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SOCOM: US Navy Seals
This is one of those games I was excited for (see GamesImExcitedFor), and it was also one of those games that I pre-ordered before it came out... and anxiously awaited its release. Now, I don't usually pre-order games, especially ones like this that I know will be popular enough to have a long enough life to warrant waiting for the price to come down. Usually, the only games we ever pre-order are niche-based fan-games (like Working Designs games, especially the Lunar or Arc the Lad ones). But I pre-ordered SOCOM because I wanted to be among those first people to play the game.
Now that the game has come out (as I write this, the game has only been out for 5 days), I wanted to share some of my impressions of it.
- General Review
- One of the reasons I did decide to pre-order it was because "Official Playstation Magazine" (OPM) gave it five out of five stars. So I knew it would be a good game, and that I wouldn't regret paying full-price for it. They do a fine review of the game, and if you really want to read a complete review of the game, you should read theirs. I wont go through everything, but I did want to touch on a few points OPM's reviewer ([Joe Rybicki]) made that I disagree with:
- 4 out of 5 for SOLO game, 5 out of 5 for MULTI-PLAYER : I really enjoy the single-player campaigns, I personally would have given them a 5 out of 5 by themselves. Okay, so I admit that Boomer is a moron, and that sometimes the pinhead should be shot, drowned, or shoved into an open clearing with enemy snipers bearing down on him. However, once you accept the fact that Boomer will be dogging you where-ever you go and make peace with it, you can actually use Boomer's stupidity to your advantage. Plus, Boomer teaches you that there will almost always be someone on your team in multi-player mode that is an imbecile (even if that someone is you), so you might as well get used to it, and learn how to deal with it. Of course, I do agree that with the multi-player mode, regardless of whether single-player was 4 or 5, the game as a whole is undoubtedly a 5. The multi-player mode is utterly devine.
- Rat's Nest Fifth-best Multi-player level : Pah-leeze! I hate this level! It may be that I'm biased because I always suck in this map, or that somehow I always wind up as a Terrorist in it (and the Terrorists start at a strategically stupid location), but I absolutely loathe it. So far, of all the maps I've played (and I'll admit there are a few I'm yet to really delve into), this is the one I've logged the most hours in, and also the one I like the least. I don't know what people see in it, but it's always the one that people play (though, that could be because when a hosting player leaves, and someone else starts hosting the game, it defaults to this map... but I haven't verified this yet).
- Extraction Overly Complex and No Fun : Actually, I love Hostage Extraction... It's my favorite multi-player mode. It's the one mode where you're forced to work as a team, or else you're toast... and I love that! Hell, this is the reason I was interested in this game in the first place. Plus, it's a game where strategy really comes into play. I've found, that if you have a good team, with strong communication skills (dunno why some people are too scared to ever talk to their fellow gamers), and one or two strategic leaders you will always school the opposition regardless of their skill or number. For example, just last night, I was playing one of the Congo levels (Blood Lake) as a Terrorist, and after getting our asses kicked solidly the first round (Terrorist weapons are weird), everyone on our team quit except for me and one other guy. So here we were, two Terrorists against 6 or 7 Seals... and I knew the Seals were at least communicating with eachother because the game before I was one of them. But my one teammate and I not only communicated, but went about our placement strategically. I sat atop the hill overlooking the hostage hut, and my teammate lay prone in the mist awaiting the Seals. From this hilltop you can actually line up the hostages in your sites, and can order them to follow you (note to Seals: this is actually a good tip for getting the hostages out). When you order them to follow you, they will do their best to get to your position (which, as I said, is on the outcropping ledge on the hill overlooking the hut). Once the hostages (or, at least, a hostage) is there, you arm a grenade and wait for the Seals to show up. Chances are the Seals (unless they've figured this move out) wont be looking for you, and will instead see an area clean of Terrorists when they arive. Most of the time my teammate in the mist could call out their advance, alerting me to them. Sometimes he would even be able to take out one or two before they arive. When the Seals show up, I just lobbed grenades down on them. Grenades kill off most of them, and disorient the rest, making it easy to pick off the straglers. This strategy won us most games, and I got MVP for that game. However, in Supression-type games (by contrast) team-work such as this and strategy don't go very far against superior numbers and players who can aim better (eg, snipers).
- Never go solo in multi-player : Actually, I have found that often times this advace can screw people up. For example, if you're in a group of Seals/Terrorists, it's pretty easy to take the whole-lot of you out with a single grenade (see above story ;-) While this is generally a good idea, there are situations where a single soldier hiding in a shadowy locale or atop a sniper-hole can do more damage then a group trying to coordinate their movements. So I would actually advise against ruling out going solo in an online game. Instead, look at the situation (how many on my side? how many on enemy's side?) and the terrain (are there good leapfrog sections here?) and judge for yourself. In fact, I usually advise just taking the first round of a match (they are usually 11 round games) and familierize yourself with everything (not just the map itself, but your teammates and opponents). And adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Ultimately, I do love this game, and I agree that it deserves a 5 out of 5. It is an exquisite game. The biggest problem I've had so far is the network troubles Sony's been having (it seems they didn't adequately anticipate the volume of gameplayers trying to join in!) These troubles have kicked me out of the system more often than I care to mention, and made me so hopping mad on the day of this game's release that I was about ready to throw the damn game in the garbage. Plus, now that they've disabled player-stats until the issues are resolved, all my MVPs wont count anymore. But they will solve these problems. And when it does work online, the game is just incredible. If you haven't yet, go out and try this game... It's a blast.
