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March 2, 2006
SOCOM III - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
27/4/2006SonyZipper Interactive1, 32 $99.95 stand alone
$129.95 with mics

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Battle in the city.
When it comes to online games on PS2 few games come close to the quality or fanbase of Sony's SOCOM: US Navy Seal's titles. The first SOCOM launched online gaming in Australia in July 2003 - some 11 months after its initial US launch. Still it was a great, if slightly flawed game. The sequel expanded upon and improved on the orginal considerbly but for some reason never quite took of in such a big way. As the Playstation 2 nears the end of its life Zipper Interactive are preparing what is almost certain to be the final game in the series with a PSP version confirmed and a PS3 version rumoured to be released quite early in the new consoles life.

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One of the Morocco missions.
The missions are to take place in locations such as Morocco, Poland and Bangladesh - although references to Bangladesh have now been removed from the game after the country complained about their inclusion! SOCOM III isn't just a series of new missions - far from it in fact. The developers at Zipper Interactive are adding in many new, and impressive features, including improved AI, a weapon attachment system, much larger maps and vehicles to operate among other things.

The AI of CPU controlled enemies was always solid in the SOCOM titles, but never great - especially after playing a few matches against human controlled players. For this third game the developers have focused on improving the teamwork AI with your teammates now focused on assisting you even more while enemies will now work much more coherantly.

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Using the SSCR Assault Boat.
Communicating with your AI-controlled team will be altered a bit--the game will now give you a context-sensitive button that will command your team to move to a specific location, breach a door, and so on. Another of the new abilities is for the soldiers to swim. Swimming underwater will keep you hidden from enemies but it will be impossible to fire your weapons while underwater, and even while treading water.

The game includes 31 weapons to choose from and 21 different attachments, making for more than a thousand possibilities. Not only will you have pistols, submachine guns, grenades and rifles at your disposal but the ability to add attachments such as scopes, suppressors, grenade launchers, pistol grips, lasers, and flashlights will allow gamers to create their perfect weapon for use through the game. One of the trade offs for these modifications, and indeed the weapon being used, is that they have different weights, and will affect the performance of your soldiers.

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Nice smoke effects.
One of the most exciting new inclusions in SOCOM III is the ability to operate vehicles, including Humvees, light strike vehicles, technicals, T72 tanks, an SSCR assault boat, and a customized speed boat. At some points your Alpha and Bravo teams will split up and take seperate vehicles to the waypoints. It would become a little tiresome if only some of your squad could take a vehicle while others try to run behind you.

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Targeting the enemy...
The graphics engine has also been overhauled quite considerbly. Although the graphics look similar to previous titles it's the increase in map size by around six times that will have gamers most excited. Gone should be the rather narrow and limiting maps of the previous game and much wider and more strategic maps should take their place. To compensate for this size increase the developers have even put in checkpoints for the single player game.

There isn't much information available yet with regards to online gameplay or modes but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be as superb as previous title. The was released to much critical acclaim in October 2005 in America, with PAL territories set for late April 2006.