SOCOM 3: US Navy SEALs review

Can the online classic convince in single-player too?

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SOCOM will be filed in the annals of videogame history (along with Counter Strike) under 'O', with a sub-reference to 'R'. That is to say, 'Online', with a 'Rubbish Single-Player' tab.

Unlike its predecessor, SOCOM 3 has been rebuilt with a new engine, tarted up and enhanced. There's a tangible graphical leap that produces thick jungle bush in South Asia and top-notch urban settings in both Poland and North Africa.

The maps are huge, with loads of multiple routes and objectives you can complete in a number of ways. There are numerous vehicles and enough weapons to arouse any wannabe soldier. But it's not what's been added that's the problem - it's what's been left in.

Dodgy squad AI. They randomly veer from carrying out commands with ruthless efficiency to ignoring your most basic request. Inevitably this places more emphasis on your character than a squad shooter really should. If you want a job done properly, do it yourself.

Enemy AI has improved, though. They take intelligent cover, hunt in packs and react to your own movements.

Then there's the firing and moving problem. Whatever the vehicle, if you want to take down terrorists, you'll have to put on the handbrake or drop anchor and switch to your desired gun position.

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DescriptionSOCOM 3 really takes the PS2 to its limits. We can't imagine a better team-based military game for the console, so hopefully Zipper is already hard at work on a PS3 version to give us both lots of players online and great graphics. If you're an experienced SEAL, this is an automatic purchase.
Franchise nameSOCOM
UK franchise nameSOCOM
US censor rating"Mature"
UK censor rating"16+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)