Within two years of the PSP's launch in 2005, the first two SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo games set the standard for tactical shooter action on the system with great controls and lengthy, diverse missions. After a three-year hiatus, the Fireteam Bravo series is back, but the once-impressive action has lost its luster. The tactical edge has been dulled by regenerating health and limited mission objectives, and as a result, the sturdy campaign doesn't pack much of a punch. Taking advantage of the new four-player cooperative mode makes the not-very-challenging missions even easier, and ratcheting up the difficulty level is the only way to prevent a one-sided massacre. The extensive and customizable armory is still a highlight, and wielding your favorite weapon in 16-player online matches has lasting appeal. But though the multiplayer still has some kick and the core action is technically solid, Fireteam Bravo 3 never really does anything to grab your interest and ends up feeling like a deflated, merely functional echo of its predecessors.
6250201NoneThe SEALs are serious about the subway depot being for maintenance personnel only.
The campaign chronicles a new mission for the SEALs that takes them into the fictional republic of Koratvia where they are investigating a potential terrorist threat. The voice acting is good and the cutscenes are decent, but unfortunately, the characters and the story are dull and cliched. When you take on a quick snatch-and-grab mission, there's no doubt in your mind that things won't go as planned, and every subsequent plot development is as predictable and uninteresting as the last. Fireteam Bravo 3 doesn't give you a story worth caring about, so each mission feels like you are just going through the motions.
The eight campaign missions take place across the gray, snowy, Eastern Bloc environs of Koratvia. Though the levels are often drab, each map is large and features a diverse array of enemy encounters. You infiltrate buildings, sneak through narrow streets, traverse snowy outposts, and engage in heated urban firefights. Yet despite the environmental diversity, your mission objectives are all very straightforward. You accomplish primary objectives simply by moving through the linear levels and killing enemies. Most secondary objectives just involve poking your head in every room and down every alley, looking for intel or targets of opportunity. The only time you actually have to vary your tactic of go-there-shoot-them is when you are challenged to maintain stealth through a certain area. Using silenced weapons doesn't guarantee stealthiness, and sneaking up to perform a stealth kill takes patience. These objectives present a welcome change of pace, and quietly completing them is quite enjoyable.
Swap your gun for a basketball, and you've got the makings of a great alley-oop.
Most of your engagements are loud firefights, however, and clearing an area of enemies is inherently satisfying. Like previous games in the series, Fireteam Bravo 3 uses a lock-on mechanic to handle aiming. You press the R button to target the nearest enemy and tap L to switch targets. Each weapon has certain attributes, including range, which determines the distance at which you can target an enemy. This requires some consideration (you won't be able to target an enemy across a large courtyard with a shotgun), but the suggested loadout will almost always outfit you with an assault rifle, ensuring that your enemies are almost always in range. Running into an area with guns blazing can be dangerous, but if you shoot from doorways, duck behind cover, and minimize your exposure to enemy fire, you won't have much trouble dispatching your enemies. Unless you get cocky or turn up the difficulty, Fireteam Bravo 3 is not a particularly challenging game. While you can't just run and gun, the game doesn't feel like a tactical shooter. If your health gets low, you merely duck out of your enemy's sightlines and wait for it to regenerate. There is no urgency and no tension, which leaves the action feeling flat.