Reviewed: October 30, 2008
Released: October 14, 2008
SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Confrontation is the latest in the long line of SOCOM video games dating back to those older consoles like the PlayStation 1. The games venerable past may be good but I was at a loss at this game and find it a very mixed bag of tricks to say the least.
I received the game and was very pleased to pull out the Sony Bluetooth headset that adds to my growing collection of not only headsets but Bluetooth gear. The headset works great and is easy to set up on the PlayStation 3 through the Bluetooth managing section of Accessories. So at the very least out of this $60 package you get a Bluetooth headset that works very well and is easy to use, no wires to your headset in the frantic melee of battle. You can also purchase the game without the headset for about $40 at a store or through the PlayStation Network as a digital download. I have to say if youíre not interested in purchasing the headset you may as well save yourself the shelf space of the case on this one and buy the digital download.
The first gripe I have about this game comes when installing the game; yes you have to install this console game before playing it; likely a side-effect of also being available as a downloadable title. You also have to wade through several screens to get to the actual game like another update of the game as well as a warning that clan and player information may not work right now. The game released with so many bugs it was almost unplayable and now itís just frustrating, they have patched several issues, but others are still causing problems two weeks after launch.
You have two pages of "where in the world you are" to click through which makes no sense to me. Why tell you to set your PlayStation 3 on the time zone youíre in and warn you that events that are upcoming will be dependent upon the time. They have the update which took almost as long as the install time, I let the install and updates go and it took an afternoon to get all this done just so I could play the game. Another annoying feature is the End User License Agreement that you have to agree to every time you play the game which is kind of redundant. Itís all this extra stuff that you have to go through to play the game that makes it annoying.
You play as a Commando or Mercenary which you will alternate through often during gameplay and you can switch sides in pregame setup pages. When you finally do get to the start of your player stuff you first have to choose your two sets of weapons, gear and appearance from the customize screens. These are where you choose which weapon you want to play, what armor or lack of that you want and what your guy will look like for both sides of the gameplay.
During the games you can also change the weapons and such between rounds so donít worry about that, but I do not understand why there is lag during these pages. When going from screen to screen the game will actually pause and stumble through the pages of the character and weapons animations. Unacceptable for a game that requires 3.5 GB on your hard drive.
You have picked your guy, weapons, gear and clothing with armor as you see fit and you want to get into the thick of it. You have to go through at least three more screens to get there though as well as a hefty load time for the actual game itself.
The servers are setup by location in the world like four across the US but there are numerous ones for each section, or what they term channel, as well. Once you pick a channel to use as your server base you have to pick an actual server that you want to play on according to game mode, ranked and respawn type. You can use a filter on the servers but this should have been an option from the start so you can more quickly go from your character page to in game server instead of having to wade through several pages to get there. The filters currently are pretty useless anyway as the game modes are correct but the ranked and whether the game is a respawn or one death type game is broken.
The game modes are a nice selection that SOCOM fans will be familiar with and date back to Counter Strike but there is still a good time tested base here that works. The only other problem I have is with the learning curve which there is either an incredibly steep one or none at all, whichever way you want to consider it. There is no tutorial or single player section in Confrontation so you have to sink or swim right out of the starting gate. In a game that is one death and you have to sit by the sidelines till that round is over, this can be a really frustrating time.
Given that the game descriptions in the servers do not work correctly, finding a game that actually has a respawn is making this title one for seasoned veterans of SOCOM or people who are just that desperate to play their new game. I found it incredibly hard to go through page after page of confirming I wanted to play, getting to a server and then playing for a minute only to be shot by someone who knew how to play.
Having to wait for the next round was the worst and it could be three to even six minutes before that round ended and you got the chance to go again. If you could easily get into servers that were correctly labeled or just filter through servers and quick start into one that was according to your filter settings that would help immensely.
Once in the games there is good news for those diehard enough to proceed, the game looks good and plays very well from a graphics and gameplay standpoint. The graphics are a bit muddled like the Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter series but very down to earth and realistic. Explosions look good with great effects and realistic sound and the weapons handle well and sound just like you would expect. The sound comes over your regular speaker system however you have that set up, while the chat comes over the Bluetooth headset if you use one.
The team based gaming is fun if you play it right and work either together or at least toward the same goal, you donít have to stay in a tight group but at least support the ones who are going into the thick of it. The gameplay works here in the variety of modes like a team deathmatch, escort or demolition which gives a good variety to the gaming. No matter what type of game you like there is plenty of modes for you to pick and choose, itís just that right now everything is not working so well. I would have to say besides the problems of getting online and having to wade through all the pages and confirm things the game is pretty good but things could have been better.
The maps are large and have plenty of junk, buildings and other stuff so you will have plenty of objects to hide behind, in and around. They also have some unique positional controls with the SIXAXIS controller where you can lean by tilting the controller in the direction you want.
Some of the really impressive parts are that and the fact that some weapons will actually behave like they do in real life, especially scoped ones. If you take an automatic weapon with a scope and continuously shoot while looking through the scope eventually you will reach a point where it is physically impossible to see through the scope while bullets are going that away. This little touch of realism means a lot for some just like the little leaning trick and can make a game just that much better. I have to say with some of the pluses and the major issues there is certainly plenty going for and against SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Confrontation.
Some of the issues I am sure will be fixed and others like lag and stuttering in game I have not mentioned until now but they should get fixed. Others like how quickly you can actually get into your game and be ready to pull the trigger may never get any better so you have to weigh this game carefully.
Purchasing it with the Bluetooth headset will at least give you the headset that works well and I am sure more features for it will be coming like drivers for PC use in the future. Otherwise, you have to decide for yourself just how badly you want to get into the latest SOCOM universe to play. I think this is definitely a game only hardcore SOCOM fans will appreciate or even tolerate.