Score: 7/10

Socom 4 is the latest game to hit the market from the developers Zipper Interactive, the developers previous outings include the cult favorite Crimson Skies, MAG and many other Socom games as well. There’s no doubt that Zipper have a following behind them that almost makes their games critic proof… almost.

Socom 4 is a regionalized game hence the two different titles. In the U.S the characters have American accents, the PAL version has British accents (some terrible ones at that) and The Australians have been treated to accents for their region as well. This seems like a very nice touch to the game, it could have been better implemented though as two of the characters in the UK version have horrendous accents.

Socom 4 is a third person squad based shooter, where you have a team of four other men/women to tag along with you to help in the carnage of the battle. As the player you will control Cullen Grey the commanding officer of the group. Your team is stuck in an unnamed Asian country (somewhere in Malacca) where there is a coup d’etat and your team is left stranded on the island with no help from the outside world. Your job is to lead your mean to engage in a gorilla style warfare against the rebels. The game has very little plot other than 5 men take down an army and meet a lot of scowling characters along the way. Not saying it’s bad but don’t expect anything beyond the lines of “The Expendables” film.

The games squad based maneuvers are in direct contrast to that of Operation Flashpoint: Red River, a game that came out the same day. They’re simple and easy to use. Everything is done using the D-pad, you can give orders to move to a point for the two squads and you can mark targets for them so they can attack at the same time. Meaning the satisfying rush you get from a successful ambush is simple to achieve. Your ambush attempts will only fail because of your own incompetence and enemy skill as opposed to you fumbling for the correct button.

If you want to get the most from Socom though you will have to play it on hard mode as anything bellow that will result in you running and gunning your way through the levels. So if you’re of the more strategic mind you’ll find a nice challenge in the hard mode. It is a  fun game and you can’t expect every game to be of the Portal 2 calibre, but this is a great way to switch off and be an action hero for half hour intervals at a time.

It’s not all squad based action from beginning to end though, you will find yourself engaged in some stealth missions as “Forty-Five” the groups reconnaissance specialist. You are given a stealth meter to tell how well you are hidden and this seems to work well within the game overall. Unfortunately, you will find moments in the game where the enemy seems to spot you from some impossible angle it’s the curse of most stealth sections in games that are mainly action.

The games sound is strange affair, guns sound punchy and a shotgun blast with surround sound might make you feel warm and fuzzy but grenades just sound like a party popper going off nearby, it sounds remarkably like the same soundbite as MAG’s grenades. The voice acting ranges from good to terrible as previously mentioned. The lead Cullen is a good, however his two old friends had the worst English accents I’ve heard in a long time, if I was from Newcastle I might even have been offended by one of them.

The game’s music was functional but it never caught my attention, yes, it keeps you rolling between gun fights but don’t expect to find yourself rushing to I-tunes to purchase the soundtrack. It is a nice blend of the orient and western orchestral scores but as said nothing too ground breaking.

However, this is a Sony backed game so you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just a tech demo. I can’t help but feel Zipper were forced to add Move compatibility and the 3D just so Sony could slap it on adverts. It’s not a bad thing entirely but to play the game with Move was awkward and frustrating and it would take years of practice to be better than a player with an analogue control. As far as the 3D goes, having only seen it for half and hour with the 3D on you wont be missing much if like the rest of us you have a normal tv.

The online is where you’ll be spending most of your time on Socom. It has well implemented online play and you can have your fast a furious matches against other people or you can do the slower classic modes similar to Counter Strike, meaning no re-spawns in the round, which adds a more strategic twist to the online play.

As the series has gone on it’s become one of the better shooters but at the end of the day it’s another realistic shooter in an over saturated market and one can’t help feeling you wont get anything from this game that you wont get from Brink, COD, Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Resistance, Halo… and the list goes on and on and on….