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SOCOM

SOCOM successor photo
SOCOM successor

H-Hour: World's Elite is your new SOCOM fix


Coming soon to Steam Early Access
Apr 03
// Jordan Devore
To some people, H-Hour: World's Elite will look like a real fun time. Can't say I'm one of them because, well, team-based military shooters scare me. I can empathize with every single soldier killed in this video. If I were ...
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DTOID News! (Now with more pineapples!)
Hey there, teens! Who wants some keen news about the latest "vidz?" Well, too bad, because there's not a whole lot of it. However, there are some new details about Evolve and a trailer for Get Even that doesn't expl...

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Your first look at the SOCOM spiritual successor, H-Hour


H-Hour: World's Elite
Jan 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
H-Hour: World's Elite is the spiritual successor to the SOCOM franchise. After the studio went up, the team reformed into Special Operations Forces Studios and created a Kickstarter for a new third-person military shooter. The team met their funding goal last year and now we're seeing the first footage of H-Hour. The gameplay video here is all in pre-alpha, and it's looking pretty promising. .
MAG/SOCOM servers closing photo
MAG/SOCOM servers closing

MAG & SOCOM PS3 servers shutting down


'You mean I won't be able to play SOCOM 4 online anymore???' someone might sadly say, maybe
Jul 16
// Steven Hansen
With one deft tweet, fans of Sony's exclusive strategical shooters might be disappointed. The official PlayStation Twitter announced that, "Online multiplayer services for MAG, SOCOM Confrontation, and SOCOM 4 will be ending ...

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SOCOM Mobile HQ app available for Android phones


Jul 07
// Nick Chester
Can't get enough SOCOM? Need to check your stats while you're in line at the bank, sitting in a waiting room, or on the crapper? No problem, there's an official SOCOM Mobile HQ application that's been released for Android pho...
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SOCOM 4 to really screw over secondhand customers


Apr 18
// Jim Sterling
Zipper Interactive is planning to take the "online pass" concept to new heights (or lows), by introducing a code that unlocks SOCOM Pro.  The traditional online pass system, pioneered by EA, restricts online multipl...
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Walmart exclusives in SOCOM 4, Michael Jackson: TE


Mar 31
// Dale North
Look at you, Walmart! Coming out with the exclusives for games. Aren't you cool! Walmart sends word that they have a couple of exclusive content bits for gamers. Michael Jackson: The Experience comes with Walmart Exclusive T...
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Zipper Interactive is modernizing the tactical shooter with SOCOM 4. Designer Ben Jones summed up the accessibility-oriented changes -- which include regenerating health and a cover system -- as "the evolution of the SOCOM fr...

Zipper talks SOCOM 4: Lessons learned from MAG

Feb 10 // Samit Sarkar
But MAG wasn't the only source of inspiration and paradigms to follow for SOCOM 4. According to Jones, Zipper not only looked at its own previous titles, but also at other games within Sony. Thank God for MAG. Because we know what SOCOM is, and we've done it for a long time, and I think we've done it really well. But in adding a lot of the new elements that we did, I think we looked to titles that we've developed internally ... and said, "What are they doing that players have really latched on to, that has made the game better for them?" And [we] looked to incorporate some of those elements as well. One of those elements is an increased focus on making the tactical gameplay of SOCOM accessible to modern shooter fans. For more details, hit up my preview. SOCOM 4 launches for PS3 on April 19th.
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Between the development of the 2006 PSP title SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 2 and the upcoming SOCOM 4, Zipper Interactive released one game: MAG, which launched just over one year ago to critical acclaim. That ambitious shooter set ...

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Last week, I had some hands-on time with Zipper Interactive's SOCOM 4, the studio's first SOCOM game in four and a half years (the last entry in the franchise that the developer worked on was the 2006 PSP game SOCOM: Fireteam...

