SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Review
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Box Art
System: PS3
Dev: Zipper Interactive
Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: April 19, 2011
Players: 1-32
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p

There's a particular instance around halfway through the game where your squad is being attacked by pinpoint accurate bombardments from a docked stealth frigate. The only way to get close enough to the frigate to plant C4 on it was if I sent out teams a distraction, so from the protection of the only piece of centrally-located cover, I issued my orders, repeatedly. "No can do, sir," one of my team said. The sentiment was echoed in various other facets. Moving backwards and issuing the orders again did nothing. Either the AI was too stupid to realize that I wanted it to move to another position, or Zipper imbued my bot pals with an annoying sense of Darwinism. Either way, I had to move everyone together to the side following close behind me until I could once again tell them to draw the attention of the massive battery laying waste to the map (all this with plenty of enemy soldiers around, who are somehow never caught in the shock of the massive explosions hitting the battlefield as they continually assault your positions). This sort of occurrence is not infrequent, meaning you'll probably mostly abandon your ineffective teammate's skills to play the game like every other third-person shooter. And when you're willfully ignoring key design components, that's a big problem.

SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot

To break up the monotony of shooting bad guys repeatedly, the game occasionally throws you stealth missions in which you play a female covert operative. This is a nice idea, but once again, SOCOM more or less falls on its face here. The stealth itself works fine—in fact in order to keep up the pacing and difficulty, it's a little too easy. That's exactly the problem: enemies are so unbelievably brain dead it completely saps these segments of any sort of urgency or risk. It's probably no shock when I say that Metal Gear Solid 4 is the only stealth game this generation that even comes close to realism in both sneaking and AI, where more often than not you were quickly forced to abandon stealth entirely given the merciless way that if you so much as moved just a little too quickly behind a guard you were discovered. In SOCOM 4, enemies are so dumb they don't even hear you crawling in overgrowth two feet in front of them. And why do guards always muse to themselves out loud that it must just be their imagination? I guess the lowest-tier henchmen of every video game come from the same factory of defective morons.

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There are a few nice things about SOCOM. The shooting, for what it is, is mostly competent, and despite issues following commands, your AI teammates will actually make a dent in enemy numbers. The multiplayer modes add some fun mechanics, like bomb squad defusing, making this more interesting than the single player game. Bear McCreary's score is also actually pretty good, though it may lean a little heavily on a couple of musical motifs. And, because not every military shooter can be about WWIII with Russia or Korea, it's very refreshing to see a game where the heroes' primary objective is as comparatively mundane as protecting a vital shipping lane in East Asia. How's that for realism? Still, SOCOM 4 is mostly forgettable.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.8
Graphics
Not a stellar looking game, but SOCOM is certainly competent.
3.5
Control
Control is your standard third-person shooter scheme, though the AI often won't listen to your orders.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music and voice acting are good, though the sound mixing is way off.
2.3
Play Value
The problem with a game like SOCOM is that it can't fully commit to either its tactical roots or the more action-oriented demands of industry trends—the result is less interesting than the sum of its parts.
2.5
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Dynamic Command - expertly command the battlefield by utilizing squad tactics to flank and outmaneuver your enemy, designate hostile targets, and call in devastating airstrikes - all with dynamic, intuitive ease.
  • Become a Legend - fight a desperate six-day campaign through sprawling war-torn cities, dense jungles, and hostile villages.
  • Move into the Action - precision control over shooting, melee fighting, and commanding your squad, the PlayStation Move delivers the most immersive combat experience ever.
  • Squad Based Multiplayer - utilize team dynamics online with an all new 32-person multiplayer.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs - Debut Trailer - click to enlarge
    Debut Trailer
    SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs - Teaser with Commentary - click to enlarge
    Teaser with Commentary
    SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs - E3 2010: Trailer - click to enlarge
    E3 2010: Trailer
    SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs - Co-Op Gameplay Video  - click to enlarge
    Co-Op Gameplay Video
    SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs - Bomb Squad Trailer  - click to enlarge
    Bomb Squad Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Screenshot - click to enlarge

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