SOCOM: Tactical Strike - in the trenches

Squad-based combat gets a strategic makeover - hands-on impressions and fake-gun silliness reveal how it works

If the Airsoft guys had actually been trying to hit us, it would have been over in seconds; as it was, we cowered behind the fountain and the parked cars, desperately returning fire until we saw the Airsoft guys slump theatrically out of their windows. We had all been separated in the chaos, with only a vague idea of where each squadmate was.

If the Airsoft guys had actually been trying to hit us, it would have been over in seconds; as it was, we cowered behind the fountain and the parked cars, desperately returning fire until we saw the Airsoft guys slump theatrically out of their windows. We had all been separated in the chaos, with only a vague idea of where each squadmate was.

Above: Freelancer Jeb Haught pauses just before his squad charges into the town square

Once the noise had quieted down, our squad leader ordered us to clear the remaining buildings, picking off a couple of stragglers (and nearly tagging a Sony-hired photographer) as we went. Finally, there was a short, knees-bent run for the embassy door as the town square once again erupted with noise - but then the game was over, and we were free to turn in our guns and strip off our layers of sweat-soaked gear. Mission complete.

Needless to say, the guys in Tactical Strike do a much better job of keeping their wits about them than we did. Of course, they'll also take up positions in open areas if you tell them to, and they'll stoically sit there taking fire until they keel over - at which point you've got maybe a minute to patch them up before their secondary life bar "bleeds out," meaning death for them and instant mission failure for you.

Above: Freelancer Jeb Haught pauses just before his squad charges into the town square

Once the noise had quieted down, our squad leader ordered us to clear the remaining buildings, picking off a couple of stragglers (and nearly tagging a Sony-hired photographer) as we went. Finally, there was a short, knees-bent run for the embassy door as the town square once again erupted with noise - but then the game was over, and we were free to turn in our guns and strip off our layers of sweat-soaked gear. Mission complete.

Needless to say, the guys in Tactical Strike do a much better job of keeping their wits about them than we did. Of course, they'll also take up positions in open areas if you tell them to, and they'll stoically sit there taking fire until they keel over - at which point you've got maybe a minute to patch them up before their secondary life bar "bleeds out," meaning death for them and instant mission failure for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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