Preview: SOCOM 4 in 3D with the Move Sharp Shooter

Feb 10 // Samit Sarkar
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs (PlayStation 3) Developer: Zipper Interactive Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment To be released: April 19, 2011 I’ll begin with some notes on the 3D presentation and Sharp Shooter. To my surprise, I enjoyed both aspects of the demo. I’m not a fan of flamboyant, in-your-face 3D -- you know, the kind where a game makes excuses to send things literally flying in your face -- because most of the time, it quickly induces a headache. Thankfully, the 3D implementation in SOCOM 4 is much more subtle; you, your teammates, and enemies stand out on the screen thanks to an outlining effect, and as you’re wading through thick vegetation, you can see it bending as you brush past it. It’s easy on the eyes, and after a few minutes, I almost forgot that it was there, which is exactly the kind of unobtrusive 3D experience I desire. Most notably, the game looks great in 3D -- according to Jones, 3D runs at the same resolution as 2D, and both modes are locked to 30 frames per second. As a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to newfangled control schemes, I was initially skeptical of the Sharp Shooter attachment. But Jones asserted that it was the best way to play the game, so I gave it a shot (sorry, I couldn’t resist). It definitely takes some getting used to -- for one thing, there’s no dead zone when you have to keep the gun pointed at the screen, lest your character aim at his feet -- and having played only for a short while, I can’t attest to whether arm fatigue will arise after long play sessions. Those concerns aside, it’s clear that Zipper has gone all-out in making SOCOM 4 work with the Sharp Shooter, and it’s a completely viable control method. Everything is within reach of your fingertips, except for a few rarely-used options like the switch that controls single-shot/burst/fully automatic fire. One of the keys to SOCOM 4’s Sharp Shooter compatibility is its variety of turning options. The standard configuration is the bounding-box turning that’s typical of light-gun games: you can aim within an invisible box centered on the screen without turning, but as you approach the edges of the screen, you begin to turn. But with “modal” turning, you can aim at an edge and then tap the L2 button on the Navigation Controller to look in that direction (and hold to keep turning). There’s also a “quick turn” option, which will be particularly useful for advanced players in the game’s multiplayer modes -- it essentially functions like mouselook on a computer, offering one-to-one aiming with the Sharp Shooter.As the opening cinematic to the second mission played, Jones explained that Zipper has put a lot of effort into the story of SOCOM 4. Past games in the series didn’t really have narrative-driven campaigns, but this time around, there’s an impetus for you to play through the missions. Along with the focus on story comes an increased production value to the cutscenes: the camera shifted constantly, which lent something of a cinéma vérité feel to the proceedings -- almost as if Zipper meant to evoke war films. In SOCOM 4, you head up a five-person international task force that has been brought in to quell insurgent uprisings in a unnamed Southeast Asian nation (Jones called it a “Malaysia-like country”). Of course, you get more than you bargained for -- the guerrillas are unexpectedly competent, wiping out your headquarters, leaders, and half of your support fleet. You start off the second mission with two teammates, and your objective is to locate the crash site of a Korean ally plane.The first clearing you come across is crawling with enemies, and immediately, the franchise’s tactical gameplay makes itself apparent. You can go in guns blazing if you want to, but a much more sensible strategy is to use the cover afforded by waist-high foliage around the perimeter of the area, in order to sneak past the insurgents. While the campaign is linear in that you follow a predetermined path, the game constantly tasks you with making decisions as to how you want to proceed down that path.Using your teammates is one of the chief ways in which Zipper opens up your options. The D-pad on the Navigation Controller offers full control of your squad, which swells to five members once two Korean soldiers -- the only survivors of the crash -- join you. From here, left on the D-pad controls your initial teammates (the “blue” team, good for close-quarters and mid-range combat with its machine guns and shotguns), and the right button directs the Korean recon squad (the “gold” team, which can utilize its sniper rifles and suppressed weapons to quietly take out targets from afar). Unlike in previous SOCOM games, which came with headsets, you can’t issue voice commands to your squad. The D-pad squad controls allow you queue up long sequences of instructions -- wait here, take out those guys, move up and set that charge, then hold -- and the later stages of the campaign require complex directions that voice controls can’t provide. In the name of making the franchise more palatable to newcomers, Zipper has also done away with health packs; instead, SOCOM 4 features the now-standard regenerative health system. In order to recover your health, you can take a breather by taking cover with the circle button, another feature that’s new to the series.SOCOM 4 strongly encourages you to use your squad, since it’s much tougher (and nigh-impossible later on) to go it alone. “We really want players to feel challenged to the point that they’re compelled to use their teammates,” said Jones. And really, it’s silly not to, since they’re so effective. It’s a lot of fun to give your squadmates a series of directions and then merely sit back and watch them do their thing. Once you get familiar with the commands, it becomes simple to engage in military tactics -- you might send your teammates down a road while you go behind some houses to flank any unsuspecting enemies. If your team members fall in a firefight, you can revive them yourself, or just send over the other squad to do the job.The game’s second mission serves as a squad tutorial, giving you a good amount of assistance in setting up ambushes -- set the gold team here; this is where they'll be the most effective, it tells you. After a few battles, I had familiarized myself with the D-pad controls. You can select a squad, move them anywhere or tell them to wait, paint targets for them to eliminate, and then have them regroup on you (although they’ll eventually do that automatically). As far as I could tell, the squad AI is sharp: your teammates acquit themselves well in battle, and I didn’t see them get stuck on level geometry or anything like that. As someone who tried playing the PS2 SOCOM games but found them somewhat difficult to grasp, I appreciate Zipper’s concessions to today’s most popular shooters. It seems like the studio has managed to update SOCOM without stripping it of its trademarks, and I think the game is better off for it. I can’t yet say if I would play through the entire campaign with the Sharp Shooter, but I also can’t deny that the implementation is very well done. You’ll have to try it for yourself this April.
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The tactical shooter is a sub-genre that has existed for many years as a more “hardcore” alternative to mainstream first- and third-person shooters. Often marked by squad-based, stealthy combat, and a more deliber...

