SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs Hands-On Preview - Bomb Squad

GDC 2011: We manage to not get blown to pieces during our hands-on demo of SOCOM 4's new multiplayer mode.

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We're close now to the release of SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy Seals, and to keep the excitement up, developer Zipper Interactive has finally revealed its final multiplayer mode: Bomb Squad. At this year's Game Developers Conference here in San Francisco, we got the chance to go hands-on for a few rounds of this explosive new mode.

In Bomb Squad there are two teams: those who have the bombs and those who want to diffuse them. If you're the team with the bombs, then it's your job to keep all three of them primed and ready to blow. However, if you're the opposing team, then you have to deactivate these explosives before the timer runs out. To do this, one lucky member of the bomb diffusion team will be chosen to play as the bomb technician. Decked out in the bulky explosive ordnance disposal suit, the bomb technician is the only character who can diffuse the bombs. He is also a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, armed with the only automatic shotgun in the game, as well as a handheld grenade launcher.

During our time with Bomb Squad we weren't lucky enough to land the coveted position of bomb technician. However, we were still on the bomb diffusion team, so it was our duty to protect the explosives specialist at all costs. In practice, this mode didn't feel much different from a typical Deathmatch mode. When the bomb technician isn't busy diffusing a bomb, which leaves him both out in the open and highly vulnerable, he is powerful enough to take care of himself. We just went about killing enemies as usual until he would call out for us to cover him while he performed his duty. Otherwise, all we had to do was hunt down enemy troops and drop them before they dropped us.

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At the start of a round it felt like the bomb diffusion team had a definite advantage. The enemy forces would split up in an effort to cover all three of their bomb sites while our team focused its efforts on a single target. And while we quickly disabled the first two bombs, the tables turned when we got down to the final one. Now the enemy knew exactly where we were going to strike. What followed was a frenzy of bullets and death as our two sides crashed and broke against each other over the longest three-minute countdown of our lives.

And just like in our previous cooperative session, the action was fast and frantic. Granted, we weren't playing on the game's more punishing Classic setting, where some of the modern perks, such as regenerating health and respawning, are removed. Whatever your preference, you can find SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs on the PlayStation on April 19.

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