Monday, March 31, 2008
And on top of that, ALL previously released map packs are now free!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Joe Rybicki did an amazing job writing that 10-page piece. It details a lot of new stuff about the game and at the same time does a great job at proving to me that this is in fact the SOCOM game we've been waiting for. From the sounds of things, SCE and Slant Six did a lot of research into what made SOCOM 1/2 great, and what the hardcore fans want out of a new one, while still being able to introduce new, innovative, features that only help to evolve the experience rather than change it.
Some of these new things that really stand out for me are;
- The chat system - if you're playing with your clan, voice chat will be open for your clan only, but you can still hit L2 to talk to everyone on the team, and proximity chat is in full effect for your team AND enemies (so if an enemy is close by and you're chatting, they will hear it). This is something I've discussed in the past and I'm so glad it's being implemented.
- The handling of snipers in this no-fog experience - since its explained quite clearly that there is no fog in the updated Crossroads, instead of snipers taking over the map they have introduced a ton of new areas for cover on the ground. This way, snipers will really only be effective from above, and not at street-level (ie: no more proning on the street at the spawn and waiting for people to run around the corner with no place to hide). Also, this will create epic sniping battles between rooftops.
- The expanded Crossroads - what initially seemed like an afterthought actually has me kind of excited to try out 32 player rooms on expanded maps. For the expanded version of Crossroads, the outer ring introduces a new tower and a couple of interesting spawn points, while still keeping the layout intimate and close-quarters.
- The sprint - initially the idea of changing something about the gameplay scared me. But the way the sprint is explained actually makes it sound like a necessity and something that will fit perfectly into SOCOM. You can't just run around the entire map mowing down enemies. First of all, you can't shoot while running and when you are finished a sprint your character has a few seconds where he needs to bring his gun back in a firing position, a precious few seconds that you wouldn't have if an enemies rounds a corner right in front of you as you are in mid-sprint.
- The party system - First of all, the classic lobby setup is still present, thank god, but the way they are handling ranked matches with parties seems like a great addition to me. It sounds very much like Resistance, where you will create a party and the game will then go through a match-making process to place you into a ranked match. And this is really only essential to improve your entire clan ranking. Both Ranked and Unranked games have their own set of statistics, so even if you only want to stick with 'Unranked', you will still be privy to all of the statistical data that would be recorded from a Ranked match.
Honestly, after reading the article there really isn't much I can complain about. I guess the one thing I'm not too hot on is the return of Control Points, which I always felt was a mode that never seemed to 'fit' into the SOCOM universe, and honestly wasn't very fun to play.
Anyways, this issue is a must buy. In addition to the 10 page article there are some great screen shots showing how they've expanded Crossroads, great shots of the new map 'Urban Wasteland' (a working title which I hope they change to something that sounds like a SOCOM map), and great gameplay shots as well. I didn't see any of traditional 3rd-person mode, but they made it clear that traditional 3rd-person is STILL IN THE GAME. So don't worry.
P.S. And I almost forgot, remember that topic that Joe made about a month ago where some of our replies would make it into the magazine? Well, my comment is in there as well as a few others. I don't want to spoil who else though, so you better pick up the issue to see if your comment was chosen!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
-You can roll or underhand a grenade with real physics
-You can lean your guy with the six-axis instead of the d-pad
-There is proximity chat
-Your clan can talk via open chat, but you can L2 to chat to everyone on your team. Or if you have proximity chat then you chat with who ever is around you.
-Audio has changed. Sounds around a corner sound muffled.
-There is now a run/sprint mode. You can run/sprint but you can’t shoot and your gun will not be accurate after running. So basically just use this too avoid snipers.
-Tilt with the six-axis can be tweaked for sensitivity
-There are exploding barrels and cars.
-View distance is big, so no more fog like SOCOM 2
-Smoke looks dark gray
-They talk about the 3rd person view. They said because the new widescreen TVs have a different ratio, there was too much space on each side of the classic view.
-"Sony's Seth Luisi says, "Because it was more centered towards 4:3 TVs, and now going to 16:9, we have a lot more area off to the sides."
