Zipper Interactive returns to home to see if they can reclaim a portion of their former glory with SOCOM 4: U.S. NAVY SEALs.

Jumping into the single-player aspect in SOCOM 4 you will find another routine tale of "modern warfare" lobbed into a bevy of co-op and competitive multiplayer features. Slightly dragging, but totally serviceable, you will start filling body bags in the middle of a civil war as you stop an unexpected militant revolution. This scenario should be familiar to anyone who has observed a military shooter in the past. However, even though SOCOM 4 doesn't tread new ground, it makes up for it by being super polished while keeping the game entertaining.

The best part of the single-player campaign is how the storytelling is delivered. Zipper has done an appeasable job pushing the plot forward by using a “six day” time-frame to fabricate the illusion of expedited urgency. Making your way through waves of well-armed rebels that is coupled with frequent (mini) cut-scenes, you have all the ingredients to keep you interested (enough) to sink into the action.

The action in SOCOM 4 is your typical 3rd person “tactical” shooter. You'll control a squad of three soldiers as you airstrike your way to victory. The gameplay is very smooth and works well with the Playstation Move, which could be the reason it feels so “silky” with the standard dual-shock controller. While the core mechanics aren't overly in-depth, it provides a fun “tactical” experience. Instantly, SOCOM 4 brought back memories of loving 'Full Spectrum Warrior,' a series that I wished had a longer shelf life.

Assisting in this “silky” feel is the constant update of objectives via both voice instruction and on-screen indicators. Objectives are constantly being layered to push the player forward so that you should never get stuck. How you handle each circumstance is up to you, and this is where the “tactical” aspect comes into play. Besides load-outs (that include customizable weapons) things are pretty much--- you go here, I'll go here... flank and kill. Except the cool inclusion of stealth kills, SOCOM 4 is your standard 3rd person squad-based shooter.

Being a "squad-based shooter" means you will be controlling multiple squads at once; five men (if you count your player) divided into two teams. Controlling two squads puts you in the role of a general directing traffic, marking way-points, and giving each team orders. The blue team is your heavy weapons, suppressing fire, medium range team. The other team, the yellow team is the stealthier of the bunch with sniping and sneaking being their specialty. Depending on your gameplay artistry, you can even sit back and let these two teams take care of most of the work. The A.I. is brainy enough to handle most encounters, however, they don't always move out of trouble when the heavy gunfire starts. Still, you probably will find your team more than enough to take care of each situation.

Besides the tactical squad based combat a few oddly place stealth mission have been presumably added to break up the pace. These missions feel a little tacked on, a little unnecessary, but really, who doesn't like a few stealth missions with a brash assassin styled character like “Forty-Five?” The stealth-play is your average follow/wait/kill/drag body formula that you have seen in countless other "stealth" games. Even though its familiar, like a lesser 'Splinter Cell,' these segments aren't overly long, and provide a pleasant distraction before you're back to lighting up the surroundings with gunfire.

Graphically, SOCOM 4 surpassed my expectations. SOCOM 4 is alot brighter and polished than previous SOCOM endeavors with a light “Uncharted” style of half realism/game that it seems to be pulling from. The main highlight would have to be the level of detail, which the environments stand out the most; and although the explosions lacked a certain “oomph,” you will likely feel drawn into the world. Obviously it's an urban warfare setting with a few other ingredients (nice vegetation, Zipper) so you don't need to be overly creative, but it all tightened up into a commendable package with a little spice done right.

The sound design mirrors the graphics. SOCOM 4 is crystal clear and amplified with exemplary separation, if you have a surround sound system. I found the music (and corresponding cut-scenes) to be good, but they are a little “in your face” over the course of the entire adventure. I even felt that the audio had a certain 'Uncharted,' feel, although if there is any PS3 title to draw from, that is that one. Understandably, the narrative tries to draw out the best vocal performances and for the most part the delivery is good, it's just too bad some of the writing feels lethargic. All-in-all, I'm glad to see Zipper pulled it together to make SOCOM 4 meet and stand out in a crowded genre.

Online the options for SOCOM 4 are fairly hefty. From the MP-menu you can jump into competitive multiplayer, which supports multiple game types and clan challenges to co-operative battles against the A.I. Yes it is safe to say, SOCOM 4 will keep you busy for a while. SOCOM has always been a popular multiplayer series and it seems from an early judging from the servers, the fans are enthusiastic to get back into the mix. Community options to find friends and clans are open along with the ability to track your online progress. This includes your total stats, leaderboard standing, weapon progression and medals. Add all these features with the superb and smooth gameplay, SOCOM 4 feels great online. Hopefully, the community latches on this one and helps it maintain a steady popularity.

SOCOM 4 helps rehabilitate the iconic name of “SOCOM.” While SOCOM 4 is a little short when its comes to blowing through the single-player campaign, the multiplayer component will keep you around for a while. Helping you ease into SOCOM's world is the ultra-smooth gameplay that never displeases online or off. SOCOM 4 might not be the big player it once was back in the PS2 heyday, but it's definitely worth a confrontation for fans of tactical 3rd person shooters.

  • game is silky smooth online and off
  • six day storyline helps push it forward
  • robust online component
  • great production, better than expected
  • if you only want single-player, might be too short
  • the A.I. Aren't always the quickest bunnies in the forest
  • stealth missions are ok, but feel unnecessary

Quote: "SOCOM4 might not be the big player it once was back in the PS2 heyday, but it's definitely worth a confrontation for fans of tactical 3rd person shooters."

Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 04.21.11

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Zipper Interactive


US Release
April '11



Players 1
Co-Op 1-2
Online MP 32
HD 720p
Dolby 5.1
D/L Content
Move Supported