SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation

SOCOM: Confrontation screenshot
After a two year absence, the latest SOCOM incarnation has finally arrived. Developed by Slant Six, SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation is the PlayStation 3's first SOCOM title and it arrives in a very unique way to the platform. The single-player campaign has been removed from this game.

That's correct, SOCOM Confrontation is a multiplayer-only game, meaning you only can play against other gamers online in head to head matchups. The maximum amount of gamers allowed for an individual match is 32. I have to admit, it is weird not having the single player mode in the game, yet SOCOM Confrontation holds its own. Developer Slant Six got the community going on a head start with a public beta which debuted in September.

The matches are simple in nature and one can easily join an online game. You select a game already in progress or create one. The basic structure of game modes are Breach, Control (grabbing and holding checkpoints), Escort, Extraction, Demolition, Suppression (Team Deathmatch), and Elimination. Clans are back in full affect, and can be modeled after international special operations forces from the U.S, Spain, U.K, Germany, France just to name a few.

Once in a match you and your buddies' pair up and either select one of two teams. The Commando team consists of Special Operations type forces, and the Mercenary team consists of your stereotypical thugs and bad guys. Respawn can also be activated which gives you the ability to come back once you have been killed.

One of the best features of SOCOM Confrontation is the ability to customize your character and load out. Unlike the previous games, in Confrontation you are able to change your weapons load out, uniform, headgear, and facial features. Gamers can switch uniforms for different instances such as urban battle, night operations, and desert fighting. Uniform colors range from MARPAT, ACU or different blends of tan, black or olive drab. This is particularly great because it adds originality to your online play. Just like its predecessors, Confrontation has all of the standard available weapons you all know and love such as the M4A1, MP5, M87, AT-4 and the AK-47. You can also add weapon specific attachments such as laser sights, or suppressors. In addition you can add or remove body armor to you character. Although it can help you, body armor weighs down your character causing a loss of easy mobility.

Seven highly detailed maps are available including Frostfire, Desert Glory and Crossroads from the previous titles. Each has decent hide points and elevated structures or areas so you can pick people off from high ground, one of my personal favorite tactics. Battle damage litters the playing field which gives the game a nice graphical presentation. The maps are large enough to the point where you can find a good hiding spot, and not be seen for a while.

SOCOM Confrontation offers full support of the SIXAXIS wireless controller, offering greater control of your character. By dipping the controller to the left or right, you can peak over corners with ease. Multiplayer online play does have its sore spots. Every so often during a battle some network hiccups occur causing some brief awkward lag in the action. Recent patch work to the game has made run smoother but not flawless.

SOCOM Confrontation is built around the community which has existed from the previous games. Newcomers might have a tough time getting into the gameplay, without single-player campaign. It is a better fit for the hardcore SOCOM fan. There's really no good way to practice other than playing online against better skilled players which can prove both difficult and frustrating to beginner gamers. A sort of training mission should have been added to the game in order to assist novice gamers.

Aside from the network lags which can be a pain during intense battles, it's a great game. The SOCOM community is full of gamers from all skill levels, and whether you play in a ranked or unranked game you will enjoy it. Battles can get very intense with players from around the country and around the world. Luckily, gamers can get this game offered at a discounted price of $39.99 which can be purchased in either disc or download format from the Network. A special bundle pack is also available with a wireless Bluetooth headset for $59.99, which is about the standard price of a PS3 game today.

"SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation" is rated "M" for Mature (Content suitable for ages 17 or older) and is available exclusively for the PlayStation 3.