First Impressions: "Yo foolz, whatchu doin' under the sea? This is my turf!"
"Sir look: it's CJ! And he's making out with Ariel!"
You've been to war twice before, and yet the battle isn't over yet. You've fought. You've killed. You've even bled. Sony's war with terror seems like it'll be a never-ending struggle, no matter how many men you put down and no matter how many men of yours will die. But that's because there's money yet to be made in Sony's most popular online-enabled shooter. SOCOM fans have been eating up the franchise like it was the cure for cancer ever since Sony introduced players to the network adapter and the SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs release side by side in the summer of 2002. A year passed and gamers still possessed by the addictive pull of SOCOM upgraded to the much improved sequel at the time. Naturally, many gamers would expect yet another sequel to be pumped out later. If not by a year, sometime somewhere. Well it's happened, and SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALs is on its way. Currently being tuned for another reason to show why the SOCOM series is one of the most played online games today, Sony and Zipper Interactive's third turn with the series is coming this summer.
Waiting in silence. Watching in darkness. Strategically planning every fatal last kill. No matter how differentially tiny your number of men are, the Navy SEALs are as formidable as an entire army put together. You are the Navy SEALs commander, team leader, top dog. Call it what you will; you are in charge of doing the duty you've trained your mind and your body for all these years. No army fleet is as efficient as your small platoon of three men and yourself will ever be, as you are among the elite. Terrorists are always making trouble out there in the world. Whether they plan on blowing something or someone up, are dealing in drugs or weapons, or are causing some other widespread threat, your team of Navy SEALs are on the way to stop them. Now get in gear and go get them.
As is a commonly known factor about the SOCOM series, the game's strength generally has always lied within its online counterpart. Zipper Interactive tried to pull players more into the sequel's offline mode by only granting access to certain weapons when completing the game. But even with an incentive like that, the series when offline just hasn't ever had the strongest appeal with its single-player oriented squad-based component. That's one of the things the development team wants to seriously change this time around. Zipper's plan is to create a more authentic and pleasing single-player experience, so the online side of the game isn't the individual breadwinner of the family anymore. To do this, both allies and enemies alike will get smarter for one thing. Instead of standing around none-the-wiser that you've got them in your sights, enemies will actually be more attentive to their surroundings. They'll organize intelligent attacks on your team of four in addition to taking positions behind cover; even firing blindly to protect themselves better if they must. This as opposed to the past when they'd stand around in open spaces. Terrorists aren't the only ones growing a brain. Your party of merry men with war paint and lots of fire power will feature a more cautionary position according to your actions. The SEALs following Specter (a.k.a. you) will find cover on their own and line up against walls and next to doorways when you stop moving as to predict your actions in a ready stance for attack. Even cooler is the fact that you can now pinpoint the locations of where your fellow SEALs can head to. Not as in a vaguely drawn location inside a possible enemy-filled room, but as in a more specific spot wherever you'd want them to be.
Probably more intriguing though is Zipper's commitment to take the gameplay a step further by adding both a vast multiple of weaponry combinations and vehicles with which to pilot this time around. There'll exist 31 different types of guns with more than 21 attachments. Having over 900 various forms and figures in which to cast your weapon mode as, one thing you'll have to watch out for in the game is that the more you tack on such attachments as laser beams, scopes, suppressors, handle grips, and more, that assault rifle you're carrying is going to get heavier and harder to handle. As for the mobile division: enemies in the past games at a certain stage hopped in their own flying machines and tried to swat the SEALs down as if to say, "Ah ha! Dude, where's your attack helicopter?" In the third iteration, the SEALs finally will have the answer. Able to hop in tanks, humvees with the doors ripped off and turrets popping out, choppers, trucks, and even speedboats for riverbed assaults Mark Twain style: the SEALs will now have a way to wage war on foot or on the go. Enemy terrorists will have the same advantage over vehicles too, so don't think you're the only one who's special here. What'll be cool, however, is that while your Alpha (or primary team) is driving one vehicle, the Bravo or secondary side will be able to wheel another as some vehicle types can't fit all four of your squad at once. In keeping with the faster pace of the game, Zipper is also implementing a menu interface that will be accessed while in-game. Meaning, instead of digging through separate pause windows, missions will be fed directly via the main game screen. Silent but deadly, another addition to the game is that SEALs will be able to swim underwater, to hide from detection, and to pop out in surprise when the enemy least expects it.
Throughout the SOCOM series, players have visited exotic and warring lands all around the country. The three new vacation spots for the SEALs this time will take them to Poland, Morocco, and Bangladesh. What'll be interesting to see is that, graphically, weather will play a part into the game. In one particular instance, the SEALs will race through a desert setting vehicle-bound and encounter a sandstorm in the midst of it all. Switching to a sleek shaded thermal vision will brighten the day then. Levels are estimated to be affixed to six times the size as they once were. Although the game also looks similar to SOCOM II before it, SOCOM 3 will in fact feature character models and new animations that have been redesigned and will ultimately be better suited to set the game's graphical bar ever further. While all these tidbits so far relate mostly to the single-player experience of the game, it's also known that the online section will receive its own revision process. Unfortunately, what that could mean exactly isn't yet something Zipper wants everyone to know about.