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Publisher Sony snuck this latest entry in its long-standing Navy SEALs-based shooter onto store shelves with very little fanfare. Odd, considering this was one of PlayStation 2’s biggest franchises and the game introducing the PS3’s swish new wireless headset (which is fantastic, by the way) – but we saw almost immediately why. This game simply wasn’t finished when it was shipped. In fact, we considered holding our review until all of the game’s problems were addressed in the patches we know are already on the way. But that may be awhile.
The first thing SOCOM: Confrontation did was spend 25 minutes installing more than 3 gigabytes of data onto our hard drive – this isn’t optional, which is a worrying trend for PS3 games. But more worrying was the game’s second act: immediately downloading a sizable patch that corrupted the save game data that the game had automatically generated when it installed. Once we exited the game, manually deleted the save data from the hard drive, then restarted the game, we were golden (well, except for all the other issues). But don’t plan on playing anything but the blues for the first 30-60 minutes after inserting the game.
Moving on, let’s assume for the sake of continuing this review that you’ve got the game all patched up and you’re ready to rock. The first thing you should know is that this is online multiplayer ONLY. There’s no single player mode – not even a tutorial that lets you get your feet wet. This is not a complaint necessarily; it’s just a statement of fact. Don’t come here looking for any sort of story or campaign mode or training wheels. That stuff’s not here.
Also not here: Trophies, decent matchmaking and stat tracking, reliable servers, more robust clan features, graphics that are high quality or free of glitches, working sniper scopes and a smooth, lag-free framerate. This is, at present, a badly broken game. However, there are patches already cooking that should fix pretty much everything but the average-at-best visuals, so if you’re patient, you should be rewarded.
So, what IS here? Seven maps, many of them vast and expansive and all filled with some of the most tense, gritty, realistic military combat you’re going to get from a game. This is hard stuff, gang – if you run-and-gun, you will die, quickly and repeatedly, and in some matches you only get one life.
You’ll also find the series’ trademark cornucopia of equipment for the modern soldier fully intact, enabling you to customize your gear loadout exactly how you want it. The new motion controls for leaning around corners and jumping out from cover actually work pretty well.
Finally, the excellent quality of the headset (which we can attest also functions perfectly in Resistance 2) enhances perhaps the game’s biggest strength: The teamwork with other human players that carries you through the nail-bitingly intense combat. This is why people love SOCOM, and why they will love this SOCOM as well. Once it’s finished, at least. For now, buy this to get the headset for Resistance 2 and come back to SOCOM in a couple months. Maybe it’ll be completed by then.
Oct 31, 2008