out on, but the visuals are disappointing given the things that we have seen on the PS3.
Character models are for the most part solid, but are far from impressive as much of the game is. To say the game looks bad would be unfair, but two years into the life cycle of a console causes us to expect that a game would live up to certain standards, that SOCOM does not live up to. When you are playing the game, the visuals will most likely not get in the way of your enjoyment of the game, given that you are actually given the chance to play the game, but the graphics are far from as good as they should have been given the power of the system, and the amount of time spent on the game.
Fun factor is where the game is somewhat polarizing, because some will find the gameplay extremely enjoyable, and others will find it dull, boring, and frustrating.
This will be strongly influenced by what kind of games you typically enjoy because while the game is solid and will be generally enjoyable for those who are fans of this type of game, it will not convert those who generally do not like this type of experience. The game is very similar to the others in the series so if you are a fan of those you will feel right at home with this game. If not then you most likely will not enjoy it or will not get as much out of it as others. Those who experience technical and server issues now will not be likely to stick around when the greener pastures come, as they are likely to soon with a patch of some kind.
Sadly SOCOM Confrontation is a disappointment given the fact that it feels like an unfinished and rushed game. The gameplay is generally solid, but also unchanged from previous installments, but server issues have held it back from being playable for the most part. Most of what was promised before launch (trophies, party system, ranks, even stats and clans) is missing, and will have to be included in a patch after launch. So the question that I asked at the beginning of the review is answered and Sony seems to have chalked this up as a disappointment, thus the lack of support of the title. Hopefully some well needed patches come out fast, and we get our SOCOM fix on the PS3 fast. For now I recommend only for fans of the older games to pick up this one, and hopefully things will be completely different very soon.