Last summer when SCEA released its network adapter it was shipped alongside quite a few online capable games. Most of these games were sports titles and some were interesting, but none amounted to as much as what SOCOM: US Navy Seals did last year. This third person shooter showed what online gaming on the PS2 could be, and also proved that console gaming could make it in the US. Well now SCEA and Zippy are back a year later with their sequel, SOCOM II: US Navy Seals.
When online gaming for a console was first announced for the PS2, one question in everyone’s minds was that how the developers would create titles that support an active gaming environment, and keep players involved and interact with one another online. Any questions or lingering doubts were immediately laid to rest when SOCOM: US Navy Seals was released, and was flying out of store shelves everywhere. The title now has thousands of loyal users and clans that keep an active online gaming community alive and flourishing.
SOCOM II contains both a single and multiplayer mode that will attempt to keep you interested both online and off. Although most people aren’t really concerned with the single player portion of the game, Zipper Interactive still put a lot of work into making a solid single player game. The single player mode that Zipper Interactive included in SOCOM II has its ups and downs, and really shows that the multiplayer mode is the game’s core strength.
In the single player mode you will take part in twelve different missions. There are a few problems that arise from this single player mode. The first one that comes out of the game is that the frustrating and rigid structure of the levels. You can actually get a good ten to twenty minutes into the level and then die and have to start all over. This could have been easily solved by checkpoints throughout the level. Another big problem is that the game really never gets interesting, but instead very repetitive and dull. The mission objectives don’t have much to them and therefore you will find that you won’t make it through the whole single player mode unless you’re really bored. To make matters even worse the computer AI is also pretty poor and just shows that if Zipper wanted to make a good single player mode they should have put a lot more emphasis on the computer AI because it is truly lacking depth.
With the single player mode being pretty poor, the multiplayer is what really saved the first SOCOM and once again saves SOCOM II. For most of you, you are probably wondering whether the game is worth getting for it’s online play and I am hear to tell you that if you enjoyed SOCOM online then you will really enjoy SOCOM II online because it has a ton of new upgrades to talk about.
SOCOM II host twenty-two maps, ten from the original and a dozen new ones for your gaming pleasure. There are also two new modes to choose from (alongside the original modes), which are Breach and Escort, which add more variety to the gameplay.
One of the nicer and more important additions to the online gameplay are the turrets, which bring a whole other dimension to the game. Turrets can be very useful when taking down opponents but can also leave you very vulnerable to enemy attack. There are also a lot of new weapons added to SOCOM II to really try and bring more variation to the game. The antipersonnel mines are pretty interesting, and can be useful if you know how to use them. You really have to be careful with these though, because you wouldn’t want a teammate getting killed by walking over one of your mines. There are also a lot more "powerful" weapons added to the game like the Rocket Launcher. There are plenty of new weapons, most just variations of the old, but all nice additions to truly make a solid online experience.
When you look at the Gameplay as a whole, it may have been better to just make SOCOM II an online only title and focused 100% on the online play. The single player mode in the end brings the Gameplay score down due to repetitiveness, lack of save points, and poor computer AI.
When SOCOM came out it was still just an average looking title that really didn’t have a whole lot to it. The character models didn’t have much to them, the environments lacked a lot of detail, but in the end the game itself ended up coming together to make an average looking title. In SOCOM II they attempted to improve upon all of this to try and make the game look much nicer then last years and in many ways they accomplished their goal.
You can tell that the level of detail in almost every category has been stepped up a few notches for SOCOM II. The character models seem to have a lot more life to them with much more detail and much more variety in the look. Most of the upgrades to the game’s graphics have taken place in the environments. Now that the environments have been upgraded it adds a whole new aspect of stealth to the game, which was also missing from the first SOCOM.
Overall the graphics of SOCOM II have been upgraded in almost every category to make a pretty good looking game. There isn’t much to complain about, but there also isn’t anything to go overly crazy about either. The graphics are nicely done and are a step ahead of last year’s effort.
In SOCOM II you are given some really good and some really bad, that balance each other out to make a pretty fun game. The single player portion of SOCOM II really lacks all the basic necessities you look for in a single player mode, and therefore really hurts the possible fun you could have in SOCOM II. The multiplayer portion though will find that you can really have a lot of fun getting involved in the active SOCOM II community with the various clans that are opening up.
While SOCOM II could have had a much better single player mode, the online play of SOCOM II really saves the game and makes it a worthwhile purchase. For any SOCOM enthusiast I would recommend this one to, it will provide you with hours of fun online action for your PS2.
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.