So I played a bunch of SOCOM yesterday and I think it’s pretty damn good. I played the multiplayer first, just because that is what I was most curious about. People have been asking me how easy it was to set up the broadband adaptor and I guess it’s pretty easy. I say I guess because I turned around to take the wrapping off the game and by the time I had finished struggling with that little sticker thing on the top of the case Tycho had already set up the BBA and was waiting for me. He said he just had to hit “X” like 5 times and it was done. I logged in and was able to jump right into a game with no problems. The lobby interface is simple and easy to navigate. Once I was in a game I was able to select my weapons load out and then I was dropped in as an observer while I waited for the next round to begin. It took a while to get used to the controls but once I started to feel comfortable aiming and strafing with the analog sticks I was having a blast. The voice chat via the included headset was clear and easy to use. Holding down “O” allows you to speak to your teammates CB style. While most of the conversations centered on the sucking of things or the romantic escapades of my mother, occasionally I found myself on a team that actually used the voice chat to work as a unit.
After a bunch of multiplayer I decided to check out the single player campaign. I took the headset off and set it on the floor next to me assuming I wouldn’t need it. As the game started I could hear noise coming from the headset so I put it back on and realized it was radio communication between my team members. Not only will your teammates call out enemies and update you about their positions but you can also issue commands to them with it. The game uses voice recognition software that allows you to simply speak your commands like regroup or hold fire. You can also use it to issue more complex commands like meeting at rally points, providing cover fire and clearing buildings. I know it’s sort of a gimmick but it was a pretty fucking cool one. The missions I’ve played so far have been pretty standard stuff. The terrorists are bad and you have to blow up their shit. The AI for your fellow SEALs seems pretty tight but the enemy AI on the other hand is complete crap. Fire at a terrorist off in the distance and watch him look around with a sort of lazy interest about were that bullet that just pierced his bladder might have come from. The other side of that coin though is that they are so stupid that there are plenty of opportunities to just walk right up to them and give them a rifle butt to the jaw, which is always fun. The graphics are passable but it’s not going to win any awards for them. Some of the multiplayer levels look pretty muddy but the designs are very solid and they play really well.
Overall I like SOCOM quite a bit. It’s true that you’ve been able to do this sort of thing on the PC for years but that’s not really a fair comparison. Console gamers are just getting their first taste of online tactical squad based combat and lucky for them it’s a pretty fucking good one. Even for someone like me who plays the Army game every night, SOCOM has enough innovative features and interesting mechanics to keep me interested. If you have a PS2 and a broad band internet connection I would recommend you try and find yourself a copy.
So Tycho called me this morning and told me how he just got his Xbox live kit. He told me all about the service and how fucking cool it was. He was downright giddy over the whole thing. I knew that eventually I would need to get an XBox for Panzer Dragoon Orta, but that is quite a ways off. Then yesterday Tycho told me that he heard through one of his contacts that a game I like very much would actually be playable via Xbox live. I am pretty sure I can’t say which one, but suffice to say I am going to Comp USA today to buy an Xbox. When the game is announced I am sure you will understand my decision.
Kara and Batjew have asked me to tell everyone that there will be no more Loves and or Hates. So please don’t send them anymore questions for it.