Reviewed by Jimmy | 11.24.06
Socom needs no introduction, by now I think every gamer knows of Sony's popular modern combat game. Last year Sony strategically pushed the Socom franchise over to their portable gaming system, and the PSP version named Fireteam Bravo was highly received amongst fans and the press. It's not surprising that Sony has followed up with another Socom Fireteam Bravo PSP title. If you love your Socom, then you'll love this game. Here is our review of Socom Fireteam Bravo 2.
Socom FTB2 (Fireteam Bravo 2) is a game you can experience online via Wi-Fi Wlan, or Infrastructure mode, and you can go solo and play through Fireteam's single player campaign. Socom FTB2 also supports the 'Game Sharing' feature which lets you share a pre-determined part of Socom with a friend wirelessly. Game sharing is no doubt one of the best features on the PSP, and when Socom aunties up, we're following suit into pot.
Playing Socom can be a little confusing at the start if you haven't played Socom before. If you have a general clue on Socom, or have played the games on the PSP or the PS2 then you should be fine within a few minutes. Hopefully the amount of controls won't scare away any new Socom fans because in a sense I could see some gamers not wanting to invest the time to learn the ins and outs of the controls. If you're interested in purchasing Socom, give it a few minutes, walk around and get used to the buttons and their functions. Socom does a good job with a walk through of the controls during the first mission, so if you can say grounded while you absorb it all.
Like the original Fireteam Bravo game you will be in command of a team of two Navy SEALS as you make your way through the levels. Commanding your partner is activated by pressing the [o] button and then picking a command from the menu. It's best to think ahead because when you're in the middle of firefight bringing up this menu and picking a command might be a little too hectic. From the team command menu or the [TCM] you have a few movement commands like 'cover target' and 'follow', combat commands 'fire at will', 'hold fire', and 'deploy' and then the rainbow six inspired Breach Commands that consists of 'open/close door', 'move and clear', and 'bang/frag and clear'. Now that you have a good sense of how you can control your team mate you will notice that Socom can be a very tactical game depending how deep you want to go.
In Fireteam Bravo 2 you return as elite Navy SEAL, Sandman. We already know Sandman has been through the trenches once, so get ready for your superior officers to send you own on more risky missions where you have sneak, kill, rescue, or infiltrate, every day SEAL activities that you've done before. FTB2 stays away from reality in location with fictional country of Adjikistan with a terrorist drug and weapons ring going on, along with all the associated crime to a terrorist faction. In total you have 14 different missions to complete each with several different objectives and locations. From industrial settings to mountain paths and secluded villages, Socom FTB2 is a little basic in design, but it should keep your interest with the story and mission variety.
It's really up to you if you want to use stealth, spitting led, or let you sidekick run in and provide a much needed body bag distraction. The main think is to stay on track and if possible complete a side objective or two. Going beyond the call of duty is rewarded in Socom FTB2 with points that can be used to purchase new weapons, or call supplies to the battlefield. The point system is a good idea and certainly works better then a check mark at the end of a level. Everything else should be standard in FTB2 you have your briefings, gather some Intel from the database and arm up for battle. For all those who applauded Sony's original work, get ready to clap again.
A little feature I haven't mentioned yet is the ability to synchronize your data between Socom for the PSP and Socom: Combined Assault for the Playstation 2. This 'crosstalk' feature transfers your saved which can unlock hidden objectives, new weapons and multiplayer character skins. This depends on the amount of levels you finished in the game, but for Socom fanatics who own both versions, there is nice incentive to play through them both at length.
Online is simple to navigate and get into a server and after an obligatory update and restart you'll be fraging online on your PSP. The online portion of the game keeps up with the PS2 and offers a robust online selection of game types complete with stat tracking. I'm not a Socom veteran, so I tend to shy away from Socom online, but I had a few games and everything worked out, I even got a few kills. I can see the online portion of Socom FTB2 being as attractive as the single player mission. Also, like the first Fire Team you can purchase the headset and talk away as you make and break friendships online.
Socom FTB2 is the best military shooter on the PSP, but its not all sunshine and gold coins. There are a few minor demotes that luckily don't have a huge impact on the final product. My main complaint with FTB2 is that the levels have no checkpoints which mean if you die, and then you start over. I think that's a little harsh, and not just because I died a lot, a few checkpoints, or the option to toggle them off and on would be nice. Besides frustration of starting a level over, the controls are the next complaint, but it's only a mild learning curve to figure them out, and once you have it, Socom becomes more enjoyable.
Socom fans the flare has been released and it's safe to go out and purchase Fire Team Bravo 2. For all those who enjoyed the last Socom PSP offering, it's all back and slightly refined. The replay value is high with the ability to earn points and the online community is buzzing. If you need a shooter to get you through the Christmas holidays, Socom FTB2 will please your trigger finger. Highly Recommended.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 8.5, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8. Final: 8 / 10
- Defend America and her allies through broad combat experiences - including dynamic non-linear missions, 40 deadly and authentic real world weapons, and
multiple terrain types, weather conditions, enemy types, and encounter possibilities.
- Command Equity system provides rewards for how well core aspects of a mission
are completed, while Local Influence rewards those who help local causes and limit civilian
casualties. Use them to gain access to new weapons, equipment, intel, air-strikes and local
- Battle through 10 new multiplayer maps, as well as most of the original Fireteam
Bravo maps, and three new game types playable in Infrastructure Mode and Ad Hoc modes.
- Enhanced Crosstalk with SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Combined Assault,
including a single story arc, and all new action events and unlockables.
- Association with Naval Special Warfare ensures realistic SEAL team tactics,
missions, weapons and character movements.
- Asymmetrical mission structure allows players to play missions in any order they
want. Completed mission areas can open new missions and objectives for the player to