SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 2

Review

posted 12/21/2006 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
Despite the fact that Fireteam Bravo 2 has a somewhat complex control scheme, it ends up being perfect for this type of game. Once you’ve mastered the controls you will have no trouble taking down any and all of the terrorists that get in your way in the single player mode. Better yet, you’ll be ready to jump into the game’s real selling point … the online mode.
 
The SOCOM series has never been about the single-player experience; no matter if it’s on the PlayStation 2 or the PSP, SOCOM is a series that is all about having an amazing online component that will have you coming back time and time again. Fireteam Bravo 2 is no exception, it takes everything that was great about last year’s game and adds new levels, weapons and even more addictive multiplayer modes. If you’re looking for a great online game for your PSP then you can’t go wrong with Fireteam Bravo 2.
 
Just like the first game, Fireteam Bravo 2 allows two teams of eight to join a room and blow the stuffing out of each other. The game offers 12 brand new maps and seven different game modes, so chances are good you won’t get tired of SOCOM’s multiplayer experience any time soon. If you’re a series veteran then you’ll be happy to see the inclusion of a couple of new game types, including the tug of war (where the teams rush back and forth trying to capture control points), target (a mode where you try to capture a control point for as long as you can) and intel grab (a team variation on the capture the flag formula). With so many different multiplayer modes you should be able to find a room that offers you the type of game you want, no matter what kind of mood you’re in.
 
One of the biggest improvements to the online mode has nothing to do with the maps or game modes; instead it’s the ability to talk without having to hold a button.   This may not sound like that big of a deal, but if you’ve played older SOCOM titles you will no doubt know that it can sometimes be a little tricky to get your point across. Past SOCOM games (including last year’s Fireteam Bravo title) only allowed one person to talk at once, and when you finally did get to speak you had to hold a button and had a ridiculous time limit. Thankfully this problem has been fixed in Fireteam Bravo 2. The only downside is that you will have to buy the PSP headset separately, but if you’re serious about playing this game online then there’s no reason to avoid this $20 investment.
 
Regardless of whether you’re online or off, SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 2 looks incredible. The graphics haven’t improved much since last year’s game, but that’s a testament to how great the original game looked. If you want to nitpick you could say that the game doesn’t have quite the same punch as its console counterpart, some of the graphics can be a bit grainy and the frame rate does dip when there is a lot of action on screen at the same time. But when you see how great the levels look you will be able to forgive some of the game’s minor graphical shortcomings. The outdoor areas are beautifully captured, with stunning detail and all kinds of variety. I actually prefer the look of this game over the original, but I have a hunch it has more to do with the fact that the overall level designs are more interesting this time around.
 
Even with great graphics and large levels, SOCOM’s load times are remarkably short. A lot has been said about the PSP’s long load times, so I’m just happy to see that one company was able to get it right and not make us wait too long to enjoy the game. This doesn’t affect the overall game play much, but it’s definitely refreshing to see a PSP game with short, almost unnoticeable load times.
 
Like its predecessor, Fireteam Bravo 2 offers more than enough reasons to recommend it. For one low price you will get an amazing single-player experience and enough online modes to keep you busy until Fireteam Bravo 3 ships. At some point I hope that Zipper finds a way of turning the series on its head and offering something completely new and fresh, but for now I’m content with the traditional SOCOM experience … especially when it’s this good.
 



B+
SOCOM hasn’t changed much since we saw it last year, but who cares when Fireteam Bravo 2 is so much fun? With its satisfying single-player experience and addictive online modes this is one game that is extremely easy to recommend, no matter what type of gamer you are.


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