-You can go up on roofs
GAME SETUP & INFO
-Crossroads is bigger than the original
-They are bringing back a new game mode. "Elimination" its like SOCOM 2, kill the whole other team or take a draw
-Crossroads (ps3) has an extra outer ring that the ps2 didn't have. There are two towers now.
-Confrontation is 32 players but you can make smaller maps for 16 players total.
-Improved clan support
-Ranked matches are automated. If you want to set up your own room with specifics (no grenades, etc) it won’t be ranked. This stops cheaters and rank ups.
-"You can no longer set up a match exactly defined to your team’s exact strengths and create a honeypot to raise your clan ranking. For your clan to have a global ranking you now have to be a rounded team with good strategies for dealing with all the maps. Now, you can build all the custom games you want - the room system is still there, which I know is really important to SOCOM fans. You can do all your clan tryouts and training in those rooms, and even playing within those games aggregates different stats, because we track a lot of information about the player. But it doesn't directly go into the global clan ladder." –Seth Luisi
-There will be 7 maps total at launch. All maps will be based in North Africa
-There is an underground map that has a collapse parttriggered by the enemy
-Clan support will be available on socom.com where the leader can change their clan, add players etc.
-There will be a party system so your clan will join the same game.
-The other map that is shown in the article is called URBAN WASTELAND it takes place around a high rise hotel, but it mentions you have access to just the first few stories. It has an underground tunnel network and has some bridges and stuff. There is a multileveled parking garage. This is the same one that was shown in previous screenshots released on the web.
-They are planning on having a new headset for SOCOM.
-It also shows the online numbers of the SOCOM franchise aswell as 2 screenshots from SOCOM 1 & 2
-THERE WILL BE A CLOSED BETA. I think it said they will seekpeople out through SOCOM.com
-Closed beta going on "right now or May"
-Open beta after that.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
P.S. We are looking for a select few to provide early feedback on SOCOM: Confrontation in an upcoming Private Beta test. Only the top contributors at the Official SOCOM Blog will be selected. We are on the look out for people who have intense knowledge of all the previous SOCOM games and can also demonstrate their leadership in the Message Boards and Comments section. More details soon.Very nice!
There is now another reason to get involved and add to the community if you haven't already.
So it looks like I'll be running into some competition :p , but don't worry because in addition to SOCOM news I'll continue to offer a different voice with a look from the eye of a hardcore SOCOM nut. And you should all be proud that our cries were heard and we are finally getting the much needed attention from Sony that this community has needed for a long time.
We're also treated to a upped-res version of 1up's new screenshot from SOCOM.com:
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Q: First of all, thank you for doing this.
Q: What is your current position at Ziff Davis, and can you tell us a bit about your history in video game media?
Well, I'm part of the stable of regular freelancers for Ziff, which means I don't really have a "position" with them per se anymore. I started doing freelance after OPM closed in November 2006 -- before that I was with OPM since its launch in 1997, and with its predecessor P.S.X. for about a year before that; I started in June of 1996. This was right out of college. And by "right out of" I mean, "two weeks after graduation." I was very, very lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Q: When did you first play a SOCOM game and what were your first impressions?
This would have been at an E3 over a year before the first game launched. So, probably E3 of 2000? Sony had started talking up their online initiative for the PS2, and was showing this SEALs game. And let me tell you: It. Was. AWFUL. The game ran at about 10 frames per second, the whole thing looked muddy and choppy and just kind of goofy. I saw what they were going for with the realism, but it was obviously taxing the system way too hard, and the whole voice-command thing seemed like a cheesy gimmick that didn't work all that well.
So, fast forward a year to E3 2001. I get assigned to cover the game again, and go into the demo dreading what I'm about to see. And it turns out they fixed really just about everything I had griped about. I remember seeing how you could hide in a bush and basically be completely invisible to other players, and just getting so thrilled by the idea. I was pretty much hooked from that point on.
Q: What is it about these games to you that have made them so addictive?
I think it's the fact that SOCOM is one of the few shooters in which strategy is really more important (or at least can be) than raw manual skill. Yeah, if you're an insanely good shot you're going to do well, of course; but you can also do well by picking great hiding spots, planting mines in the right places, picking the right weapon for your play style, learning to lob grenades where (and when) you want them to go -- and more importantly, working together with your team. I don't know of any other game I've played where communication is as important as it is in SOCOM.
