Another wrong turn puts this Revolutionary franchise in a coma.
Starting with the incredibly short and cliche campaign, the player controls an Operations Commander and his team consisting of 4 other NATO soldiers. Two of said operators are in fact SEALs believe it or not. Gone are the days of commanding an actual squad of SEALs, and now we simply tell these AI operators who to kill using the D-pad. Nothing more, nothing less.
The campaign features a story this time around, poorly written and unimmersive I might add, leading to a completely linear single player mode without any plan of attack. It is simply the five of you against the terrorists (oh no! Did I say SEALs are combating terrorists?!?!) and mercenaries of South East Asia. If the player tries to use the SEAL trademark stealth to complete any mission aside form 45's, well let's just say this "You're gonna have a bad time". As one enemy goes down via knife or suppressed weapon, EVERYONE is magically alerted, and so begins the Call of Duty wave after wave of enemies until the game decides enough is enough.
On a positive note the stealth mission completed as the operative "45" are fairly enjoyable, though much too easy and rather unbelievable as the terrorists eye sights are so bad if not worse than that of a blind man.
Moving on to the online spectrum of things, another complete overhaul specifically done to try and attract audiences from the popular shooter franchises. As I mentioned earlier, instead of trying to win over gamers by trying to stand out as they've done so well in the past, Zipper interactive added an OTS view, knife melee, sprint button, weapon mod system and grenade button (excluding the grenade arc). What SOCOM 4 essentially is, is a Frankenstein of Call f Duty, Battlefield, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. If any of you reading this enjoy any of those three games, stick with them because SOCOM is a downgraded version of each one.
Due to the addition of the sharpshooter, which I have not had the displeasure of trying, the recoil system is an absolte wreck rendering every bullet leaving the muzzle a totally random misfire with the exception of the first shot. Essentially there is no recoil and bullets simply spray all over the reticle creating an incredible amount of random headshot it actually IS funny.
The maps are really nothing to rave about, especially since the poor camera work makes the smaller and more close quarters maps very difficult to enjoy. SOCOM 4 has brought back a few original maps, in Bitter Jungle, The Ruins and Abandoned (which no one plays anyway), but the game modes and standard round based gameplay (now labeled classic) that everyone knew and loved are all of a sudden gone. Demolition was later implemented as DLC, but the damage had already been done. This community has been one of, if not the tightest community I've ever been a part of in gaming. Each SOCOM as passionate as the next, and it shows in sales of SOCOM 4. Zipper had the chance to bring back many old faces, those faces spreading the word to introduce new faces; however, creating a game that everyone already has was not the way to do it.
Now let's look at the good in SOCOM 4. The graphics is really the only positive feature I can find in this game. Using past SOCOM games and present shooters as a base, this is really the only spot where SOCOM shines. Let's get real though, what game doesn't have solid graphics now?
I can't give this game anymore than it states itself, a 4. An unimmersive campaign, with poor online features and gameplay as well as absurd language for reasons unknown that just throw the player curveballs throughout the game making him/her think.... "Why did he just say that?" SOCOM 4 is a downgrade from even SOCOM Confrontation, exceeding it in only the graphics department. If you are on the edge of buying a new SOCOM game for the multiplayer, go with SOCOM: Confrontation. If you are looking for a single player experience, don't expect the highly tactical, worldwide experience deliverd by the first three on the Playstation 2. I highly recommend you look elsewhere for a fun campaign.