Thursday, November 17, 2005

SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals (PS2)

With the exception of probably Halo, there's only one gaming franchise other than NCAA Football that gives me morning wood in the middle of the afternoon - and that's Socom: U.S. Navy Seals. Well, unless you live in a box and your favorite color is "dark" then you're aware that the third addition under the name released October 11th - and my marriage has suffered since.

Ok that's exaggerating, but I've played it a fuckin' lot.

Socom: U.S. Navy Seals became an instant classic back in 2002, and although I can't say that I was a charter member onboard that bandwagon in the early days I have been shooting shit since the 2003 sequel Socom II. For the aforementioned box dwellers that haven't seen, played or heard of this game, it's a 1st or 3rd person shooter (3rd is the most preferred by virtually everyone) that allows you to play as the leader of a group of 4 Navy Seals and rescue the world from the pits of terrorists bent on destroying anything and everything remotely normal in our accepted way of life. However, Socom hasn't been known for its single player campaign in the first 2 installments - it's essentially become the Playstation's multiplayer answer to Halo 2 for the Xbox, with a cult following that rivals it as well.

In the single player campaign, your group of 4 Seals is drawn out over North Africa, South Asia and Poland to (assumably) stop a madman leader by the name of General Heydar Mahmood who is the head of the North African Patriotic Front. What this leader wants to do - actually you know what, I haven't played the single player so I'm going to quit pretending I know what the fuck I'm talking about. But! From what I hear, the single player rocks this year and is much better than 1 & 2, which for all intensive purposes have sucked irregular-sized testicles.

What I do know about it, the maps are enormous yet easy to navigate. When you enter the "Quick Deploy" option from the Main Menu, you begin the first mission which exposes you to many new features and sets you up for the gameplay you're going to experience. Navpoints direct you from objective to objective so there's never a real gray area or that sense of not knowing what to do next. You can snipe enemies from afar, you get into some close quarters combat and you have the opportunity to utilize the first vehicle to the series, the gun-mounted multi-use humvee. After clearing a trail you come to a situation where you must cross water, but one thing - there's a big fucking gunboat there...that you get to use!

If that's not enough, you can actually swim across to the next point if you like - another new feature - but let's face it, the machine guns on those boats deal out some serious murder and are way too badass to let sit afloat. Voice commands are another neat thing - not that I'd bark out alpha, bravo or any other name with my wife around to make fun of me, but for the gaming enthusiast you have to appreciate the feature. I'll comment more on this when I actually do play it all out, as I hear it only takes about 3 hours to complete.

Online is the meat 'n potaters of the franchise. The Socom servers routinely bolster 20k+ at any one point in time, so there's never a lack of people to shoot at. Hosted "Medleys" of each gametype are available on all servers that typically list out Suppression Medley, Breach Medley, Extraction Medley, Demolition Medley, Convoy Medley, & Control Medley. Something tells me I'm missing one and don't have them in the right order, however you take the good with the bad when finishing the final touches of your blog at work vs. sitting in front of the TV at home. Suppression is your basic deathmatch, Breach has the Seals objective being to force their way into somewhere, Extraction involves one side rescuing hostages, Demolition places a bomb in the middle of the map with the objective being to blow up the other team's base, Convoy provides vehicles to one side and it's necessary to escort a convoy of trucks to a loading zone & then to an extraction zone, and Control is a race to plant colored smoke beacons at each point across the map before your opponent does.

Suppression and Demolition are the proven winners and usually are always full or close to full of 32 people, but Convoy & Control are really gaining steam and doing pretty well. Extraction & Breach are kind of slow and rarely have an assload of people in them, but overall every type of game is fun and it definitely stays interesting game to game. My typical thing is to join the Enlisted Ranks server and find a created room that's just a basic medley, one that chooses a random map & random game type from game to game - thus keeping all my skills fresh.

The servers are outstanding for the most part, with the only framerate problems coming when you're watching a game finish out from the view of another player. For those unfamiliar, in online Socom you typically die once and then wait for the objective to be met or the other team to be eliminated before you begin a new one. Games are typically set up for 11 rounds w/ the first team to reach 6 winning the contest, but it's an interesting change from traditional online warfare games. You can choose respawn as an option, and on the same token you can choose to play 3 round games instead of 11, play with 16, 8 or 4 players instead of 32; take away vehicles & explosive devices, remove certain guntypes, change the time of the rounds, change the maps from large to small, change the maps from day to night turning a once bloodshed rushing point into a sniping ground - just insane customization options, and all available under a great connection.

In order to help control online cheating, the developers added a player verification process that requires you to register with a credit card. While playing online Socom is free, what this does is prevents the punks of the virtual world from getting banned and then coming back under another name - because instead of banning "HaYw00dJab10wM3" they can simply ban the card registered under it, thus making it harder to obtain another card to verify another account. Verified accounts allow you to play "Ranked" games in which your stats are recorded to your online profile that raises your rank from a lowly Seamen to eventually Admiral if you're amongst the top 5%, but not verifying your account only allows you to play in Unscored games that serve no purpose other than to provide the free online service.

The weapon selection before each round online (also before missions in single player) is almost a game in itself, providing enough options for the long-time subscriber to Guns 'N Ammo and also making it easy enough for the guy who barely knows the difference between an assault rifle & a pistol. Different weapons have a variable amount of attachments that can be added to each, with everything from long range scopes, gun-sturdying bipods, thermal & night vision, frag launchers, silencers, RPG's, grenades, mines & claymores. Each has strengths and weaknesses, for instance - silenced weapons don't pack quite as much punch as unsilenced guns, and submachine guns are much easier to control than rifles but lack range. Sniper rifles cover an extreme long range when fitted with a high scope, but the drawback comes with the inability to carry anything more than a pistol as your sidearm for up close and personal combat.

I think that's a pretty good start to Socom, after I read back over it and decide I could've wrote another 18 pages about something else I'll do it at a later date. Now, like with any gaming review I do - I'm going to list an assload of related sites to point you in the right direction to establishing yourself in the community.

Game Reviews: Gamepro, Gamespot, Gamespy, G4, IGN
Gaming Ladder:, Socom Arena
General Forums:,
Online Strategy: Tactical Whiteboard
Top Gaming Clans: Clay Pigeons, Eazzy Company, Hostile Annihilation Syndicate, Red Cell, Sea Snipers, Shadow Ops, Tactical Ops Unit, Urgent Fury

Anyway, Teebee and I started a Franchise Mode clan online that consists of us both and my younger brother, so if you happen to notice an [FM] next to someone's name then give us a shout out.


  • *My Thoughts*

    Sniping is too easy, 90% of the online maps favor snipers. Ghillie suit + 12x Zoom Scope = dead grunt.

    This makes it hard for the non-snipers to navigate most maps. I bring lots of smoke, and I don't use red smoke like a lot of people, being as red smoke signifies a hot extraction. Red smoke works as a screen but kind of unrealistic.

    For the most part though, you won't run across a lot of elite snipers, just fakes.

    I'm sure Biron will go over gameplay tips and so forth later. But.

    If your obsessed with rank, don't be. The only way to get Top 10 is to sit in rank up rooms 24/7 which is well .... gay. Anyway, thats all I got at the moment. Actually I have a lot more, but I'd rather go play then talk about it.

    By Blogger SvgBear, at 4:44 PM  

  • Can't....................stop..........................playing.....

    By Blogger Cajunirl, at 8:16 PM  

  • Actually to get into the top of the rankings takes another Playstation and some bored friends to let you kill them - pathetic shit really.

    By Blogger bironm, at 10:34 PM  

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