SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3
With two PSP entries under its belt, SCEA’s SOCOM US Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo franchise ranks among the premiere shooters on the system, benefiting from great controls and comprehensive multiplayer features. Now, Sony and developer Slant Six Games have released the third entry, Fireteam Bravo 3 to PSP owners everywhere.
Fireteam Bravo 3 is definitely a different beast from its predecessors, sporting a more streamlined and simplified set of gameplay mechanics, doing away with a great deal of the game’s tactical depth in favor of a more action-oriented (read: less strategic) approach. While this might work for newcomers who want to get in on the action right away, the series vets will take issue with the easy single-player campaign and lack of overall depth.
In Fireteam Bravo 3, you’ll play as Wraith, the leader of your four-person SEAL unit. You are put behind Soviet lines in order to find a missing mole that has lost contact with his superiors. Your team goes in alone, working covertly and silently (with no contact from HQ) in order to figure out the mole’s status and discern what went wrong. Things take a quick turn for the worse when one of your SEALs is taken hostage, complicating matters a lot more.
The game’s squad controls have been made much easier than in previous iterations. Your character will be able to have command over each of his units by holding down the circle button to pull open your command radial. By simply pushing the circle button, you’ll be able to send your units to wherever you are currently aiming. This is a fine addition, cleaning up the controls quite a bit.
Unfortunately, the simplicity doesn’t really end there. Mission objectives are pretty streamlined and lack the complexity of previous Fireteam Bravo games, often having you simply moving from one point to another clearing out hostiles. There are secondary missions to be found, but these rarely move beyond searching out buildings for Intel and persons of interest. Additionally, the lock-on mechanic makes these engagements far from engaging, as many of the weapon load-outs are more than capable of taking out enemies from a good distance without having to take the time to aim properly. This and the linear nature of the mission design makes this a very easy single-player experience. It doesn’t help matters that the campaign is pretty short, clocking in at a little under the six hour mark.
However, while the single-player missions may leave a bit to be desired, the multiplayer delivers in spades. The game boasts a solid four-player co-op mode (a first for the PSP system), and myriad competitive modes, including classic modes like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch, as well as modes like Escort and Demolition that shake things up. The modes also run very solidly without lag. Couple that with voice chat capabilities and you’ve got a great multiplayer experience that technically rivals anything you’d see on a console.
Graphically, Fireteam Bravo 3 is a solid looking title. The character models look pretty good for a PSP game, and the environments are well-detailed. The action also unfolds at a smooth clip as well.
The sound is also very good. The music does a great job of setting the stage for the game’s theme and general mood, and the voice acting is solid. The sound effects are also well done, aside from a few instances of cutting out.
While Fireteam Bravo 3’s single-player campaign is short, easy, and pretty drab, the competitive multiplayer element really helps carry the experience. Just don’t expect the level of depth as other SOCOM games.
Review Scoring Details for SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3
While the controls are as solid as ever (a feat considering the PSP’s limitations in this area), the game’s single-player element lacks the creative spark of the previous iterations. The game feels very simplified compared to the other titles, and the overall brevity of the campaign and its ease makes for a somewhat lackluster experience.
Fireteam Bravo is a pretty sweet looking game, with nice character models, detailed environments, and a smooth clip.
The music and sound effects are both very solid, and the game features some quality voice work to boot.
The story is a bit of a drag, and the simplistic nature of the gameplay might turn off series stalwarts.
Certainly the high point of the experience, the game’s multiplayer is comprehensive and runs very solidly on the system with minimal lag.
While the game’s single-player campaign isn’t as fleshed out as we would’ve hoped and the mechanics have been overly simplified, the game’s solid multiplayer definitely gives it some long-lasting legs.