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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Socom: Fireteam Bravo

I've been playing Socom: Fireteam Bravo for PSP over the last week or so, anything to try to wash the bad taste of Patapon out of my gaming mind.... actually I kept trying to go back to Patapon, and just getting frustrated over & over again, so I had to break the cycle I was locked into.

I bought Socom: Fireteam Bravo spring(?) 2008, "new" at EB games for something like $9.69! It was during their killer sales, where I picked up a bunch of Wii & PSP games for under $10.00... for that price, I can afford to take a chance on a game I'm iffy about.

Oddly enough, uploading the boxart for this post is the first time I've really taken a good look at the box cover for this game. I know I've looked at it, but I never really looked at it closely, because I didn't realise what a CHEESY image it was! Wow. What is that?? It's like he's going, "Lookee lookee thassa big missell!! Let's go git it!! YOOOOO JOOOOOOOOE!!!!" Seriously, that is some bad game box art.

But delve into the actual game, I have to say Socom: Fireteam Bravo is not bad. It's alright. I'm not a huge fan of military shooters; I prefer sci-fi shooters rather than just army guys. But if a game is a good game, it's a good game. A really good game can surpass its genre & reach out to me even if I'm not a big fan of that genre. The Syphon Filter games are great examples of that; also military shooters, but they are great games.

Unfortunately, because of the high quality standard set by Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror/Logan's Shadow, Socom: Fireteam Bravo pales in comparison. Like I said, it's not a bad game at all. But there's more to the SF games that are in this similar genre & it's hard to help but compare the 2 game franchises when Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror kinda stomps on it in terms of gameplay and graphics.

Socom: Fireteam Bravo is a 3rd person shooter, you have a AI controlled buddy who "helps" you with missions. The missions usually consist of eliminating terrorist, securing intel, and/or rescuing/escorting hostages. This game came out the first year that the PSP was released (in North America), 2005. There are a few PSP launch titles that still stand the test of time, even today their graphics & gameplay are so good-- like Wipeout Pure & Ridge Racer. Unfortunately, while Socom: Fireteam Bravo must've been impressive back in 2005, is less so today. It doesn't look awful, but it also doesn't look that great. I have a demo for Socom: Fireteam Bravo 2 on my PSP, I loaded that up to play and it looks a LOT better than the first game. If one had a choice between Socom: Fireteam Bravo 1 or Socom: Fireteam Bravo 2, they were the same price, I'd totally recommend getting 2. I haven't played it beyond the demo, but it looks like a vast improvement in the overall polish while staying with the same core gameplay.

Beyond the graphics, it's a fairly standard shooter. Because there's no 2nd analogue nub on the PSP, moving & aiming can be cumbersome. The default control is the same as Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron: analogue nub = move, R button for strafe, L button to lock on target. I prefer putting it into freelook mode where the analogue nub controls the camera, hold down R button to move. But with that you can't really look and move at the same time. So it's a bit clunky.

Socom: Fireteam Bravo "crosstalks" with Socom 3 for the PS2. What this is is you can collect bonus info, like pick up plans for side missions that can be unlocked in Socom 3 when you hook your PSP up to your PS2, and vice-versa. This is one of the rare games that has PSP/PS2 interactivity, and it sounds pretty cool. Obviously I don't own a PS2 or Socom 3, but when you complete this crosstalk stuff, you'll get more info for upcoming missions. I noticed there were missions in Socom: Fireteam Bravo where I didn't have any map intel, and I'm guessing that if I had completed some crosstalk bonuses in Socom 3, I'd have had that extra intel for the PSP game. But it isn't necessary, and it doesn't make you feel like the game is less complete for not having the other game. It seems like a good feature that I wish more game series employed.

But then again, the only way such a feature would be useful to me is if it allowed my PSP to crosstalk with my Wii or Xbox. Like that's ever gonna happen. :::sad:::

Yeah, Socom: Fireteam Bravo is not bad. Totally worth the under $10.00 I paid. Though if I had a choice, I would've gone with Socom: Fireteam Bravo 2. If you're a core or casual military shooter fan with a PSP, it's worth picking up.

Gamespot gameplay video:


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