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Game Over Online ~ SOCOM 3 (c) Sony Computer Entertainment

SOCOM 3 (c) Sony Computer Entertainment

Published: Tuesday, September 6th, 2005 at 03:49 PM
Written By: Jeff Haynes

It’s been argued that every console needs some genre defining title to ensure its success, one that players can point to as an example of extraordinary gameplay on that system. PS2 owners looking to fill the shooter category need look no further than the SOCOM franchise. Both beloved for its realism and hated for the numerous cheats that have been exploited in the past two titles, SOCOM has nevertheless attracted fans based on its Navy SEAL vs. Terrorist formula. Well, get ready for Zipper Interactive to break the PS2 multiplayer mold again, thanks to a number of significant changes that will redefine player vs. player combat in SOCOM 3.

Perhaps the most obvious and most significant change that’s been made to SOCOM 3 is the sheer number of players that can be supported on every map. Thanks to some serious online wizardry, Zipper has managed to allow up to 32 players to fight it out on every single map. However, don’t be worried that the increase in players will result in players continually running into each other. The 12 new multiplayer maps that have been included in SOCOM 3 are easily twice as large as the SOCOM 2 maps. We’ve even been told that some maps will be up to six times larger than the previous title, so there will be plenty of territory to explore, camp over and assault. The lone level provided in the multiplayer beta was a map called Harvester. Situated in a large grassy countryside with numerous hills, pathways and roads with sparsely populated buildings that snipers could pick off targets from, Harvester was an excellent choice to demonstrate many of the other new features of SOCOM 3, such as vehicular use.

That’s right, while you can traverse the entire map on foot, you can take advantage of a number of vehicles that will be scattered around the map. For instance, SEALs will often spawn near Humvees, which packs a turret on top of the vehicle and can hold up to six soldiers. Terrorists, by contrast, have improvised cars, such as a pickup truck with a rear mounted gun that they can rumble across the landscape in. Players will also be able to navigate the rivers and waterways of the maps with boats that have grenade launchers and other guns attached to them. While you can deploy large forces with these machines, you’re not impervious to threats; anti-tank rockets, other turrets and even well thrown grenades can destroy these assets. In particular, one incoming attack forced my team to abandon ship, leaping into the water to swim away to safety.

If you’ve played SOCOM before, you’ll notice how incredible that statement is. Typically water meant a quick death for players in other SOCOM titles. Now, players can try to swim across rivers and other bodies of water, even submerging for a time to attempt to avoid detection. However, not only is your rate of speed significantly reduced, you’re also an easy target for snipers and other players, since you can’t return fire. Obviously, this means that you’ll need to weigh your decision to take a dip, particularly if you’re one of the heavy gunners on your team. SOCOM 3 now takes into consideration the weight of the weapon loadout that you choose, reducing the speed of those who choose the larger guns. Considering that you’ll be able to choose from 30 different weapons and twenty separate weapon attachments, players will have plenty of choices to take into battle. Each will have their own advantages and disadvantages; for instance, silencers reduce accuracy, while grenade launchers significantly pack on bulk.

SOCOM 3 will also feature two new kinds of mission types for players to fight through. Convoy focuses on moving from point A to Point B with a group of very slow trucks, with one side trying to destroy the trucks or hamper their progress enough so time runs out and the other side is tasked with protection at all costs. Control, by contrast, establishes a number of checkpoints on the map that all need to be “captured” by smoke grenades or eliminating the other team. While there are still some glitches that pop up in the beta, such as empty seat errors that won’t let players jump on vehicles or objectives that won’t acknowledge when they’ve been interacted with, the beta is still extremely stable and shows a lot of promise for what the game will feature when SOCOM launches next month. Check back soon for a full review!

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