I have a soft spot for the SOCOM series. It was the first game I took online with my PS2, and on that console at least, it always seemed to set the standard for online shooters. It wasn’t too hard to do though as it was the best online shooter in a field of perhaps two. The game suited me too. I am not great at “twitch” gaming, I suck at Unreal because I am not fast enough. I blame my aging reflexes but I am probably just crap. So for these reasons SOCOM, with its more thoughtful and tactical gameplay, was my online game of choice. I really enjoyed the way you could hide in a bush and not be seen at all, and how, by working as a team (or as a small squad within a team) you could set ambushes. Team work really matters in SOCOM.
So, a bit of a fan then, which is why I am concerned about the latest installment. SOCOM reigned supreme on PS2 but there was hardly any competition, now the market is rammed with quality online titles like COD4, Unreal, Brothers in Arms, Medal of Honor, and Battlefield just to name the ones I can think of off the top of my head. How will it fare when compared to those other offerings? From the looks of the videos, not that well.
Look at the way the characters seem to float around just above the floor, the way they slide to the side instead of taking actual steps, very last-gen. You don’t get that in COD4. The graphics don’t look that much better than SOCOM3 on PS2, the characters look like they are made of cardboard and the levels (that we have seen so far) look almost exactly the same as the last lot. At the very least the PS3 version should be all shiny and gorgeous looking. 32-player action is promised, big deal SOCOM3 was doing that on old hardware way back in 2005. The bar has been raised a lot since then. Resistance 2 will offer 60-player action and Sony are developing MAG (Massive Action Game) that is promising 256 players in one game (oooh that sounds exciting)!
Admittedly, we haven’t seen much of the game. But if you can’t make your game look good in a trailer what chance is there for the real thing? I hope I am wrong but it looks like SOCOM Confrontation will have to try harder to get back into this crowded party.