SOCOM (Special Operations Command), the head of all special operations done by the US military. Navy SEALs, (Sea, Air and Land) are super-elite special ops soldiers, trained individually to the maximum potential of any person's self. And now SOCOM 2 has arrived, the 2nd hitter of the SOCOM Navy SEALs franchise (and real SOCOM). Last year, SOCOM 1 was released, and hit the online and tactical world by storm. Pitting SEAL teams against Terrorist teams in battles for hostages, explosives, and elimination.
The wartime of a SEAL is supposed to be silent and deadly, but in most cases, nor you or your team-mates will hug the grass much. Singleplayer begins when the Sesseri terrorist group has stockpiled weaponry, and taken over parts of Algeria, and then a much bigger terrorist organization takes over Brazil and is actually a “big brother” group to the Sesseri. So forth the game continues to Albania and Russia, where this group takes over a dam, sells Cocaine, and in Russia – plans a nuclear strike. Whilst completing all of these dangerous tasks, there are hidden objectives within the levels that give extra credit, and also help out in future areas, such as bomb schematics which will allow you to disarm it faster.
Running and shooting is handled normally, and can be adjusted to your exact needs in the Options. You are always behind your main character, and can zoom up to 24X with a sniper rifle - although there is a crosshair on the screen at all times. You can also crouch or go prone, and sneak around a bit, which also helps massively when in bushes. Speaking of bushes, they are in EVERY map, Single and Multiplayer. Always for you to hide in, and they do well as a cover for snipers.
The Element of Surprise is a valuable ally. Such as: keeping a keen eye and sense out will allow you to drop behind an enemy and nail him in the back. Skillful players like this will get higher grades and statistics, and therefore be rewarded. In Single-Player, you get graded from A to F based on how well you've handled your mission. This forces players who want to get an A make use of their team-mates a lot, use extreme stealthy measures, and grape-shot a lot. Single-Play also rewards people who beat the game, for there is an Extras option in the menu. This option has around 20+ music tracks, a movie of concept art, 4 sets of weapons and 2 special weapons, and 8 special skins to use online. I was able to unlock about 80% of the skins because I had to go a few days without a network adapter, but it turned out good in the end, when I ended up getting people to ask me how the heck I got them.
Gameplay is a mix of fast and slow paced tactical action (depending on how you play), because you can either try more to sneak around and snipe people, or just rush in and kill all the baddies (and possibly die in the process). SOCOM 2 is addicting either way, and I actually felt proud of myself when I beat the campaign.
The sounds of war are still loud (or sometimes silent), and have improved much over the last game. Gunshots in the distance fade away the farther you go from the direction they're coming from, silenced weapons still sound super-elite with the "PUTE PUTE" sound, and high-caliber sniper rifles are still explosive. Grenades are the loudest of all, and even give the ringing effect when one comes too close to your ear. Also, the music that is unlocked by beating the game on Medium and Hard is also very sweet; a different mix of tunes to dance to.
Much improved over the last SOCOM, and definitely look more detailed. Characters have more detailed faces, and greenery looks awesome. In SP (Single-Player), you can notice the fall-time with colored leaves and the dark red of trees, which is a nice little touch. The bushes, already mentioned earlier, look great in themselves, and really do much more just with this new look. Each map is set in a particular terrain (usually Snow, Desert, Urban Desert, or Jungle). As SEALS and Terrorists try to blend in with these terrains, each team in Multiplayer gets detailed camoflauge on each of the characters.
This is the heart, a kind of CounterStrike, for the PS2. Massive amounts of players are on at all times, from 8,000 to 40,000 – there is always at least a couple thousand people playing. From my experience, about 60% of the average gamers are really nice people, including my own clan. Online play has been upgraded with a better Netcode, many new options for clans and friends alike, and plenty of new maps to assassinate the many people online. Multiplayer has large support for the Headset (provided by SOCOM 1 or Sony/Logitech) where players and clanmates can interact socially with other people easily. This is where real strategy comes into play. Also included with extra options, is 2 new game modes : Escort and Breach. In Escort, the SEALs have to lead the VIPs to an extraction point, which terrorists guard (and try to assasinate the VIPs). Breach on the other hand, is where SEALs assault the Terrorists' base, by destroying multiple walls and planting a bomb inside the enemies' base. These two new game modes provide a refreshing taste of action.
From all of my experience in my 30+ hours playing SOCOM 2 online, I have encountered at least a hundred different clans (of up to 4,000+), each of which communicates commonly to relay enemy positions and ask for covering fire. My own clan, Ãƒ†(After Effect) is an extremely nice and worthy clan. Each of my 'mates relay constantly, and provide nice chatter while in battle, while still providing tactical know-how and butt-kicking. All of these updates that the game developers added (After much response from the peoples) greatly benefit the occasional player, or the fanatic clan-leader. Although, beware, you need a SONY online adapter, plus this game is (so far) only for Broadband.
In all of the commotion playing SOCOM 2 online, I ended up missing my due date for this review – thats how good it is (Haha, you're fired! - Editor).
An excellent addition to the SOCOM franchise (Franchise, not Special Operations Command – although they've provided a lot of info to the devs.) and worthy of 50$. A top pick by me and my fellow clanmates (who are addicted to it).
SPECIAL NOTE: SOCOM 2 has Hard-Drive support, for the PS2 HDD is coming out in March. This will provide players with downloadable maps, modes, models, and more.
NOTE TO PARENTS: I do not recommend letting younger people under the age of 13 to play online, for a large percentage of the people use vulgar language.
SIDE NOTE: To contact me for a game, add Rhett to your friends list, and we'll set it up.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stop writing so many notes! - Editor