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Killzone 3 purchase grants access to SOCOM 4 beta


Jan 20
// Jim Sterling
For some reason, Sony thinks that Killzone 3 fans love PS3-exclusive shooters. We don't know where they got that wacky notion, but they're certainly banking on it, since Killzone 3 will come packaged with early access to SOCO...
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PlayStation Move-enabled SOCOM 4 set for an April release


Jan 17
// Nick Chester
Things have been mostly quiet on the SOCOM 4 release date front since the game was delayed back in July of last year. Well, things are still quiet, but the Wall Street Journal is pegging the game for an April release. The dat...
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SOCOM 4 release pushed into 2011


Jul 29
// Nick Chester
No SOCOM 4 for you this year; Zipper Interactive, the game's developer, has confirmed that the PlayStation 3 title has slipped into 2011. "While we're certainly aware that you've been looking forward to playing SOCOM 4 this y...
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SOCOM PSP to require PSN authentication for online play


Feb 17
// Brad Nicholson
In a move to fight piracy, and seemingly in an attempt to cultivate a culture of people who desire to buy their SCEA games new, Sony is bundling a PSN registration voucher for all UMD-based copies of SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3. ...

Console game in handheld: SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3

Jan 29 // Ben Perlee
SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 (PSP)Developer: Slant Six GamesPublisher: SCEATo be released: February 16, 2010 The feature list in SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 is rather large. Coming out February 16 to UMD and PSN, we’ve got 16 player online/ad hoc versus, 8 maps, 5 versus modes, a story driven, 4-player online/ad hoc co-op mode with 9 missions, solid graphics built with the same mo-cap as the film Avatar, clans, 70 weapon modifiers, 4 attachments slots, and voice chat. It’s a long list of features, one that promises to go a long way for players and fans. The story mode is a single player campaign over 9 levels that can be played with bots or in co-op. Co-op is great, as always, and with voice chat through headphones or the built-in mic on the PSPgo, it means communication is readily available at the push of a button. This applies to all of the multiplayer modes as well. Each of those 9 missions are broken up into chapters with lots of save points, so you are never locked into a mission for more than 5 or 6 minutes at a time, which is very nice for on-the-go play. If you are down on other players, the command ladders for the bots are pretty in-depth, and you can actually queue up layers of commands for changing situations. After you beat a level, you get Custom Missions. These are the story levels where the player can choose new variables, objectives, the number of SEALs, and more, in the chance to earn more Command Equity points to spend on unlockables. It’s a neat way for creating incentive to return to the story mode/single player mode. Throughout these campaigns and in the multiplayer matches, players will earn those Command Equity points. These can be spent on unlocking new character models for the multiplayer, but even more interesting, they can unlock new weapon mods. With 70 attachments and 4 slots, by the time you unlock everything, your weapons are going to be very unique to your play style. Controls for the game took a little getting used to. Limited to one analog stick limits how you can aim. There is an auto target system, which will change a little bit depending on what weapon you use, what you have modded it with, and how you are using cover (which in itself is not a snap-on system like in other titles, but rather a system of dynamic height change over cover where the SEAL will only rise enough to make a shot), but the 4 target points of legs, arms, body and head will be the focus. However, I actually struggled with one simple motion: aiming up and down. With the auto-lock on, I could only aim on one plane. It was a little frustrating, and