Game review: Socom Special Forces
The fourth instalment in Socom, the most robustPS3 iteration of the game to date, offers players two different identities with which to navigate its highly detailed world. You play either as Cullen Gray, a Special Forces operative; or a character known only as 45, a femalestealth assassin.
The story mode takes players to the Far East, as you shoot your way through jungles littered with ancient ruins and cities destroyed by rebels, leading a five-person squad to find out what happened to a missing Nato Special Force. The story draws you in - if you don't mind the annoying accents! - but becomes not all that important, and frankly, you don't really care for your characters as you would in a proper RPG. Your team is important though, since they make all the difference when flanking and taking on a battlefield strewn with enemies.
There are also some serious stealth missions that you can't just complete ‘guns ablazing', which you play as 45, creeping your way from scene to scene. These missions are a great addition to the team-based action, providing a slow moment for relaxation and focus for a change from the carnage of the battlefield. Silent kills are a must for any unlucky baddies standing around for a quick smoke break, as one well-placed shot will end your virtual life.
The missions tend to flow quite linearly, despite huge and open maps, though you can stray off the beaten track and explore, searching for hidden intel and oranges (seriously!). Or, for the more dogged gamer, you can just follow the waypoints for quick completion.
The controls feel a tad clunky and annoyingly imprecise on occasion. For example, while you're trying to go undercover or heal a squad member inthe middle of a gunfight things can get a bit weird. Direct your squad with pointers to plan a perfect ambush, but be careful; it's easy to make a mistake and command them straight into the middle of the firefight if they take your directions the wrong way.
Loading times are almost non-existent when you enter the great atmosphere and level design, while the graphics are good, but not up to Battlefield BC2 or Crysis 2 standards.
This game also offers a lengthier single player campaign and custom single-player missions; so even after completing the storyline, there are still hours of offline game left to play. Enjoy your mission...