|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Slant Six||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: TEEN||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There is an assortment of squads that you can choose from, even selecting individual teammates. These choices are purely cosmetic, as they all play the same. Missions can be replayed as soon as you complete them. There are different ways to accomplish your objectives, so you can really get your money's worth by trying different strategies. The missions can be quite lengthy. Some can last over an hour. Another oversight is the lack of an in-game save. That's important for a portable system. There are checkpoints, but if you die, you'll have to start the mission from the beginning.
A moveable reticle lets you outline a path for your squad. This reticle is controlled by the nub. For the most part it's pretty easy to move around, but there are some tight spots that make it really frustrating. For one thing, the camera angles don't shift into any kind of reticle mode. Secondly, the reticle is fixed to the ground. If you have to go around obstacles, corners, or up or down stairways, you'll have another kind of fight on your hands trying to move the damn thing around. Keep in mind these camera angles also adversely affect the gameplay even when not using the movement reticle. You can't see around corners or obstacles, which leaves you open to a cheap enemy ambush. One that could be easily avoided with more controllable camera angles.
Multiplayer modes can be accessed locally or online. As I mentioned, there is some lag, but it doesn't kill the experience as it's intermittent. There are five modes which include the standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch in addition to VIP escort scenarios and Capture the Flag variations in which one team tries to destroy what the other team is defending. There's plenty of gunfire and explosions in these modes. Certainly more action than the single-player mode. Up to four players can participate, but you don't play as members of a particular squad, each player is in control of a four-member squad. So there's no getting rid of the stupid bots.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike is a great looking game. The environments are huge and extremely detailed with lots of destruction modeling and ambient background animation to add to the realism. It's so impressive that you can hardly fault the lengthy load times. Voice acting is good, if a little stoic, but it captures the emotionless essence of the story. Teammates are multilingual. They speak a variety of languages including Spanish and Korean. While impressive, it's a detail I could care less about. Just make these guys smarter. Who cares what language they speak? How do you say "dead" in Swahili?
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike is a good addition to the series, albeit one that needs some special consideration. It's the black sheep of the SOCOM family and is in need of some refinement. It's close to greatness, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
CCC Senior Writer