Q: Do you still ever get online and play a few rounds in SOCOM 1 or 2?
Every once in a blue moon, but it's very, very rare these days. I did just play S2 last weekend, and I was amazed by how quickly I could get back into the groove. This was after not having played in probably two years. By contrast, I jumped onto Halo 3 that night after not playing for just a couple months, and repeatedly got my ass handed to me. Different games, of course, but it was a pretty striking contrast.
Q: How would you rank the SOCOM console games, in terms of your favourite to least favourite?
Definitely S2 in the top spot. But here's where I'll piss off your readers: I'd almost always rather play S3 than S1 -- mainly because S2 and S1 are so similar. If I want the old-school style I'll play S2, if I want new-school I'll play S3.
Q: What are your top 3 favourite online SOCOM maps (over any of the games)?
Hrm. I'm not sure I can rank these, because my favorites change depending on how I feel like playing at any given time. But I'd say Abandoned has always been one of my favorites, in part because I got so good at tossing grenades through the windows of that center structure...I really liked the way Enowapi could play out with very good players on both sides...and Desert Glory was one of those that allowed for so many different play styles that I always had fun with it. I also really liked Last Bastion, but didn't get as much chance to play it as the others 'cause of the way it was distributed. If only more of you had bought those issues of OPM with the maps on them!
Yes, I'm kidding, of course.
I'll also say that I never liked Rat's Nest and always actively hated Fish Hook. I have no idea why people still play that map. And Crossroads? It's fine and all, but I honestly don't get what exactly it is about that map that everyone loves so much. I like it fine, but it's probably not even in my top five.
Q: What are your thoughts about the direction Zipper took with SOCOM 3?
At first, I really liked it. It seemed to me that it totally brought the SOCOM feel into a vehicle-based game. But once I brought it home, it sorta just sat on my shelf. I think the problem might have been that addition of vehicles tipped the balance back toward raw skill and away from strategy. I think this was exacerbated by the huge size of the levels, which made it harder to work together with your whole team...or at least, people in the games I played seemed disinclined to work together.
Q: Do you like the direction Slant Six took with the PSP SOCOM game, Tactical Strike?
Loved the idea, but damn did I have problems with the execution. I really hope they do a sequel, if only to get rid of all the problems. Here's my review if you're interested in the whole story: http://www.1up.com/do/reviewPage?cId=3164139&p=7
Q: You're one of the few people I've come across in the popular media who really seem to 'get' SOCOM and the community. Do you think the media has largely ignored this franchise over the years? If so, why do you think that is?
You know, I never really got the sense that SOCOM was ignored in the gaming media, but of course my perspective is unusual. If it was, it's probably because the Xbox side was all about Halo for so long, and the PC side was all about Counter-Strike or whatnot. Or maybe it's because Microsoft was launching XBL right around that time and that became more of a focus for online play. I dunno. I've always wondered why people aren't as right as me.
Q: Its safe to say that the SOCOM community was shocked when SOCOM Confrontation was announced and it sounded like our prayers might finally be answered. What were your initial thoughts after the announcement?
First: "OH HELL YES MORE SOCOM!" Second: "OH GOD WHY IS IT SO UGLY?"
I had to forcibly remind myself of my experience with the first game, and that Confrontation was still way, way early. (And yeah, those new screens you've seen? Those aren't touched up. The game really does look that much better than the first screens.) Just a couple hours after they showed it, I got to sit down with Seth Luisi, who's the director of development for the franchise, and once he'd given me all the details about wanting to get back to the feel of the first games and so on, I was very, very excited. I didn't even mind that it looked like ass.
Q: We know you can't say anything at this point, but since you were one of the first people outside of Slant Six and Sony, to play SOCOM Confrontation, I have to ask, can you give us a one-word description of your time with the game?
Q: Thank you for your time. The community is eagerly awaiting your article.
No problem! Don't forget to go buy EGM instead of just reading all the details when they're inevitably leaked online, so that they can continue to hire me to write features for them. :)
It brings a tear to my eye, a tear of pure happiness. :D
It's almost here!
