SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3

SOCOM returns to sweaty hands of PSP owners worldwide with U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3. Only a sequel could possibly get away with a title so long and laborious to type, but as I’ve never experienced SOCOM outside of the Playstation 2, I will be judging the game on its own merits as I experience it on the platform for the first time. Though this may be similar to the previous instalments, I was unaware that the title of the game would be longer than the game itself.

I’m a big advocate of single player games, especially when it comes to the handheld market. This is why I was thrilled to be enjoying a really satisfying, gun-toting single player action shooter… for 4 hours. I was stunned, I thought there were multiple campaigns which I just hadn’t discovered yet. As it turned out, that was the entire campaign. It was a fantastic experience while it lasted. The levels may have been simple and a little linear, but they provided enough action and variety to keep me soldiering my way onto the next group of enemies to slaughter. I wouldn’t expect a story to rival Shakespeare in a handheld shooter, and it would appear my cynicism is well placed as SOCOM equates to little more than ‘go here, shoot them, kill the boss’. Not bad in itself, but with very little plot to back-up a very short single player experience, it does feel lacking.

This left me with no choice but to delve into the depths of multiplayer, a mode I seldom venture towards in the handheld market. To my surprise though it turned out to be a worthwhile risk. The combat is amazingly smooth, and throughout my entire experience I never disconnected once. No mean feat as I was walking around my apartment deliberately to test the strength of the connection. There are a massive choice of maps, but they give five different modes to shoot your way through and kept me hooked well into the night. Much longer than the single player campaign took from me, to say the very least. The biggest problem being that without a WiFi access point you’re missing out on the most addictive part of SOCOM.

Which leads me right back to the single player issue. I don’t mean to flog a dead horse, but I buy my handheld games so that I can have them with me at all times where I need an instant gaming fix. The multiplayer offers a brilliant quick match option meaning you could finish a whole game between bus stops, but you can’t unless your bus stops happen to be between an unending line of McDonalds and Starbucks with very strong free WiFi access. I give very high praise to SOCOM for giving me a reason to flip that WiFi switch on to do something other than update, but I want to use my portable consoles on the move. As if they were, you know, portable. I know I may be shooting for the stars, but if the campaign had been the slightest bit longer and with more replay value other than unlocking multiplayer additions it may have swung me. As it stands, I’m left craving more, as I imagine many other players like myself would be.


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