Released last fall, SOCOM
Fireteam Bravo on the PSP ranks as one of the premier titles for the handheld.
With a ton of content and gameplay that rivals it’s console brethren, the PSP
entry in Sony’s hugely-popular SOCOM franchise was a huge hit, and showcased the
PSP’s viability as the handheld system that could provide more than just shoddy
ports of PS2 games. Now, work is underway for the sequel, SOCOM Fireteam Bravo
2. Sony’s not sitting on their laurels for this one however, as the game is
looking to up the ante in terms of gameplay and features. We at GameZone were
recently given a chance to sit down with the single-player portion of the game,
and from what we’ve seen, SOCOM’s sophomore entry on the PSP should be yet
another solid entry in the successful franchise.
While the game plays quite
similarly to last year’s incarnation, albeit for a few key additions. The
single-player mission that we previewed took place at the site of a helicopter
crash that was swarming with enemies. The concentrated enemy presence made one
of the new elements very handy, and that was the ability to call airstrikes.
Performing the action is a snap, as you just have to paint the target for a
little bit and then your airstrike is on the way to clear out a section.
Another new element is
non-lethal weapons that you can use to subdue enemies without killing them.
These include shotguns with bean-bag shells that will knock an enemy down and
allow you to close in and detain them. This can add to your rating at the end of
the mission, and grant you a better score and more experience.
The experience in the game is
divided two ways, with command equity and local influence giving you two
different kinds of bonuses in missions. Command equity deals with your
professional efficiency in missions (how well you complete them), while local
influence depends on your tactfulness, like how many buildings you destroy and
innocents you kill and so on. While command equity can give you more assets like
supply drops and other outside assists, local influence presents itself through
the help that you receive from local people privy to your cause. They can help
you out in a variety of ways, from revealing enemy positions to more black
market weapon options.
SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 2 will
also feature some interesting PS2 connectivity options with the upcoming SOCOM:
Combined Assault. As the games both occur within the same time frame and
location, the missions will be similar to the point that completing a mission on
the PSP version will yield results on the PS2 version.
Graphically, SOCOM Fireteam
Bravo 2 looks every bit as good as its predecessor, with clean player models and
great environments. Also, the game moved quite fluidly, save for only a few
instances of slowdown when the action gets intense.
The real focus of the SOCOM
series has always been the multiplayer, which was unfortunately MIA from the
preview build. However, judging from the single-payer gameplay, SOCOM Fireteam
Bravo 2 is shaping up to be a worthy addition to the franchise and should be one
to look out for this November.