Socom: Confrontation Review
Socom: Confrontation is the next-gen entry of the Socom franchise on the PS3. The game is now an online-only entry, similar to Warhawk. The series, originally developed by Zipper, was handed off to Slant Six. From here, things have gone absoultely horribly wrong.
Note: This review takes place from the 1.30 patch.
Before I begin the review, let me give you some backstory here. Back in September, I was invited into the Socom beta. The beta suffered from issue after issue ranging from lag to connection issues, to game freezes, and more. With one month left until release, I asked myself how could this possibly be ready for launch? Well, I’m not sure if /6 forgot to ask themselves that question, or if Sony forced their hand to launch their bluetooth headset bundle, but boy did they really screw up this franchise.
Stealth and teamwork have been the staple of the Socom franchise from its’ beginning and that doesn’t change here. If you aren’t communicating with your teammates, you’re going to die. If you think you can be a lone ranger and run off on your own, you’re going to die a lot.
The maps are excellent in Socom. They are designed with teamwork and stealth in mind. When communicating with teammates, it’s very easy to set up lookout points and have your bases covered. It’s a very rewarding experience when you can work with a team and accomplish a mission such as rescuing a hostage.
After the 1.30 patch, the controls have been streamlined quite a bit. It is now much easier to select weapons and grenades. However, the controls still need some tweaking. The control layouts map your zoom in/out buttons to the up-down d-pad controls. This makes zooming in/out very awkward if trying to zoom for accuracy in a firefight. I suppose it’s a bit more realistic but it feels outdated with today’s modern shooters. There is also now an option to disable Sixaxis and use the d-pad to lean around corners. This works much better and doesn’t feel awkward like the Sixaxis did. Overall, the controls could still use some updating as many basic functions can be awkward.
One other important note is that unfortunately Socom lacks a “ranking” system when getting into matches. This means you go in and select a room to play in and whoever is in there is who you play with/against. This is fine in a FPS where you can learn the ropes quickly, but NOT in Socom. There is a hardcore following for this game and there are clans and players who could mop the floor with you all day long in this game. This makes it very tough for the casual Socom fan to get into this game. I really wish there was a ranking system or a “noob” room for us casual Socom fans to get adjusted better and learn the maps.
The graphics aren’t bad for an online game featuring up to 32 players but it’s not the easiest game on the eyes either. There isn’t a ton of detail in most textures or environments. Character detail isn’t so bad but again, the environments can be grainy at times. While it’s certainly better looking than the PS2 versions, it doesn’t quite feel next-gen in the graphics department.
The audio is another story. The sound effects are done remarkably well and surround sound works very well. Explosions and gunfire sound realistic and the voice-chat is near static/noise-free. The official Playstation Bluetooth Headset works extremely well in this game and it’s obvious that special attention was paid to voice chat.
While originially left out at launch, 1.30 brought with it trophy support for Socom. The trophies are designed for the hardcore audience that will be playing it frequently and for extended periods of time. The trophies remind me somewhat of Warhawk to where the average person isn’t going to obtain very many of the trophies.
Despite a public beta to address issues Socom: Confrontation launched as a half-finished game. The 1.30 patch which fixed a majority of the issues didn’t launch until January of 2009, a full 3 months after the game. To me, this is absolutely unacceptable. The game should have been delayed to iron out the myriad of problems with the game.
Even after the 1.30 patch, many issues still exist. Stats are not always saved and cannot always be retrieved. Lag is still very prevalent, ruining many firefights. Connection issues are still there, preventing you from joining games. There are still Clan issues. Even features advertised in the box have still not made their way into Socom, such as Clan-Ladder tournaments.
While the game is certainly more playable than when it launched, it is still tough to get into stable matches and this just really takes away from the game. When you CAN get into a match, the game is extremely fun and satisfying, even though I’m terrible. However, getting into a stable game seems to be a rare feat.
It’s hard to recommend Socom: Confrontation when it still feels like an incomplete game. I got it as part of the bluetooth headset bundle so it was only $10 more, but I still feel ripped off. It’s completely unacceptable that the game launched in the terrible condition that it did, and it has tarnished the Socom name. 3 months after the games’ release, it’s still tough to play and get into matches and lag isn’t much better than Day 1. For an online-only game, this just can’t be tolerated.
Like I said above. The game really is fun when you can get into good matches, but I now ask, is it really worth the effort? I honestly don’t think it is. I’m not sure whether I should trade my copy in or just keep waiting for the game to get patched to Version 7.50, when maybe by that point the game will be working properly. However, with so many other quality titles and shooters coming out this year, starting with Killzone 2, am I even going to want to pick up a broken/incomplete game? The answer to that is most likely not.
It’s a shame that this game wasn’t delayed into 2009 to fix the problems with it. Had it launched with the changes seen in 1.30, I can honestly say the game wouldn’t be so bad, but it took 3 months to get to where it is now, and who knows how much longer until it is working properly. This entry into the Socom franchise has completely smeared the Socom name and you’re only going to find the hardest of the hardcore Socom fans playing this one online.