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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Zipper Interactive

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 2006

 

 

- Online Play

- All SOCOM 3 Maps are back

- Instant Action mode adds some replayability to single player

 

 

- Plays quite similar to SOCOM 3

- Unbalanced AI

- Outdated Graphics

- Where are the map packs?

 

 

Review: SOCOM II (PS2)

Review: Rainbow Six Vegas (360)

Review: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (PS2)

 

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SOCOM: Combined Assault

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

It was a big surprise this year when Zipper Interactive and Sony announced the fourth and final SOCOM game for the PS2. Itís safe to say that a PS3 version of the game is currently in development and the latest installment should help keep SOCOM fans entertained till the PS3 version arrives.

 

socom combined assault            socom combined assault

 

Previous games in the series have never been strong on story and focused on several areas of operations. Combined Assault changes things a bit by introducing only one area of operation that takes place in the fictional country of Adjikistan. Fighting has broken out between paramilitary groups and government forces. Recent instability threatens US interests in the country. To protect its interests,

the US intervenes and sends the Navy Seals to assist the country fledgling government.

 

The single player consists of eighteen missions ranging from hostage rescue to search and destroy missions. The missions stay pretty true to previous games in the series. In each of the gameís missionís three Special Forces soldiers accompany you. Before each mission, you can choose weapon load outs for each of your soldiers. Choosing your soldiers weapons load outs would be more useful if the friendly AI could actually hit the broad side of a barn. Like SOCOM 3, the

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friendly AI is horrendous. They rarely prove helpful against the relentless enemy AI. Your best off instructing your SEALs to follow you throughout each mission rather than splitting up your team.

 

One of the new additions to the single player campaign is the ability to choose which order to do the missions. At any

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given time youíre given the ability to choose between two or three missions. The single player missions are less linear than previous games in the series. You can choose the best way to approach an objective, either through swimming, on foot or by using a vehicle (may not be available in all missions).

 

The single player campaign lasts about seven to ten hours depending on which difficulty your playing on. The best new feature of the offline play is the Instant Action mode. The Instant Action mode allows you to replay through all of the gameís missions with different scenarios. You can go back to a certain mission, choose a particular area of the mission and choose a certain kind of objective

 

If you go back and play through the single player missions on a higher difficulty level you can unlock new weapons and weapon attachments as well as badges. The PSP version of SOCOM (Fire Team Bravo 2) and Combined Assault feature a Cross Talk feature, which allows both games to be directly connected in the single player campaign. The outcome of a mission in the PSP version can directly affect a mission in Combined Assault. This feature was available last year with SOCOM 3 and the first PSP version of SOCOM, so itís nice to see this feature included once again.

 

The online play has remained unchanged for the most part. In fact, Combined Assault plays much more like an expansion pack than anything else. The only notable addition to the online play is the new Cooperative Mode, which allows you to join forces with three other people and play through each of the gameís eighteen missions. The Cooperative Mode is quite outstanding and the enemy AI is relentless, so teamwork is essential to victory. Itís still a bit disappointing to see no cooperative mode added to the offline play.

 

socom combined assault           socom combined assault

 

Aside from the new Coop mode, all the old modes are still present: team deathmatch, demolition, hostage rescue, escort, extraction, control and convoy. The online play once again supports up to 32 players and features 22 online maps. For the most part the game plays smooth with occasional instances of lag. There are some instances where you wonít be able to hear your teammates over the microphone, which can get extremely annoying and irritating during a close game. 

 

Earlier this year, Sony had announced that four map packs would be available throughout the year, each with maps from the first two SOCOM games. Since they were announced earlier this year, only one map pack has been released and Sony has went silent on the rest of the map packs. 

 

Visually, Combined Assault is not much of an improvement over its predecessor. Almost all the character models and weapons look identical to SOCOM 3. For some strange reason the blood has been removed from the game. It is now difficult to gauge exactly how much damage and whether or not youíve shot an enemy. Much like SOCOM 3, youíll run into some clipping issues. Characterís weapons will usually be visible through doors giving away their positions.

 

In terms of audio, Combined Assault stands out. All of the voice acting is excellent and all of the weapons sounds have been recycled from SOCOM 3, which wasnít much of a problem since SOCOM 3ís sound design was quite good. All of the gameís music follows the orchestral theme from previous games and the music bodes well with the story.

 

Combined Assault feels much more like an expansion pack than a full sequel. The single player game once again doesnít show much improvement, while the online play shines. Fans of the series should give Combined Assault a try, but donít be surprised if youíre a bit disappointed.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(January 23, 2007)

 

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