Review by GTA3 Addict
"A definite must-have game!"
SOCOM: US Navy SEALs is a fantastic game. You can either play in single player mode or online (if you purchase the network adapter and have broadband or DSL capabilities). Since I don't have broadband, my review is solely for the single player mode.
The story revolves you as the commander of a US Navy SEALs team, the best trained special forces unit in the world. You command Team Able (yourself, codename Kahuna and your partner Boomer) and Team Bravo (Jester and Spectre) in 12 different missions with differing objectives and environments. What makes it unique is that you have to think about what you are going to do and how you are going to proceed. If you go in guns blazing, you (and probably your team) will undoubtedly die. Having your team do some of the dirty work is vital.
Gameplay (8/10): The gameplay is good, but could be better in several areas. The AI of both your team and the bad guys could be improved. Many times the SEALs do things that highly trained special forces wouldn't. Numerous times they do something silly that either gets them seen (which usually means our cover is broken and I have to help them because the ''tangos'' (bad guys) start attacking) or they get killed. The other thing I REALLY don't like is that Boomer is always with you. You cannot command him to stay put while you accomplish something. He'll either be getting in your way or ends up getting himself seen. The positive side of Boomer is that he will sometimes spot a bad guy before you do and he will watch your back.
I also don't like that you can only save at the end of a successful mission. Games like Metal Gear Solid 2 allow you to save often. This is not the case with SOCOM. Some missions can take a long time to complete (especially if you have to take things slow). If you make a mistake near the end that causes a mission failure (or die), you have to replay the entire mission. This can become aggravating at times.
Having a headset (which comes with the game) to communicate with your team is nice. Even though you don't have to use the headset (you can select the same commands from pull down menus), it's much easier to say your command instead of having to try and find it in the menus. This adds a nice element of realism to the game. The one down side is that if you don't speak clearly enough, the game will not interpret your command correctly. Usually you can tell if the team received the correct command because they will acknowledge it with a response based on the command. But if you happen to not hear the response or the command was wrong, the team can do something that you didn't want and it may be too late to issue the correct command before something ''bad'' happens. However, the menus are always available as a fallback for the headset commands and I use them to make sure the commands are unambiguous for vital commands.
The other thing I really like is that the cutscenes are not real long. To me this has been really annoying in other games when playing the first time through. You want to watch the cutscene to learn the story line, but also want to get back to the game. In SOCOM, they are short and to the point to let you get back to the action (which is why you purchase a game in the first place).
Story (10/10): The story is pretty straightforward. There are terrorists trying to destroy the world and your job is to thwart their plans. Not much else can be said about this.
Graphics/Sound (9/10): The graphics are pretty good. The graphics are a little dark and you'll undoubtedly have to adjust the brightness on your TV, especially since some of the missions occur at night. The graphics are also a little grainy, especially when you look at something close up or with your binoculars. There are other games on the market that have better graphics, but these certainly aren't bad. As far as the sound, I think it is very good. All of the weapons sound realistic, as do the sounds of the environment you are in.
Controls (10/10): The controls aren't bad. You have the ability to select 4 different control presets (which button does which action) to best suit what you are accustomed to. Once you become familiar with the controls, they become second nature.
Replay (8/10): In the single player mode, you have to complete all 12 missions in the first two difficulty settings before you ''unlock'' the ability to play any mission in any order. If you happen to get stuck on a mission, you may find yourself putting the game away since your only option to start over from the first mission. If you have the ability to play online, I think the replay would be good since no two missions would ever be the same.
Rent or Buy? I think this is definitely a game to have. If you're not sure, then rent it first. I bought it 3 days after I rented it because I enjoyed it so much!
Overall Score: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/16/02, Updated 11/22/02
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