Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be invited by Sony to come up to Zipper Interactive HQ’s. I knew I was going to see SOCOM 4, I didn’t know that I was going to be able to get several hours of hands on time with the multiplayer along with a quick hands on the single player in 3D.
Now before I hit up the multiplayer, let me give you some quick details about what I saw in the single player as my hands on time with it was limited. First off, as I mentioned on the last episode of our Lock and Load podcast, this game was probably the most authentic looking shooter that I’ve ever had my hands on, it was just beautiful. The jungles had lush environments and everything just looked so real, it was the same while in the other game environments. The weapons, the vehicles, the buildings, it all looked completely true to form. As for SOCOM 4’s 3D, to myself it wasn’t as impressive. While playing it in 3D it felt like I was playing it through a cardboard cut-out diorama, everything just looked really flat, almost like a Southpark tv show. I don’t know if the shading was wrong or what but it just didn’t look right. Regardless of the 3D though, the game still looked great and felt great as well.
Let’s hit the multiplayer now as I had several hours with it. First thing about the multiplayer, I kick ass at it, at least against fellow people in the media. While playing SOCOM 4, Sony ended up having three tournaments where the top player won a Sony Bloggie (go ahead and check the link, I had no idea what it was till I googled it). I ended up winning the second and third round (I was skipped on winning it though), posting scores that you would see in the top of Call of Duty matches. This was one of my indicators of some of the changes that were made with SOCOM 4, it had a more arcade type of feel to it when compared to previous SOCOM games. Don’t worry too much though, it wasn’t like a Call of Duty, it more felt like a more authentic Battlefield Bad Company 2 (which was one of my games of the year by the way, so that’s a good thing). In addition to the ability to take a few more bullets then in previous SOCOM games (in my opinion at least), I was also able to throw grenades thirty to forty yards at ease, something that anyone that has ever thrown a grenade knows how heavy live grenades are, and now hard that they are to throw. That actually was one of my only pet peeves with the game, for a game that prides itself on authenticity, how they allowed this. In reality though, they are not the only ones, just about every game does this.
The gameplay I thought was superb, the game just felt exactly how it should, or how a game should feel to me. SOCOM 4 features up to thirty-two people online and five while playing co-op. It will feature nine brand new maps along with one of you pre-order the game from GameStop (something that I just hate more then anything else), it will be a classic map. There will also be four game modes, Suppression, Uplink, Last Defense and one that has yet to be announced.
SOCOM 4 has several other things for great for it, it has a XP system that rewards teamwork and mini in-match achievements, i.e., killstreaks, headshots, K/D ratios, etc. Your XP will be used to customize your character and loadouts. In addition to the XP the weapons have a leveling system as well, the more you use them the more advanced mods you will be able to use on that weapon. It seemed like a pretty cool system that they had going there. As for systems there will also be a party and clan system built into the game. I was able to get a little bit of info about the clan system. You will be able to do basic clan things from the game and on top of that there will be a more robust clan and stat tracking system on the web, one thing I think just about all games should provide.
I forgot to mention the ability to do airstrikes as well, talk about fun but not so easy to do. Depending on what game type you are doing, reaching certain in-game achievements will unlock the airstrike ability. While playing Suppression, once you get to a certain kill streak you gain an airstrike and while playing Last Defense, if you capture a position, you will gain an airstrike. Now here is the hard part, airstrikes take time to activate once you earn them because you have to lock onto a position, while locking on you are not able to be covered down on a wall or anything and if you die before you use it, you lose it. I lost a couple myself and wasn’t thrilled about losing them, nor was I when I released that it’s really easy to team kill with one. At one point I killed four of their guys and four of my own with a single strike, that wasn’t too cool.
With all this said, what are my overall thoughts on SOCOM 4. The game is fun, it looks great and I really enjoyed the multiplayer. This being said, what sets this game apart from all the other shooters out there? Honestly I don’t know. It’s a really solid game and one that I’d love to have in my catalog but not one that I feel is a must own. If I had to score it right now I’d say it’s a solid eight out of ten, a really great game but not one that you have to own.
For more screenshots of the game, check out our previous post here. And for some gameplay video, here is a trailer and here is another video with some authentic gameplay. Hope you enjoy and leave any thoughts or questions that you might have below in the comment section.