SOCOM: Special Forces is the latest third person shooter in a series that has spanned the last eight years. Diehard fans of the SOCOM series waiting on tenterhooks for this new title may be disappointed however, as this game has taken some steps away from its roots and introduced some new styles of gameplay. If you can move past the comparisons of the old greats of the series though, and take this as a new entity unto itself you will swiftly find yourself immersed in the beautifully created South Asia.
The campaign of SOCOM: Special Forces will thrust you into a South Asian country invaded by a ruthless revolutionary army. As the country in question borders an important waterway for the rest of the world it seems the global economy is at threat (more so…). Enter you and the elite five man team under your command. Your job is to restore peace in this war-torn region as you infiltrate the country, take on the revolutionary forces and even start to get to the bottom of the motive behind this invasion.
You’ll face the jungle and the city in your mission to save the day, as well as the realisation that the well-armed insurgents surrounding your whereabouts seriously outnumber your small team.
Your gameplay experience in SOCOM: Special Forces will depend, in part, what method of control you choose to take advantage of. This is a game that does support the PlayStation Move, and one that supports it well! The controllers are comfortable to use and feel remarkably intuitive in this, one of the first shooter games to take advantage of the technology. It may take you a few minutes to get to grips with this different method of control if you are used to playing your shooters with the dual-shock controller, but it really is worth the transition for such a sense of incredible coordination with your PS3.
The 14 missions that make up the campaign in this title progress from easy to a more difficult skill level, however even at the game’s hardest there isn’t too much of a challenge here. You are likely to find the campaign completed within a handful of hours and, although there are a few extras such as the opportunity to upgrade your weapons by using more of the enemy’s arsenal, there may not be much to bring you back to the campaign.
Fortunately the multiplayer functionality of Special Forces is something to enjoy for many hours after the campaign is done and dusted and the world set to rights. The competitive online multiplayer can feature up to 32 players and includes four different modes to keep you entertained.
Although some of the graphical elements in this game leave something to be desired (look out for entertaining and unrealistic facial animations), the game on the whole looks nice and polished. Special Forces seems to fall between the realms of realism and ‘game’ but pulls it off surprisingly well. This could be due to the sheer level of detail that can be found within the created world. Even though the majority of the play is found within urban and war-torn landscapes, the developers have done well at including more than enough detail to keep things feeling natural and immersive.
This may be a game unlike its predecessors, but with ultra-smooth gameplay, an interesting campaign and extensive multiplayer online play you shouldn’t miss the old games too much! Although the A.I. isn’t going to win any awards for its intelligence, and the campaign may not challenge you in the way that some other titles in the genre do, SOCOM: Special Forces is still definitely worth playing.