Since the Playstation 2 went online a few years ago, Sony has been releasing new version of the prized squad based combat shooter, SOCOM US Navy Seals, without fail every year, which has gathered quite a following. Being one of the first online titles for the Playstation 2, gamers from around the world have been gathering taking some really intuitive combat online forming clans and just really creating a great online community. Now with the Playstation 2 nearing the end of its life cycle, it should be interesting to see if SOCOM can suck anymore life out of it? So how does Combined Assault turn out? Read our full review to find out!
So over the past years SOCOM has really expanded its horizons in terms of both gameplay and graphical power from the original. Also the key component has always been multiplayer for the series, however Zipper Interactive (the developers) really have tried to expand the horizon to focus on both ends of the spectrum, so when your clans not gathering you can go through which have helped the depth of the recent SOCOM games. Now with what could be the last SOCOM title for the PS2, what does Zipper have in store for us with Combined Assault?
So once again Zipper Interactive has not given up on the single player side of things, which to me is a great thing because I am one that always needs breaks from online play. This time around in Combined Assault, which takes a fictional approach probably to stay out of the limelight for all of the problems we are having in the Middle East. Anyways you are in the country of Adjikistan, which to me sounds like a cross between a few countries in the Middle East, but let’s not even bother going there. Moving on you have eighteen missions at your disposal, which seems a bit longer then what we have seen in year’s past, and you definitely get the feeling of a longer game when playing it.
One of the interesting new features to the single player portion of the game is the cross talk feature, which allows you to link up with your PSP. Now this only works if you own a copy of Firestorm Bravo 2 for the PSP, and basically you can have the data from the two games and thus have different effects on your experience offline. The idea is well executed and without giving too much away the whole idea is great, and really rewards true SOCOM fans first for their loyalty to the franchise but also for playing through both campaigns. The overall single player campaign isn’t all that fresh, but it does enough to get the job done and offer a solid SOCOM experience.
You really cannot have a SOCOM game however without the online play, which of course makes a grand return in this game. The online play supports up to 32 players, which still is a great number that offers up some extremely intense battles. All of the features that we have come to love from SOCOM are all still there, like friends list, clan support, and all of the things that really bring together an online community. The online play really doesn’t feel all that different than what we have seen in years past. The game still has the same sort of tendencies and strategies that we have had in recent games. If you have played the previous SOCOM games, you really already know what you’re getting yourself into, and that is one addicting and enjoyable online combat experience.
In the end, Combined Assault really continues to have all of the making of a great squad based shooter on the Playstation 2. Sure the game is nearing the end of the PS2’s life cycle, but with all of that being said Combined Assault really does the series right in terms of keeping up a high standard of gameplay. The series has been a true mainstay for the console, and the potential transition to the next-gen PS3 should a very interesting.
One area in which I was and wasn’t surprised about was the visuals, which on one hand I thought the game needed some touch ups but on the other hand knowing the PS2 has seen its prime and it definitely seems like this may be the last time we see SOCOM on the PS2. Combined Assault continues the same style we have seen in SOCOM since the very beginning, with just more detail and better looking environments. Combined Assault is definitely showing its age and is one that I think still holds to a good standard of graphics. Unfortunately however one that just doesn’t pack as much punch as it used to.
As much as SOCOM has changed over the years the underlying fact is that this is still the same game that we saw right when the Playstation 2 launched its online network. What that means is over the years we have grown accustomed to the SOCOM formula, one in which still holds a lot of ground in this game. Combined Assault has some refined mechanics that do work to the game’s advantage as well as the PSP connectivity that really is a great idea and one that I really appreciated. The game just sticks with what has worked in the past, and luckily that is still a whole lot of fun to play.
Is Combined Assault a totally new and fresh experience? Well, no. But what it is is a great squad based combat shooter that packs in a great punch both online and offline. If you are a fan of the series, then there is probably already very little thought in your mind, but if any doubts exist, throw them away as this is still another great SOCOM shooter that highly deserves a look.
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.