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Initial Socom Beta Impessions

September 21, 2008

Gameplay

The gameplay is pretty solid in Socom. It isn’t your standard run and gun game so if you don’t change your style you’re going to die…a lot. I like that about 80% of the people online are already using the headsets. Once the game releases with the headset bundled in, you should see 95% of people using headsets.

The teamwork required in the game is really what makes Socom such a fun game. It really requires communication and planning to take out the enemy. Finding cover and strategic locations to fire from are key to life or death.

Online System

As Julian mentioned, the online features are where this game really struggles. The menu system is very slow. A new patch was recently released to speed up the time it took to join a match. This helped but it still takes longer than it should to get into a round. Also, once the match is over and it goes back to the lobby, there’s no way to get back to the main menu from here without quitting the game entirely and starting it again. Hopefully this is fixed in the full release.

Lag is a HUGE issue still, even after the patch. About every 15 secs or so your character will freeze for a second or two while moving. This desperately needs to get fixed before the release in a month.

Graphics/Audio

The graphics are a bit hit or miss. The environments look good overall, but lack detail up close. The character models don’t have much depth or detail, and for some reason it seems like all of the detail focus was put into the commandos, as the mercenaries look incredibly bland and boring.

The audio is pretty solid overall. The voice communication is very clear and I expect this to be improved with the release of the official Sony headset next month. The audio effects of the guns and explosions all sound very good.

Conclusion

Honestly, I don’t know what to think just yet. There’s parts I love about the game and there’s parts I’m less than impressed with. If it’s any consolation so far, the more I play the beta, the more I enjoy it. I’m hoping against hope that it’s similar to Warhawk where there’s just a very large learning curve that you need to get over to truly appreciate the game.

That really sums up my impressions so far with this game. It’s not a bad game but it’s not a mind-blowing game either. It has its’ issues and has its’ high points also. If the game were released as-is today, I would expect to see your major game reviewers giving it around a 7/10. However, there IS still one month to go until release, so let’s hope it gets polished up before this. Even with the issues worked out, I still don’t expect to see this game get any higher of a review score than an 8.0 out of 10. We’ll see what happens when all of the game features are released though, as again, this IS just a beta so I can’t be TOO hard on it.

On a related note, I also would not be surprised to see this game slip back another month to get the issues cleaned up. Quite frankly, I would not mind this as October is such a crammed month for game releases as it is. We’ll see what happens though, and let’s hope the final product turns out great.

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