SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALs Review

If you’ve ever played a SOCOM game before thn you know the basics of what’s in store for you in SOCOM 3. The basic gameplay has remained intact, but there are a number of new features that veterans of the series are sure to enjoy. If you’re new to the SOCOM world, your enjoyment of SOCOM 3 will probably depend on whether or not you take the game online.

Yes, you'll get to drive vehicles in SOCOM 3.
First the basics – you’re the leader of a four man squad of elite Navy SEALs and your squad is called upon to perform a variety of covert missions around the world. SOCOM 3 has your squad moving from the deserts of North Africa to the jungles of South Asia, with a trip to Poland to round out the adventure. Before each mission you’re given a detailed briefing of the situation, your objectives, and a chance to select your squad’s weapons loadouts. The game does a good job of providing default loadouts for you, so if you’d rather not mess with the whole thing you’ll do just fine. If you do go into the weapon selection screens you’ll find a surprisingly large number of choices to peruse, but I wouldn’t recommend taking a kid in a candy store approach to arming your squad. SOCOM 3 keeps track of each weapon’s weight and the total encumbrance of your weapon load. Take too much gear and you’ll find yourself barely able to shuffle across the battlefield while your enemies run circles around you.

Once your squad is equipped you’ll be deployed to the mission’s area of operations. The mission maps in SOCOM 3 are pretty large, and are a big step-up in size from the prior games in the series. The large map size offers you a fair degree of freedom as there is not a pre-designated path from objective to objective. The order in which you must complete your objectives is still a pretty linear affair, though. Navigating around the maps is easy as an onscreen indicator will always point you in the right direction to your next objective and give you the range to it as well. There is a nice variety of objectives in the game that go beyond the genre standard of taking down all of the terrorists on the map. You’ll also take on enemy armor, help target hostile tanks for air strikes, and rescue hostages, to name a few.

Getting to a far-flung objective in SOCOM 3 is made a lot easier by the introduction of vehicles to the series. Trucks, Humvees, boats, and other vehicles will appear at various places on the map for you to drive or commandeer. It’s easy enough to get in and drive or hop on to man a gun, but you can’t do both. Your squad is unable to drive the vehicles and will be overly timid in using the vehicles’ weapons, so most of the time you’ll need to drive and then stop, hop out, and man the weapon yourself when you encounter enemies.

SOCOM 3 introduces another mode of locomotion in that you can now swim in water – although it makes you wonder why it took three games before your Navy SEALs could swim. You can’t shoot while swimming, but it’s a great weapon in your stealth arsenal as you can sneak past enemy sentries or patrols by taking a little silent dip.