MTV Multiplayer intern Sal Basile just got his PS3, and as a huge "SOCOM" fan (he started the now-defunct SOCOMscene.net), we decided to let him sound off since he was finally able to play "SOCOM: Confrontation." But after waiting so long, he was met with disappointment.
By Sal Basile
As a longtime "SOCOM" player -- the first "SOCOM" was my first online console shooter and then I had my own clan with "SOCOM 2" -- I was extremely let down by "SOCOM 3." Many of the game mechanics that I loved about the "SOCOM" series disappeared with this game.
First of all, "SOCOM 1" and "2" were tactical, strategic 16-player (eight-vs.-eight) matches on small- to medium-sized maps. "SOCOM 3" increased the match size to 32 players, doubling that of previous installments, and made maps significantly bigger. This meant if a match came down to one player on each of the teams, prepare for a long wait while the only two players alive traverse large terrains in search of each other. In addition to size changes, vehicles were added to the mix. It seemed that developer Zipper Interactive was forgetting what made the series great and was making it become more gimmicky.
So when I heard a new developer, Slant Six, was working on "SOCOM: Confrontation," I thought it could only improve.
But I was wrong.
"SOCOM: Confrontation" takes on a "Resident Evil 4"-like camera, providing players with plenty of blind spots due to the character's head being in the left or right (you can switch the camera's sides on the fly) upper corners of the screen. The character's body hides the rest of the side it's located on leaving only the opposite side of the screen visible. This camera style has no place in the fast-paced world of online gaming.
In other "SOCOM" installments, players could bring up a menu to select other equipment. The neat thing about this menu was that it was easy to bring up in the middle of a firefight without dying; you could continue to maneuver your character. But bringing up this menu in "Confrontation" halts your character, providing a free kill if anyone is lucky enough to find you while changing equipment.
Many maps I loved from the original "SOCOM"'s, such as Desert Glory and Frostfire, were left out of the third game but brought back in "Confrontation." These maps were remade with better graphics and new features. These new features, however, also add to the downfall of the game.
For example, in every map, there are invisible walls in locations that make them hard not to notice. Some areas where players walk in plain site are secure due to bullets and grenades bouncing off of these invisible walls. In addition to invisible ones, walls that don't even reach your character's waistline often protect players from snipers and gunfire due to bullets bouncing off of them (see the yellow rails in the new Frostfire).
Two titles in a row, from my favorite third-person shooter series, have failed to wow me. While other next-gen games continue expand upon their roots, "Confrontation" has completely lost touch with what made the "SOCOM" series an important franchise in videogame lore. Oh well, I'll stay true to my own roots, and stay hopeful for the next installment.