I suspect it might have been me struggling with the controls a bit. Honestly, it is a little difficult initially, as there are a lot of things to do, but wasn’t too difficult after a while. Control-wise, I was most interested in a perspective hardcore players might like. A third–person over-the-shoulder mode, your SEAL will stay in place and free aim until you press the L-trigger, then he can move. It creates a slower style of play. Getting good with this stop-n-pop motion seems like it might become the standard way to play. Multiplayer is up to 16-players, with maps based on the single player campaigns and more. These are Swiss ski villages, ruined castles, ports, and more, and there is a solid amount of variety to keep things fresh. Modes include an 8v8 team-based Suppression mode, Demolition mode where one team is on the defensive, a control-point based Tug O’War,  Free for All as the deathmatch, and Leader mode, where one player is a leader, and the team must protect him as they move about. Like in single player, rounds tend to last about 4 to 6 minutes, unless you want to make them longer, and with the really in-depth leaderboard system, the support for clans, and the support for using your PSN account, this is a handheld game that acts like a full featured console title. It looks very solid. While Slant Six has brought a lot of new features to the franchise, they also made sure to keep any older play options available to the fanbase. SOCOM’s players tend to be very hardcore, and while features like health regeneration is new, you can expect that to be turned off, and features like friendly fire, capped respawn, and other hardcore features to be cranked up. Basically, what I’ve been told is that all options will be returning, and that everyone should be pleased. Entering in, however, the game is fairly friendly to new players. SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 has some really neat ideas here, many of which look like they are coming through. As producer Michael Kerr says “We wanted to deliver a console experience on PSP,” it looks like they may pull it off.
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SOCOM is an interesting franchise. Back when the original released for  the PS2, SOCOM was seen as the multiplayer experience for consoles. Times have changed, and the SOCOM series has made itself comfortable on the hand...

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Fireteam Bravo 3 slated to hit February 16th


Jan 08
// Brad Nicholson
Sony made good on their promise to give SOCOM: US Navy Fireteam Bravo 3 a new release date “in the coming weeks.” According to the latest information from the software and hardware giant, Slant Six Games’ po...
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Socom Fireteam Bravo 3 sees delay


Dec 21
// Nick Chester
Sony has announced that SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 won't be making its previously announced January 12 release. Sony hasn't yet announced the updated release date for the PlayStation Portable third-person shoote...
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SOCOM: Confrontation 'Cold Front' DLC gets detailed


Oct 19
// Brad Nicholson
Slant Six and SCE have announced a new and snow-themed expansion called Cold Front for the FPS SOCOM: Confrontation. Set to hit at an unknown date and priced at $14.99, the cold DLC is packing a flurry of content including fi...
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SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 gets dated, pre-order goodies


Sep 16
// Nick Chester
Sony has announced that SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 will be available for PlayStation Portable on November 24. Yes, that's right -- a third one. Admittedly, I can't act too excited about this, but for those w...
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SOCOM remains popular on PSN, beating Killzone 2


Jul 29
// Brad Nicholson
Despite being in abysmal condition at launch (and for many weeks after), SOCOM Confrontation has managed to stay popular with PlayStation 3 owners. Speaking with Joystiq this morning in New York, SCEA senior producer Mark Rog...

