Socom 4 Beta Opens to the Public

Original: April 12, 2011 Issue 14

By: Brooks Clarke

Contributing Writer

 

Fourth installation in the series looks to bring in new elements to attract players

With the upcoming release of the fourth game in the online-centric SOCOM series, Zipper Interactive has opened its pre-launch online beta to the public. Hardcore fans are all but demanding SOCOM 2 in HD, but Zipper has attempted to ease their concerns with the addition of a “classic” mode that mimics the SOCOM experience of old. Along with classic is standard mode, which brings the Navy S.E.A.L.s into the modern era of gaming, featuring health regeneration, respawning and the ability to sprint.

Right off the bat, SOCOM 4 distinguishes itself as a polished shooter. The character movement is fluid and the aiming of the weapons feels just right. The selection of weapons is standard fare for a modern shooter, but each one has its own feel. With use, each weapon will upgrade over time, eventually allowing for attachments like grenade launchers and advanced scopes.

Game connection is nearly perfect. Only once did I get hung up in menus, waiting to join a game. Once in, there is virtually no latency, even in 16v16 matches. The one weak spot so far has been the game’s audio. All the weapons have a flat, clanging sound when they fire, and the music is undistinguishable from any other shooter on the market.

The two maps available, Port Authority and Assault and Battery, are well designed with multiple stories for snipers and run-and-gunners, with objects like boxes and jersey barriers strewn about for cover. The action is frantic and reliance on teammates is key to success in the objective-based modes.

The two game modes I have played so far are Uplink and Last Defense, both in standard and classic. Uplink plays like a game of king of the hill, with each side constantly battling to keep supremacy of three key points on the map. Between the two rule sets, Uplink was more enjoyable on classic, forcing teams to stick together in order to safely capture the points.

Last Defense is an attack and defend mode with one side protecting three data points. If those are captured, the attacking team pushes forward for an all out attack on the defender’s base.

Last Defense is best played in standard mode, with constant respawns causing every inch of ground gained to feel like an individual battle contributing to the overall war effort.

Look for my review of the game when it comes out on April 19.