"ARGH!!! Possibly the worst shooter I've ever played."1.0 starson by LordChrondor
Pros: Battlefield-esque shooter... and I should be given sainthood and a wet rimj** for even saying that much.
Cons: NOT AT ALL LIKE ANY OF THE PREVIOUS GAMES IN THE SOCOM SERIES.
Honestly, I'm forced to question whether Zipper and Sony were trying to put an end to the SOCOM series by allowing the general public to play this game.
Summary: For starters, anyone who says this title is anything like its predecessors is A) flat out lying B) talking out their ass, or C) mentally handicapped to the point that they won't remember reading this review by the time they finish. To even hold this steaming pile of goat crap in comparison to the previous SOCOM titles (even Confrontation, which had no single player campaign mode) is an abomination to all Tactical Shooters, and maybe even video gaming as a whole. If you enjoyed the first 4 SOCOM platform releases (yes this is actually number 5, for those of you who haven't been keeping track), you will without a doubt despise this game and want to kick every nerd-ass S***stain from Zipper Ineractive squarely in their respective reproductive organs; thus saving their future children the embarrassment of having to know their parents were involved with the production of this game. How the **** over at sony could even contemplate releasing this title is frankly astonishing. It is clear to me, after playing through the single player campaign (which took all of maybe 4 hours) that absolutely no effort, care, or time was put behind creating this game.
Right off the bat, die-hard SOCOM-ers will notice that you no longer play the traditional Navy SEAL team leader, SPECTER. Instead you play a nameless psychopathic mercenary. Your team now consists, Wells (who looks unmistakably similar to the black dude from Gears of War), some Nazi f***, and two stranded Korean Spec Ops named 45 (right?), and (any Asians still reading this, you're about to get super pissed) Chung, the computer expert who is utterly useless in combat. (He will die at least once in literally every firefight). And you thought I was the racist one lol.
You will also notice that there is a completely new and awkward control system, never before seen in any previous title. Zooming in to the red dot sight is not only hard, but a good way to die as it is almost impossible to use. The "Tactical" command system has been reduced to the d-pad, a huge downgrade from the full-screen command menu of the original titles. This no longer allows you to instruct your team members as individuals, and only allows you to command them with walk, sprint, and shoot (the only time they will do the latter.) to further detract from the squad-based tactical controls that put the predecessors at the forefront, you can no longer edit the weapons and loads carried by your now expanded team, making their presence nothing more than an occasional diversion for your enemies to fire at (and only if you make them go stand in the middle of a firefight).
The single player campaign gameplay is asinine. Imagine everything you liked from the previous titles, now think of the polar opposite. That's SOCOM 4. It looks like Gears and Battlefield had butts**, producing a down syndrome, one leg-ed cripple. Now if that game got raped in the locker-room by the orangutan, and their illegitimate lovechild was simultaneously gangbanged by MAG and HALO, you would maybe have SOCOM 4. It's glitchy as all hell, with random deaths occurring almost every mission. This may have to do with the removal of tracked damage (aka a health bar) in favor of a COD style replenishing health. Not that it really matters that much because half your deaths occur while in "cover" behind concrete walls and barriers. Again in COD style, the classic grenade path used in all other SOCOM titles was replaced by a simple recital.
The Six-Axis leaning system from Confrontation, (that was, if nothing else cool) has been done away with too, giving you less control over your character in COD-esque firefights.
There is no replay-ability due to the linear gameplay and maps. There is one way to complete missions, and if you don't do it just the way they want, you will die. The "stealth" missions have been all but removed, save the 3 missions played as "45." Unfortunately, using your weapon on these solo missions results in instant death and failure.
Even if there were classic SOCOM stealth missions, they would be pointless because of the obvious lack of effort that went into the weapons, their customizations and load out screens. Instead of the wide range of actual weapons and customizations that have made the series what it was, you receive pre-determined, and for the most part useless, upgrades based on your effectiveness with each individual weapon. Confrontation owners will be confounded by the lack of customization available: a grand total of 4 sight attachments (all of which are useless at best). Other customizations such as silencers, fore grips, lasers, etc. are gone completely or only available on a select handful of weapons after completing the MOD requirements. Additionally, once the MOD has been unlocked the "upgrade" cannot be removed, giving the player almost zero freedom when customizing weapons.
Again, this all really has no bearing because all the weapons are primarily the same. All the "good" weapons are the same to shoot, and all the "bad" weapons are on an equal plane of sh****ness. There really is no variability in the weapons. Additionally, half the assault rifles are the aesthetically and technically identical even after unlocking the highest MOD. In fact, most of the weapon names, sounds, rates of fire, accuracy etc. were undoubtedly pulled out of the ***** of the good folks at zipper. I also doubt whether many of the weapons themselves even exist; or whether they are half-assed fantasies of those same techies. Either way, it is obvious that there was no collaboration with actual military servicemen; an added level of "realism" that has been par since at least the second title in the series. Honestly though, I don't blame them, I would be embarrassed to put my name behind the sack of crap as well.
As for online play, it too lacks the traditional SOCOM feel we all have come to know and love. The maps are small and designed to give little option for squad based play. Online gameplay heavily resembles a half-assed attempt at a third person Battlefield or COD. The multiple game lobbies have been removed, now using COD style joining which deploys you to a random game and map. Gone are the days of pistols, shotties, noob and sniper only rooms. To make matters worse, grenade lobbing can only be described as fierce. Fierce as f***. Borderline COD fierce.
While previous titles have boasted limitless weapon customizations, character creation (down to the characters' facial scars and features), clan creation etc. this game includes nothing. Your clan tag no longer has a customizable insignia, no color, no nothing. Simply 3 letters. Come on, I mean, COD even lets you customize a playercard, and clans aren't even one eighth as important in that online play.
Moral of the story here? if you want to play an excellent online, squad-based tactical shooter, go buy SOCOM Confrontation. It bends SOCOM 4 over and nuts all over the back of its head. If you want a great third person tactical shooter for its campaign play, go buy a PS2 and any of the first 3 from this series. I still enjoy them to this day; I wish I could say the same for SOCOM 4. Most of all, if you want to play COD, well go play COD. It almost seems like SOCOM 4 is s****y, half-hearted, mainstream, third person COD/Battlefield knock-off; and a **** poor attempt to keep the SOCOM series alive. At this point, I only hope the series can recover from this self-inflicted gunshot wound to the heart. SHAME ON YOU ZIPPER!!!!!!