Preview: MAG

Apr 29 // Conrad Zimmerman
MAG (PlayStation 3)Developer: Zipper InteractivePublisher: Sony To be released: Fall 2009MAG takes place roughly twenty years into our future. Resources are dwindling and the nations of the world, unable to afford the expense of funding their own military excursions, have come to rely upon private military corporations (PMCs) to do their dirty work. This has led to the rise of three main competitors for these lucrative government contracts -- Raven, Valor and SVER.Each of the three PMCs has a distinctive look and style to them, and players will choose which company to join when they first begin playing MAG. Raven is sleek and high-tech in appearance, wearing carbon fiber uniforms and armor made of molded plastics and metals. SVER are more scavengers by nature, building their equipment with parts found lying around battlefields; they have a hard, aggressive look to them. Valor consists of hardened combat veterans with grizzled looks, chiseled physiques and a more traditional camoflauge garb.It's an interesting setting and one that Zipper intends to offer persistent change to. The game is described as an ongoing 24/7 tournament, with the game world itself as its prize. How they intend to implement these concepts is unclear as of yet, but the possibilities are intriguing.A 256-player multiplayer game is a difficult thing for me to grasp. It's a staggering amount of players, and it was hard to imagine how Zipper Interactive was going to manage to keep it from becoming a chaotic mess. Key to this is their command structure of squads, platoons and commanders.The forces are broken down into squads of eight players, with one player designated as a Squad Leader who can issue orders. The Squad Leaders answer to Platoon Leaders who, in turn, take orders from the OIC (Officer in Charge). By using this chain of command, orders are assigned to individual squads, which prevents the game from turning into a random and frustrating deathmatch scenario. Games will typically involve one PMC attacking while the opposing force defends. Leaders have the ability to assign FRAGOs (Fragmentary Objectives); these are specific targets that will help to work towards the overall objective of your mission. Bunkers and anti-aircraft weapons are a couple of examples of targets, and there are rewards for destroying or taking them out. Bunkers act as spawn points for defending forces, and their elimination makes it harder for forces to reach the front line. Similarly, anti-air guns keep your army from deploying airstrikes that could devastate enemies. Of course, the defending force has the ability to repair destroyed structures if they can get close enough to fix them. The strategic possibilities don't end there, however. Is your platoon struggling with an entrenched force? Your leader can call upon another platoon to come in and give you some support to turn the tide of battle. Orders are issued through the game's command system. By bringing up a map of the battlefield, commanders can see key points, which their squads may attack as an objective. Commands are given to the entire squad with a click of a button, and they're off to the races. There's no need for voice communication in objectives, removing any concern about who has a headset and who does not.Voice support will be implemented in MAG with a push-to-talk system. Clicking down on the right thumbstick opens up the channel for you to speak, and I've been assured that muting specific players will be quick and easy. There is a chance that Zipper will implement the ability to have free, squad-wide communication without the button press as an option for teams who wish to play this way, but it has yet to make it into the product as of this time. Nobody is required to follow orders, either. Players are completely free to ignore their commanding officers and run into battle with the enemy, but there are advantages to working with your squad. If you have a particularly strong squad leader, for example, there are morale benefits to sticking close to them in the form of Leadership Abilities. The abilities themselves are determined by the leader's rank in the chain of command, and their effectiveness is based on the experience level of the officer. Abilities include faster reload time, resistance to attack, and decreased wait time to complete objectives such as repairing or bombing a structure.All of the advantages to being a leader sound great, but they do come with some risk. Using them requires that the leader be in the thick of battle in order for the bonuses to be effective, and if they fall, they can no longer issue any orders or use any abilities until they have redeployed. Having your leader taken out can be a serious blow to the success of any squad.When a player takes a fatal wound, they are given a choice. They may either lay wounded until they have bled