SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALS
is the latest installment of the classic console shooter. In it, you lead two squads of two Navy SEALS, each on missions to thwart evil in the world. What set these games apart the most from their competitors is the integration of voice commands, both for online and offline play. While this gimmick was enough to garner quite a bit of interest in the previous two games, it seems like old news here in the third one, as these features are supported only by new maps and a lackluster single player experience.
The Single Player Campaign is a dreary sequence of boring missions. The themes vary between each mission: escort, search and destroy, assault, and even stealth. However, the core of each mission stays the same, and that is to go from waypoint to waypoint and kill everything in between. The ways you can go about doing this are misleading, as the game tries to give you a sense of open endedness. However, you are practically given orders by your intelligence crew as to what to do, effectively taking the decision making out of your hands.
There is the option of trying to go about completing missions in different ways. If you embark on this endeavor, you will quickly realize that there is nothing simpler or faster than just running through the level with your guns blazing. And while you can alter the gear of your four SEALs at the beginning of each mission, there isnít ever really a benefit of doing so. It is up to you to pick the weapon you think is right for the mission, and invariably it ends up being the biggest and loudest one.
You are not alone through these missions, and this is a slightly redeeming quality of the SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALSís Campaign. The four SEALS are split up into two teams, with you as the leader of one of them. You can give your team commands either through an in-game interface, or through a USB headset. Though at first it seems that this feature will add a grand new dynamic to the game, it becomes almost obsolete due to the poor AI, as well as the fact that you can take on the enemies almost single-handedly.
Vehicles have been added to SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALS to emphasize the vastness of the new maps. While they are fun to drive around in and shoot people with, they donít quite serve the purpose that they were intended for. Most can be horribly abused to get around sticky situations where other tactics were intended (sneaking into fortified compounds is no problem when you kill everyone before hand with a truck mounted .50 cal). Also, vehicles are unrealistically blocked off from certain areas that the developers didnít want to allow them in. A small fence is enough to thwart the advance of a tracked vehicle with a cannon. These flaws not only ruin the illusion of reality, but make the game much less fun.
The biggest selling point of the game is its Multiplayer capabilities. In this version of the game, up to 32 people can battle it out online in seven very different types of missions. This is where the fast-paced, unrealistic character of the game shines, as well as the voice capabilities. The online interface is also well done, allowing players to easily tap into the useful resources of SOCOM 3.