I don't think any hardcore Socom fan out there would argue if I were to say that the maps for Socom and Socom II were some of the greatest maps ever to come out of an online shooter. They were set up with so much thought, not too open and not too enclosed, and the size was just right with what you were going to be doing.
When Zipper Inc. announced Socom 3 and that they were going to introduce bigger maps that would hold 32 people to a room, everyone was excited about it. Even myself jumped aboard that bandwagon. Big maps have continued in the Socom franchise on to Socom: Confrontation. There really has not been much change in how these big maps work. With patches some of the problems, such as lag has been helped in some aspects. Though it is still there and more noticeable in large maps compared to the smaller maps and that is how it has always been with Socom sense they gave us the choice of big or small maps. Another issue I have found with big maps is there is a lot more open space and harder to get around while being able to be mostly unnoticed while moving from one place to another throughout the map. They have gotten better about this from Socom 3 to Socom: Confrontation, but there is still a lot of open space in most big maps that seem like Slant Six just had no idea what they could possibly put in there. Sometimes (mostly Socom 3) you could literally get sniped out of your spawn within seconds of starting a round. I ask you this, what fun is that? Which leads me to the weapons, because the maps are bigger, the weapons have to have a larger draw distance, which means bullets fly further to hit targets. That is completely understandable, there is nothing wrong with that, but when you use those same weapons on a smaller map, the draw distance is still the same. Then there is the camping situation; people and camping on Socom go hand and hand, which in a lot of situations is what you have to do. I have no big problem with camping, but in larger maps and there is one guy against, say three or four guys. It should not take forever for these guys to run around to find that one lone camper.
On smaller maps, there is less people and the lag issue is not has high. The game play runs a little bit smoother. People don't complain as much and I am sure there is a lot less controllers being thrown across the room. There is lag and it does get frustrating, but not as much and not as often. Socom 2 had its fair share of lag and those were all small maps, but a lot has been changed with gaming in different areas. For example, on the PlayStation 2 all the servers you used to play games like Socom on, the developers of the games put up and that was all. Were as now with the PlayStation 3, Sony also has servers up to be used and in some cases is what is used for games without developers putting up servers. This has been an extreme help for online play from one generation of gaming to another. I would even go as far to say that there would have been a lot less lag in Socom II, if Sony had put more into the online gaming of PlayStation 2. The areas on small maps are a lot more condensed and filled up with more stuff, making it easier to get around without being spotted. There are still open areas, but they are not as open and not as far between things to hide behind as you make your way through the map. You still get people that camp, but it is not a statewide manhunt to find the person and does not take nearly as long to do so. Take Crossroads small for example; there are maybe four or five notorious hiding spots that people use to camp out a match (the Bell Tour). Where larger maps there is a ton more places the person could be. Taking that much longer to find the person. The draw distance on weapons was perfect for the map, as they are for big maps. But if you are going to change the draw distance for guns to fit for big maps, then you should change the draw distance for guns back for small maps, not leave them the same. It wouldn't make sense to try shooting someone on a large map with a gun that is made for a small map and it doesn't make sense to be able to use a gun made for big maps on a small map.
The fun value is so different also, you wait so much longer in rooms of big maps when you die and the rounds take so much loner. With small maps you don't wait as long, usually. You don't have to sit and watch others play the game for long periods of time compared to when playing big maps. The objectives on small maps are perfect for the size, you do what you have to and are done, or fail and then other team wins. On large maps there is times that just doing the objectives that are set up for the map take forever. If someone gets almost to the point of where they plant the bomb and die, your team then has to try to take the bomb all the way back to the other side of the map. In small maps that is quick and fast, big maps you have a lot more running to do and can be more painful for those dead and can only watch. Also with big maps there is a lot more people, which means a lot more stuff going on. It can get so chaotic that you don't know what is going on or who is shooting whom. Small maps have just about the right amount of people that the game is not too chaotic, yet still has plenty of action going on to keep you more than entertained, and also makes calling things out a lot easier.
I remember the old days of playing Socom, before large maps even existed. Now there is too much being added and people keep wanting more and more. Keep it simple, keep it easy and keep it small.