out in the hopes that another squad member will come along and heal them, or they can instead choose to bleed out instantly to try and catch the next redeployment of troops. These respawns occur across the entire game simultaneously and happen every 15 seconds. Even in death, there's a strategy at work. But enough talk about mechanics. The big question is, with all of the logistical considerations, can a game this large actually be fun to play? At this point, after having the opportunity to play through a large portion of what's considered a typical engagement, the answer is an emphatic "yes." The game in which I played did not consist of a full 256 players, but a group half that size made up of Zipper employees and players from other Sony offices. The gaming press was grouped together into a single squad and dropped directly into the action.As members of SVER, our main objective was to capture two prototype troop transport vehicles from a rival PMC, the high-tech Valor. Right from the start, my commanding officer directed the squad to destroy a bunker near the perimeter of the enemy base. To do this, we would have to press on through opposition, reach the rear of the bunker, and plant a charge ... and then wait for it to explode.As I ventured forth into the fray, I was immediately struck by two things. First, MAG is absolutely gorgeous. Everything from the battle-damaged structures to the character models and the incredible smoke effects are downright staggering in their beauty. The second observation I made is that I could see no lag whatsoever amongst any of my teammates as they pressed on ahead of me. Clearly, the full-scale games that Zipper has been testing since last year have returned some impressive results for their new proprietary engine and server architecture.Weapons and gear come in packages -- I started out with an assault rifle, grenades, a pistol and a health gun that can restore a small amount of health (both to the player who uses it and to others). The other packages available to us in the demo featured a sniper rifle and (my favorite) a heavy machine gun. Toting around that machine gun slowed me down quite a bit, and recoil was pretty awful. But quickly dropping into a prone position and deploying its bi-pod made my accuracy shoot through the roof and I was capping the heads of enemies in no time at all.After my team managed to destroy the bunker, the CO ordered everyone to a rally point before giving the next target, an anti-aircraft cannon situated on a nearby platform. I never managed to even set foot on there, so thick was it with enemy forces, but the rest of my team managed to take it down in a few minutes' time. This opened up the option for our commander to call in a Strafing Run, a tactical support maneuver that sends in planes for multiple carpet bombing passes of the region. Overhead, I could see the jet exhaust as our bombers came in and utterly decimated soldiers in the area with thunderous amounts of munition.The other advantage to having air support quickly became apparent when I next bit the dust. As the redeployment countdown ticked by, my view of the battle turned skyward and I could see a troop transport plane flying overhead. The next thing I knew, the camera shifted again and I was viewing myself from above as I soared down into the battlefield. While in my descent, I was given a bit of control over where I would land, giving me the opportunity to take advantage of the parachute to take a higher ground position. Meanwhile, enemies aware of the coming influx of troops attempted to take advantage of my vulnerability, and eliminate me out before I could hit the ground at all. Thrilling is the only word I can come up with to describe the experience.Soon, my teammates drove past me with the first of the troop carriers we had been sent in to steal, and I followed behind on foot to help defend them. Sadly this is the point at which my time with MAG came to a close and, while hesitant to put down the controller, it looked as though we were on the verge of striking a decisive blow for our corporation. Zipper Interactive is currently wrapping up the alpha phase of development and I'm suddenly finding myself really excited about the prospects of MAG. The combat feels really solid, and while I did experience one game-breaking glitch during my play session, the vast majority of my time spent playing ran as smooth as silk. Keep an eye on this one, as I suspect it's capable of breaking records far beyond its player count upon release.Check back tomorrow when I'll have an interview with MAG's lead game designer, Andy Beaudoin.
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Last year at E3, Sony made an announcement that left a lot of people (including me) scratching their heads. The game announced was MAG -- an acronym for "Massive Action Game" -- and the trailer boasted an experience...

