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SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs (PlayStation 2) artwork

SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs (PlayStation 2) review

"How can I write a review for a game that Iíve spent over 3,000 hours playing in the span of nearly two and a half years? How I write a review for a game that I know inside out and probably much better than the developers? Well, I tell you how freaking good it is, thatís how. "

How can I write a review for a game that Iíve spent over 3,000 hours playing in the span of nearly two and a half years? How I write a review for a game that I know inside out and probably much better than the developers? Well, I tell you how freaking good it is, thatís how.

Socom 1 was a massive hit. It was a great game both online and off. So I was really excited when I first got this game almost two years ago. I have been constantly playing it since its release date, and itís still as good as it was on the first day I played it.

Many reviews Iíve seen say that Socom 2 doesnít really bring anything thatís new to the table. Thatís correct, but since when do games get graded on innovation? Donít people love Halo although it is the same rehashed sci-fi FPS?

After playing more than 3,000 hours on this game, I can tell you this is, without question, the best online game ever made- console or PC. Why is that? Itís hard to explain to noobs (Socom slang). Itís just that after you become a Socom veteran, you donít really feel like playing anything else. This game simply grows on you like none other. Those reviews on Game Informer and other magazines are reviews done on first impressions. To truly appreciate Socom U.S. Navy Seals, you must play it online for a while. But I am getting ahead of myself.

This game is the most realistic squad based shooter out there. Though the single player game is a little too short and at times a little dry, it does challenge you. You canít just run into an open area trying to shoot every bad guy as you see them. You actually have to use intelligence and stealth to complete your objectives.

In the meantime, you have three teammates that help you along the way. They have tweaked the teammate AI since Socom 1 and it shows. Though they donít obey your orders 100% of the time, they do a much better job of holding positions, moving to targets, and even setting bombs.

Enemies in the single player do still need a little work. They arenít the sharpest tools in the shed. Enemies sometimes run around aimlessly, duck and call out in weird foreign languages, and do other things that make them too computerized. But sometimes, enemies will threaten you realistically, will surrender if hit with a flashbang, and even die realistically.

I donít like the new health bar, the original Socom worked much better. It had a green dot for doing well, yellow for injured and red for dead. With the health bar it feels like you can get hit several times and still survive. The dots were better indications of health and just overall a better system.

But other than a few minor complaints the overall gameplay in the single player is great.

The graphics arenít anything that will blow you away, but they arenít a weakness either. Player models are done pretty well and they donít look as choppy as some other games like the entire Rainbow Six series. Backgrounds are nice and pretty, and maps are perfect size. Socom 3 maps are too big, and it takes too long finding your enemies.

The sound also helps to create a very atmospheric game. Though it may not be as good as some World War II games, the sound effects are sharp, crisp and accurate. In the game youíll experience explosions, guns, enemy chatter and your own teammates that all blend in to make the game feel more authentic.

Letís get to the main point Ė onlone play. This is where the meat of the game is and where most players will spend hundreds, if not thousands of hours on. Socom had a great game interface. Socom 2 builds on that success to create the greatest online game ever- Any system, or PC. I am not exaggerating and Iím not a fanboy.

The Friends list is easy to use and you can find friends almost immediately. Their is just no feeling like going on at 12am to play some Socom and finding a group of friends that ask you to do an all-nighter. So, you find yourself playing until five in the morning.

Clans are just so fun to join- if you join a good one. If you have no social life, Socom 2 will make you new friends. During my two years as a Socom addict I made friendships and had a great time just sitting in the lobby socializing. Most players grow together with the game and stick together as a family. This may sound a bit-cheesy, but this game will honestly change the way you think about games and life and general. I have played a lot of games online, on the PC, Xbox Live and Ps2, but in none of them do you make unbreakable bonds with teammates as you do in Socom. Very few games I have played have even come close to making me feel the same way.

There are also individual reasons to play. You get your own ranking and a lot of stats on how you play. Socom 2 just makes you feel like you are somebody when playing online. Checking to see how many total kills and how many headshots you have is just an exhilarating experience. Most other reviewers donít consider this aspect of the game, but I believe itís vastly underrated.

The gameplay online is also solid. You can play unranked respawn games that help you warm up or practice on weapons you donít normally use. Ranked games are even more fun as you work to impress others, make your stats look good, and win games. But the best thing is getting together to play clan wars, which always involve some form of ďdissingĒ the other team. All in all, if you invest your time and money into this game, youíll receive an experience unlike any other.

The only negatives of online play are the lag(which are not helped by some peopleís terrible connection) and some glitches that players might exploit to cheat. But the game developers have done a great job by releasing patches that stop these glitches from being further exploited. For example, there was a place on one map where you could ďT-boneĒ (or push someone into a wall) someone under a huge set of stairs. The player inside the stairs would be invisible to players on the other side and would have clean shots at them as they pass by. But just when the secret was getting out, a maintenance person came in and the next day, nothing. No glitch.

If you have online capability, this game will be worth hundreds if not thousands of online hours. If you donít have online capability, I feel sorry for you. Just go out and connect to the internet. Trust me, youíll love it. Even if you donít have online capability you might want to go out and purchase this game as a greatest hits for $20.

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Community review by enders_shadow16 (February 09, 2006)

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