SOCOM US Navy Seals: Combined Assault
The fourth in the series also talks to PSP.
The SOCOM series on PS2 has been an interesting one, carving its own niche through the last few years and providing the ageing console with one of a few, dedicated, decent online experiences that it has ever seen.
With SOCOM US Navy Seals: Combined Assault we see nothing out of the ordinary that is going to throw any fans off, nor do we see anything approaching revolutionary - what we do see is a game that's fun enough, but is fast getting left behind in the last generation.
Yes, I've been spoiled by R6:V, GRAW and any number of other acronym-heavy shooty-mc-shootys, hush down though.
"Anyone with a PS2 could do a lot worse than SOCOM - the game is well-made, thoughtful (in parts) and tough, as well as having a decent lifespan."
Anyone with a PS2 and nothing else in their lives could do a lot worse than SOCOM - the game is well-made, thoughtful (in parts) and tough, as well as having a decent lifespan. It offers an experience that isn't really available on any other PS2-specific shooters, especially when the online multiplayer aspect is taken into consideration and is something that fans of modern US warfare should certainly look into, especially if they have a dislike for all things Middle-Eastern-European.
Those with more coin to hand, and thusly more consoles to play with, should look elsewhere - the 360 offers a few better alternatives in the already-mentioned acronym genre, with Vegas being the one most highly recommended, covering fantastic single player and hilarious (and good) multiplayer. The PS2 simply can't compete in this respect. Ah, unfair comparisons.
Back to the world of the past-o-console though, and Combined Assault. Owners of SOCOM 3 probably won't want to bother with it, it should be pointed out, as it really doesn't offer enough on top of the previous effort. Those without internet connections or broadband adapters for the PS2 will also be missing out on a large portion of the game, as SOCOM is still a primarily online series - yes, there is offline co-op, but the true experience comes from the 32-player shenanigans. Missing out on this aspect is missing out on a massive part of the game.
"Unfortunately, the series is beginning to show it's age, and it isn't ageing very well."
The PSP sees its own version of SOCOM released around the same time, in the shape of Fireteam Bravo 2. What we're looking at is a standalone game with it's own missions, a nice multiplayer mode and a good looking - by PSP standards - game, even if it is essentially the same thing as it's bigger brother. Also worthy of note is the synchronisation between PS2 and PSP games, where Fireteam Bravo can actually help out with missions on the PS2 version - the first mission sees them clearing out the guards around a downed chopper, for example. It's a lovely touch and the kind of thing that has been completely overlooked when it comes to syncing the PSP and PS2. We don't just want to share stats, we want things like this. Good work there then.
The curse of technology has made Combined Assault less worthwhile, and certainly not worth picking up if previous SOCOM games are owned. The PSP version, Fireteam Bravo 2, is a better-suited game. The technology doesn't feel as stale and it is worth picking up regardless, so let's say that's a 7.