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15. SOCOM: US Navy SEALs
Zipper Interactive | SCEA | 2002
The game that introduced PS2 owners to tactical shooting and Sony-sanctioned online play
What made it so great?
The poster child for being in the right place at the right time, SOCOM got a huge instant fan base when it shipped alongside Sony's PS2 Online Adapter, and the series continues to be one of the console's biggest online draws. The original packs a cool single-player storyline, with stealth-based, one-hit-kill squad shooting that's made even cooler by enabling players to speak voice commands to their squad mates over an included headset.
Single-player isn't why the series is still a hit, though; right off the bat, SOCOM roped in players with its fast-paced, deeply varied online multiplayer. Here, players with handles as diverse as "yo_momma" and "yo_momma43" must work together, coordinate their strategy and avoid being shot in the face as they try to rescue hostages or defuse bombs across the globe. SOCOM II beefed up the online play and SOCOM 3 perfected it, adding vehicles and larger maps, but the original was where the snowball started rolling.
Get ready to play
All the classic stealth-shooter rules apply here. Stay out of sight and pick your targets carefully, because all it'll take to drop you is a single bullet. That goes double for multiplayer - anyone who expects to survive while running around in the open will quickly find themselves sitting out the rest of the match as they wait for their comrades to either die or win. Oh, and that headset is a valuable tool - use it to strategize with your teammates, because a team that cops an every-man-for-himself attitude is a team that loses.
Been there, done that?
Anyone who bought Sony's online adaptor when it hit the market could send away for a free copy of Twisted Metal: Black Online, but it's hardly a cheap freebie. Even without the cool stories from the earlier version, TM:B packs in some of the best car-combat action ever, and online it's a monster from hell.