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Rumortoid: SOCOM: Confrontation to get new maps, guns, factions and more


Feb 04
// Brad Nicholson
Slant Six is a busy developer. After squashing bugs and dishing out numerous patches for their hobbled PlayStation 3 multiplayer shooter SOCOM: Confrontation, the studio is allegedly moving on to downloadable content. Accordi...
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SOCOM: Confrontation patch is live


Jan 09
// Brad Nicholson
According to a posting on the SOCOM blog, update 1.30 for SOCOM: Confrontation went live today. It fixed over 100 problems related to gameplay and network performance. Servers went down at 5 A.M. (EST) to accommodate the heft...
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SOCOM: Confrontation update delayed until January


Dec 23
// Brad Nicholson
A few weeks ago we reported that SOCOM: Confrontation would be receiving an update that would fix over 100 different problems. These ranged from gameplay mechanics to network functions. A recent update on the official SOCOM b...
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SOCOM: Confrontation and Echochrome getting beefy patches [Update]


Dec 13
// Brad Nicholson
Within a tiny timeframe both Echochrome and SOCOM: Confrontation will receive Trophy patches and gameplay upgrades. In SOCOM’s case, the version 1.30 patch appears as if it could fix many of the issues that we felt hurt...

Destructoid review: SOCOM: Confrontation

Nov 19 // Brad Nicholson
SOCOM: Confrontation (PlayStation 3)Developed by Slant SixPublished by Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased on October 14, 2008 SOCOM: Confrontation is Slant Six’s first foray into the SOCOM universe. The series is known for its grit, realistic play, and bevy of multiplayer options. In this regard, the game doesn’t fail its fans. There is a ton of customization, strategy, quick kills, and options of play. But, how does one celebrate or enjoy these great aspects when the essential component, the network, is crippled by errors and latency? Therein lies the problem with SOCOM: Confrontation.If you theoretically go out and buy this game today, you’ll immediately be greeted with two rather large patches. These patches were created specifically to address the plethora of network issues that Confrontation has experienced and is still experiencing today. The ape in the room (latency) is still looming large and casting its shadow over the vast majority of ranked matches. At the same time, the latency is manic in the majority of private rooms. Occasionally, you’ll enter into a decent room where you’ll be able to travel around and shoot, as any player would expect. These are the times when the game shines. But when the game is lagging as it usually does, it affects every facet of play – movement, combat, and communication. In addition to latency, you’ll also encounter odd bugs, crashes, server errors, timeouts, and connectivity issues. At this stage of release, this is simply unacceptable for a game that lacks a single player component. There is literally nothing to do but search aimlessly for a few matches that won’t give you problems.Outside of the network, one of the nastier aspects is the control scheme. Seemingly simple actions like talking, crouching, and weapon selection have multiple inputs attached to the button. It also features practically zero intuitiveness in terms of button mapping. There were several occasions within the first few hours of play that I found myself opening up the manual just to find out how to lay down or to switch to an alternative method of fire. It is a steep learning curve that will often have you fumbling for grenades and wishing you had one of those Tech Tree RTS posters to guide your fingers. There are alternate methods and mapping options available, but it all feels bad. There are simply more commands than buttons. In addition to buttons, the power of the SIXAXIS is harnessed. Moving your controller from right to left to up effects the way your character looks out from corners and from behind objects that obscure his vision. Where this is typically a sore point for most PlayStation 3 games, you’ll be pleased to know that it is subtle and typically doesn’t get in the way of normal play. Even better, it can be useful on the urban maps.One of the brightest features is the ability to customize practically everything on your character. His voice, scars, armor, hats, weapons, face, and camouflage are editable and ready to go at your slightest whim. The ticky-tacky stuff like voice and scars are merely for your own entertainment. It’s highly unlikely that opponents or even teammates will notice that wicked scar you just put on your dude. But the choices of weapons, armor, and sidearm are vital to the play experience and carry real weight. Weapons range from standard fare rifles all the way to submachine guns, shotguns, and heavy machine guns. The armor goes from light to heavy, and the sidearms range from pistols to optional equipment like frag grenades and claymores. The primary weapons operate much like you would envision, but the optional sights and attachments give you a ton of different tactical opportunities to explore. The armor is a nice addition, but be weary, being a bullet hog in heavy armor will substantially slow down your character’s speed. There are several different modes of play available that the majority of shooter fans will instantly recognize. Standard deathmatch, control point hunting, escorting, extracting and bombing are available. With the exclusion of vehicles this go around, it has become exceedingly more difficult to rule a match on your own and win one for the team. All of these modes and the given maps are team efforts and will require you to communicate and strategize. Luckily, talking on PlayStation Network got a lot easier. The Bluetooth headset that comes with the game is a substantial peripheral that exceeds every wireless headset