- [Adam Sessler] and [Extended Play] only gave this game a 3 out of 5, WTF?
- Well, I hate to say this, but in this case Extended Play's reviewers are being PC-bigots, and somehow have missed how great this game is. That's okay, I've seen them do this before, and everyone is entitled to their own opinions. For example, my wife hates this game... but she hate's all FPS's ;-) Anyway.... Idunno. Some people love this game, others hate it. That's the way it is.
- Personally, I love this game :-)
- "Hey, I've been playing all day long using my modem, you don't need broadband!" and other trolling
- Damn, I have not seen so many confused and irritating posts since the great compression wars in the early eighties (for those of you too young to remember, or who weren't born, there was this massive war among punk kids working with computers like 8-bit Atari's, Commodores, Apples, etc. where everyone was claiming massive and unrealistic compression algorythms. I was a punk kid at the time, but I did understand enough to not give any of these posers much consideration).
- Apparently, there is a large segment of the gaming populace that is pissed off they can't play SOCOM because they only have dial-up. Of course, SOCOM requires broadband, so there are many left high-n-dry. This segment has now started these idiotic rumors of people playing the game using dial-up (just browse through GameFAQS [message board] for SOCOM to see).
- Naturally, anyone who knows anything remotely about the way these various networking schemes works will understand that dial-up does not have the bandwidth to support everything that SOCOM uses (real-time chat being the killer), but many people still insist they are somehow doing it... so I want to write something to set the record straight.
- First of all, AFAIK this game will not let you connect via anything but the ethernet adapter. Not having dial-up, I really can't be certain, but I would be willing to wager large sums of money on it.
- Second of all, you could actually connect vicariously via a modem, but you wouldn't really be able to play (though it would be a very interesting experiment none-the-less ;-) You can technically set up your desktop computer to act as a modem gateway where your PS2 connects via ethernet to your computer, and your computer connects to the internet via dial-up. Perhaps the easiest way to do this would be to get a router Linux dirsto (like [CoyoteLinux]). Using something like this might actually work, but the game would be really slow (you probably would time-out and be kicked off) and the headset would not work at all (chances are, you'd have to do some sort of NAT to make this work, and that would probably wipe out the necessary ports for the headset anyway... but even if it didn't, I'm sure they don't allow much latency with these chat requests, so you would undoubtedly time-out).
- Why is no-one talking?
- Okay, this one had me stumped. But then I realized that my home firewall/router was blocking the necessary ports. After I took the PS2 and hooked it directly into my cable modem, all was fine (people still don't chat as much as they probably should... it seems many are shy... but there are quite a few who do).
- From what I can deduce (and I may be way wrong here) it seems that ports in the range 6000-6500 are the ones that SOCOM needs for chat communications. Now, the wild thing is that some ISPs do block these ports (I've heard reports that Roger's Cable does in some locations)... which means that the players in those areas will have to petition to get these ports openned.
- I use Coyote Linux (see above) and have an old 486 turned into my home firewall/router. I know you can set up appropriate port forwarding for these ports, but I have been too busy playing the game to figure out how. One of these days, I will, and I will post how on this wiki page.
- What's with all these kids?
- I don't know. I guess that the videogame demographics may actually be younger than we were lead to belive ;-)
- Just play the game. I've found many youngin's that are plenty skilled and whom I'm proud to have on my team. If you have some punk kid on your team who acts like a punk kid, you can vote him off. If you're on a team with a bunch of punk kids that act like punk kids and they vote you off (it's happenned to me) then quit the arena and play a different game. Just don't take anything in there very seriously... okay? It's just a video game....
- Me, Online
- Once the clans are re-activated (network troubles), I plan on starting my own. Currently, I'd like to invite my friends, especially those helping out on my OpenSource? projects (such as those helping out with [Tux4Kids]. So, if you wanna join me, just contact me (see EmailPolicy]).
- In the interim, just playing with me or against me is cool. I go by Sinister_Sam (have gone by that since my Quake 2 days ;-) so you'll probably see me around. I am in US West region, but do play elsewhere if that region is too full. I'm not the best player out there, but I do know strategy and can really help out in that area. Unfortunately, I'm typically a small-arms and assault rifle man myself... I'm not too good at sniping in multi-player games.... but I can be pretty damned stealthy.
- (For more info on why I am called Sinister_Sam, see my [Sinister Sam] section of [Strenua Inertia].)
- My Clan
- Hey, I run a clan! We play SOCOM (among other things) and you can find out more about us here: http://www.geekcomix.com/clanam/
(Next page: SOCOM Strategy Guide)