Thursday, April 7, 2011

SOCOM 4 Preview

The SOCOM games have always been a premier multiplayer experience on the PlayStation consoles.  With a strong following of fans since the online hit of SOCOM 2, Zipper Interactive and PlayStation knew they had a franchise to invest in.  With their debut on the PS3 system SOCOM failed miserably.  SOCOM 4 looks to bring back its fans and attract the new Call of Duty generation of players with their unique approach to military shooters.

SOCOM is a third person shooting game which gives you an over the shoulder perspective of your character.  The camera can go first person if you are using a weapon that features a scope or red dot sights.  The game also features a cover system which allows a more dynamic approach to game play.

After playing the beta for hours, it really feels like Zipper took the time to polish their new release.  Though the beta only gives multiplayer access, it is clear to see the dramatic improvements made since its predecessor.  The game now features different modes ("Classic" and new), better menu navigation, player rank progression and better character customization.

SOCOM features new and classic game settings.  The new standard setting features game play like newer generation shooters with respawns and heath regeneration and fewer match rounds.  The new standard mode also introduces airstrikes which is a first for the series.  Airstrikes are activated in different ways depending on what new game mode you are playing (uplink, bomb squad, last defense or suppression).  SOCOM also features classic settings for the hardcore fans of the franchise.  Some of the classic rules inclide:
  • No Heath Regeneration
  • No Respawns
  • Faster player movment
  • Rounds end after everyone is eliminated

Multiplayer also features different objective game modes, each mode can be played with either standard or classic settings.  Some modes do feature different rules or weapons allowed in the game. 


Standard Team Deathmatch

Standard Mode Rules:
  • Rack up as many kills in 20 minutes
Classic Mode Rules:
  • Best out of 7 rounds

Last Defense

This is a very confusing but fun game mode once you understand the rules.  There are three neutral sectors in the middle of the map.  Each team must capture and hold all three sectors in order to reveal the enemy's headquarters. 

After locating the HQ, the attacking team must plant a beacon on one of two locations on the map.  The attacking team will have 2 mintues to plant the beacon.  Once planted there is a 19 second window till the enemy HQ is hit by an airstrike to win the game.  If the defending team takes out the beacon at any time, all the sectors will go back to being neutral and will start over again.

Standard Mode Rule:
  • Best of 3 rounds
  • 30 minute time limit each round
Classic Mode Rule:
  • Best of 11 rounds
  • 5 minute time limit each round

Uplink is an objective game similar to capture the flag.  One team is attacking and one team is defending.  The attacking team must download the enemy data and bring it back to their base and uplink it to score.  Only one person can download data at a time.  Once a player has the data that person will show up on their teams HUD so they can protect them.

The Defensive team must defend the data locations until time has expired.  If the data is stolen, defensive players must kill the person with the data, then return the data back to their base. 

Standard Mode Rules:
  • Best of 2 rounds
  • 10 minute time limit each round
  • Teams switch sides after each round
  • Three random Data locations on the map
Classic Mode Rules:
  • Best of 10 rounds
  • 5 minute time limit each round
  • Teams switch sides after each round
  • Two locations for Data on the map
Bomb Squad

Bomb Squad is an objective based game featuring bomb defusing and protection.  There are three bombs sites located on the map.  One team must protect the bomb sites from being defused and the other team must defuse the bombs before time runs out.  The defusing team has one player selected at random to defuse the bomb, also known as the bomb technician.  The player that is chosen to defuse the bomb is given heavy protective armor to take more damage and has powerful weapons to protect him, a shotgun and grenade launcher.  Each bomb will take 9 seconds to defuse.

Standard Mode Rules:
  • Best of 2 rounds
  • 10 minute time limit for each round
  • A new bomb technician is chosen randomly after a technician death
Classic Mode Rules:
  • Best of 10 rounds
  • 7 minute time limit each round
  • A new bomb technician is chosen each round
  • The round will end if the technician is killed or dropped form the game

 Another game mode that was announced but not offered in the beta is the new Co-Op mode.  This mode puts 5 online friends together against enemies in 6 different maps.  Depending on the mode, players will have to team up together and complete the objective given to them all while fighting off endless waves of enemies.  Players will be able to revive fallen comrades, resupply during battles and gain new weapon mods by completing challenges.  Game settings can also be customized allowing you to choose how many enemies there are in each round. 

SOCOM 4 is looking like it will be the big step forward the franchise was disparately needing.  The improvements to the overall game play are drastic, and I can tell they took a lot of time getting it right.  Even though the game is just in beta, it will be interesting to see what the final product will be.  It is obvious Zipper cares about their product.  Shortly after the beta released, they are already putting a patch through to fix issues players were having with game play.  SOCOM has never been big on the single player experience so maybe this is they year the deliver the full package.  Tune in later this month for the SOCOM 4 review.


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