Platform: Online Only
To be released 09/16/08
Players: Up to 32
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Slant Six Games
ESRB Rating: M
Being a huge fan of the original SOCOM and SOCOM II, I was ecstatic to hear that new developer Slant Six (maker of PSP title SOCOM: Tactical Strike) is focusing on a close-quarters, tactical combat gameplay for upcoming online shooter, SOCOM: Confrontation. This sort of realistic gameplay made the earlier titles two of the most popular online PS2 games, with a strong online community behind them as well. With help of original developer Zipper Interactive, Slant Six Games is determined to focus on what gamers enjoyed from the first two games and learn from what gamers didn’t like from SOCOM III and SOCOM: Combined Assault, like vehicles and massive-scale maps. New features such as enhanced clan customizations, Sixaxis controls, six unique special forces and seven maps at launch, make September seem so long away. With a complete overhaul of the game and a huge leap forward in technology with the PS3, SOCOM: Confrontation is looking like the next-gen SOCOM experience we’ve all been waiting for.
With strictly online gameplay and lack of a single-player campaign, there isn’t a story to SOCOM: Confrontation; well, at least not much of one. However, players will have the ability to envision their own story with the option to play as six different special forces (and more to come), such as U.S. Navy Seals and U.K. Special Air Forces, when they join a clan. Speaking of clans, Slant Six is introducing many new features aimed at supporting and strengthening the Confrontation community, particularly clan and group play. For example, every player begins the game with two characters: a commando and a mercenary. Both characters can be customized with different weapons, outfits and gear. But to really expand on your characters, you’ll have to join a clan to become a special force.
Having special forces allows for different customizable equipment items such as camo patterns, different helmets, and of course, unique weapons for each particular special force. Clan leaders will be able to choose which special force the clan will be and will have access to clan customization to make your clan look like an actual team. Clan management will also be improved with the launch of socom.com. Clans will be able to make changes to schedules and rosters, exchange info with clan members and even scout new recruits. There will be an in-depth stat tracking system that will keep all players’ stats from ranked matches logged, which will be helpful when trying to recruit for clans. More importantly, Confrontation introduces a party system that allows groups to move from game to game and with open-mic chat in the lobby and during matches.
SOCOM III changed aspects of gameplay with the addition of vehicles and massive-scale maps, among other things, but the goal for SOCOM: Confrontation is a return to the classic SOCOM experience. Although Confrontation supports 32 players like III, vehicles are gone and more close-quarter combat will be focused on. Each of the seven available maps at launch will also offer a smaller 16-player version that will keep combat at close-quarters. But how about getting around in those huge 32-player version maps, you ask? Instead of using vehicles, Confrontation is introducing the ability to run and to keep on running. Keeping the game on foot, Slant Six thought it would be a wise idea to give players the ability to run all they want throughout the map, but not without some repercussions. When running, you won’t be able to shoot, and once you stop running, your accuracy will be poor, thus making it extremely important to not always run around every corner.
One of the bigger changes in gameplay for Confrontation, is the ability to use the Sixaxis controls to lean in and out of cover. While hiding in cover, you’ll just tilt the Sixaxis controller to the left or to the right for an accurate glance around your cover.
Out of the seven maps planned for launch, only two have been revealed: Crossroads (a SOCOM II favorite) and Urban Wasteland. Other than making a bigger 32-player version, Crossroads looks a lot like the original map, involving mainly tight spaces and tons of cover. Why all the cover? Well, the move to the PS3 has given SOCOM players the ability to finally see the whole battlefield with enhanced view distance. With a clear-cut view of the playing field, snipers will have an extremely big part in the game, but without dominating the game. The other map, Urban Wasteland, features many multilevel buildings, rooftop areas and the reliability on quick movements and running across wider streets for cover.
Because the game is still in early development, I was surprised at how well the environments, buildings and objects looked in the Crossroads map. I’m pretty sure there is still a need for some tweaking to get the game looking smoother and better. Of the clips I looked at, the characters and weapons looked really detailed and I can only imagine what they will look like in the final version. And with 7.1 surround sound support, the sounds of the game will allow for an easier time to locate gunfire and to hear enemy movement near your player.
Even though a few months away, SOCOM: Confrontation is already looking like it’s going to be a very beautiful, detailed and thrilling game.
With a few more months to polish things up, SOCOM: Confrontation should be on the radar for every SOCOM fan and any PS3 owner looking for a promising online shooter.