In light of the current climate, opening up SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo with a scene depicting a suicide bomber levelling a Chilean police HQ is in slightly bad taste. OK, it hammers home the ruthlessness of the terrorist cell you're dealing with, but it's rather harsh. Then again, so is war.
And so it is in the latest instalment of Zipper's excellent SOCOM series for PSP, but it certainly gets our 'seal' of approval.
We feared Fireteam Bravo would suffer from the lack of a second stick on PSP. After all, you need them both to look and walk simultaneously on PS2. But through some genius thinking by the developers, Fireteam Bravo not only looks lush on the tiny screen, it also handles like a dream.
So the controls work fine, but what about the actual game? Put simply, it performs well. Apart from the clumsy AI soldiers disobeying direct orders (such as not heading to a checkpoint when you instruct them to) and a few other niggles that we'll come to later, Fireteam Bravo creates a full-on military experience.
Almost every aspect of PS2's version has made the cut for the march onto PSP.
In fact, the only notable feature to be lost in transition is SOCOM 3's vehicles. And yes, you can even use a headset (albeit not your PS2 one. That wouldn't fit in your PSP) to communicate with your team in the 16-player online mode. Sweet.
Unlike previous efforts where you commanded a selection of troops throughout the Campaign mode, Fireteam Bravo sees you playing simply as Sandman and Lonestar, the latter of the two being your AI buddy.
We were worried that the targeting system may have been a tad tricky on PSP, as PS2's version required marksman-like timing. Praise be, then, that it works well.
Unfortunately, the enemy AI helps, too. It's quite lame. For example, rather than cowering in cover as you unleash a few rounds, the terrorists prefer to freeze and soak up lead like a magnetic sponge.
But it's not all bad, mind. During a particularly frantic firefight in a mansion, we felt a great sense of camaraderie with our AI chum as we ordered him to 'breach and clear' rooms to take out the bandits streaming through the halls.
And, thanks to the awesome online mode, you can even boss the virtual war zone with a group of mates and further your teamwork enjoyment.
Although it's understandably not quite equipped with the graphical prowess and feature-heavy stylings of its PS2 brother, Fireteam Bravo is a worthy addition to the SOCOM series, and a breath of fresh air for PSP owners.
If the missions were more taxing on the old grey matter, and the artificial intelligence a little more, well, intelligent, then this would have been something of a classic. As it is though, Fireteam Bravo is a solid conversion. A big 'Hooah' to that. As they say in SOCOM.