available on the market. It even comes with a nifty cable that instantly syncs it to the console so you don’t have to fumble around with wireless codes. The modes and headset are excellent complements. The majority of the maps come from previous SOCOM games, so they should feel very familiar to veterans of the series. They vary in size according to match limitations and offer a massive amount of different pathways and hiding areas, thus increasing the need for communication, patience and strategy. Every corner is a threat and every time you decide to run out in the open, one of the faithful will pop you in the jaw with ease. Despite the recycled maps, it’s easy to come away impressed with what Slant Six has done. The majority of simulation shooters have a tendency to become predictable in terms of movement and choke points. While Confrontation will begin to seem familiar after several sessions, these alternate corners and pathways will always offer an additional and unpredictable threat.Of course, threats would be nothing without a way to dispatch them. The only problem is getting to the enemy. Confrontation is a fairly slow game. Instead of running (which you can do now), it is always advisable to move at a snail’s pace with an idea of what you want to do or hold down. The targeting reticule expands and contracts based on your movement and rate of fire, which reinforces a notion of patience and camping. If you’re one of those shoot first, think about it later kind of guys, you’ll find an unrewarding experience. The majority of ranked games only consist of one spawn and you’re done for the entirety of the round.The weapons in the game react wonderfully (when not under oppressive latency) to your button presses. The evaluation of the gun’s criteria (accuracy, etc.) is exceedingly relevant. While you may be able to pop off the M-60 shot from across the map, it is definitely advisable to grab a sniper or other long distance rifle. If your aim is true, and you’re not moving, you’ll hit and kill the enemy every single time. The same thing applies to the explosives in the game, although you can certainly argue that SOCOM’s slower pace only inhibits the ability to get away from the stealthy grenade throw.Visually, the game really suffers. Character models suffice at a distance, but when close, you can see that this game lacks that next generation shine. I am also disappointed by the amount of recycled objects and the lack of overall detail present. Normally, I would take less-than-stellar graphics as an excuse for quicker loading and better networking, but that obviously isn’t the issue. The sound does suffice, though, especially the theme music. Sure, you can hear people walking around and shooting from all directions in glorious 5.1, but hard electric music always gets my blood pumping.In addition to ranked matches, players can create their own competitive rooms and set their own rules. This would be even better if getting into a game wasn’t such an ordeal. Menus are reminiscent of previous generation multiplayer games. First you have to choose that you want to play online (and where else would you go in Confrontation?), pick a server (that isn’t full, good luck with that), then pick a room. After finding a room that isn’t packed and loading into an ancient lobby, you’ll have to wait for the next game to pick you up. After another loading screen, you finally get to play. Unfortunately, it will probably be a latency-ridden room. Private matches are quite different, but manic in terms connectivity issues. The host’s connection needs to be fairly beefy to make the game playable. What makes private matches appealing is the ability of the host to set his own rules, including infinite respawns which is a refresher if you stare at your dead body on a frequent basis.The big problem with SOCOM: Confrontation is not its gameplay. The guns, sound, level design, and strategy are all solid elements that, under typical circumstances, would put this game a step above most online shooters. But Confrontation isn’t typical in regards to its network performance. The latency, disconnects, freezing, and generally poor structure cripples the game’s ability to deliver its characteristic style of play. After more than a month, the game is still unfriendly and hard to play as a result. Only huge fans of this style of shooter should mess with this title right now.Score: 4 -- Below Average (4s have some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst games, but are difficult to recommend.) 
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I like it when a small amount of bullets kill an enemy. Any game that markets itself as realistic must have this essential property. I’m often surprised that the majority of games don’t do this. Take Far Cry 2 for...

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SOCOM's stability is still a threat, patch to eliminate coming soon


Oct 21
// Brad Nicholson
The majority of people who played SOCOM: Confrontation have reported many of the same problems that the beta had. Disconnections, long loading times, and even game freezes have been reported since the first hour of release. S...
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SOCOM: Confrontation now available on PSN, also MotorStorm Pacific Rift demo


Oct 16
// Brad Nicholson
If you didn’t know, PlayStation Store was down for a few hours today. It is now back up and packed with a bunch of new content. The premiere addition to the store today (and possibly the reason it was down) was the full...
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Get your blasting skills ready: SOCOM Confrontation gameplay


Oct 15
// Conrad Zimmerman
[video]107704:556[/video]SOCOM Confrontation hits stores this week and Sony wants to entice you into buying it with a few gameplay trailers. This first one features some basic multiplayer action, while two additional videos a...

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