With the help of people from neogaf and the playstation.com boards, we've discovered that the points in those 4 black boxes say;
- Playing 32 Player battles
- Deep Player customization
- Upgraded Clan System
- and lots more inside
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Just to be clear though, I will NOT be posting any scans but I will post news that happens to arise from the article. So the second I get a speck of free time you can bet that I will be online, ready and willing, to post anything new.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Check it out!
The EGM issue is almost here :)
From the 1up story:
Joining a special force is now a perk associated with joining a clan; solo players will still be able to play as either commandos or mercenaries, but special forces (and their associated uniforms, gear, and weapons) will only be available to clan members.I can't say I'm liking the sound of that. Just giving any player some sort of advantage like that as in, more weapons) is ridiculous, and against what SOCOM is about. Everyone should be on a level playing field and your experience, playing style, and skill is what should set you apart.
Hopefully there is more to it then what was said.
On second thought, it wouldn't be much different than when terrorists and seals had different weapon selections. But I still wouldn't want it to be based on what equipment we are wearing (ie: if I prefer the look of SAS, I don't want to be stuck with only SAS weapons). So I hope that isn't the case.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
You'll notice that it lists a SOCOM Confrontation trailer for late April and a SOCOM Confrontation July release. Take it with a grain a salt as for now it remains a rumor, and even if it wasn't dates are always subject to change. So don't mark your calendars just yet! Only a couple more weeks till the EGM cover story.
This is a community effort so every little bit that you add helps.
I just wanted to let you folks know that there is a new SOCOM Wiki on Wikia Gaming. This is a community tool and is left completely in your hands.
If you like working on Wikis or if you just know all there is to know about the SOCOM franchise, stop by and contribute something. This page has just been started and needs tons of work. There are tutorials available on the site if you need help figuring out how to add to or edit it.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Hey, folks-I have to step in here and let you know this was not an official release of information from us. The official word I got from those above me is: "To date no announcement has been made for a new PS3 headset or PSP GPS, any information you have received is speculation and rumor. And SCEA has yet to set a launch date, but will do so in the near future."That's all I can say on the matter right now and I can answer no other questions here or in IM. Thanks for your understanding.
According to a user on neogaf, who is getting this from someone at "PS3forums", the official PS3 headset is hitting in July or August, and you will be able to buy it separately or in a bundle with SOCOM Confrontation:
Provides High-fidelity audio input to PS3
Supports “voice command” in certain PS3 games
Easy pairing through USB connection with PS3
Comes with docking station for easy charging
Compatible with cellphones
Consumers who want to communicate while in-game
Standalone – $49.99 MSRP; SOCOM: Confrontation bundle - $59.99 MSRP
GREAT stuff! I've been waiting for Sony to finally do this. Doesn't seem like voice chat is as prevalent on PS3 as they would have hoped, and I know an official headset is going to help change that.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
There isn't any clothing listed yet, but when there is I'll be sure to let you know.
Now it's a hell of a lot easier to tell people about the site. Spread the word!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
It wasn't really clear to me that the media didn't understand this franchise until SOCOM 3 hit...and it got amazing reviews. One of my favourite (as in so obscenely obtuse) lines being from the IGN review of SOCOM 3, "SOCOM 3 is packed to the brim with new features, content, game types and more that will no doubt quench the parched thirst of SOCOM fans everywhere"...lol ya right. It should have been blasted.
SOCOM 1/2 have a ton of depth, some of the best maps ever in any online shooter (built around 1 mode, incredibly unique, amazingly paced, asymmetrical, so many 'spots' that players could get to that in many cases weren't discovered until months after release, etc), great gunplay, the best online lobby system I've ever experienced, round-based gameplay that is a lot different than what you see in most shooters, and an incredibly dedicated community on top of all that. Even with all it's technical issues (frame rate drops, hit detection problems, occasional network issues that caused you to drop) the people who got into it were able to look past those issues and have a really great experience.
People that "got" SOCOM realized very quickly that SOCOM 3's online was broken. Wide open spaces of nothing, vehicles that dominated the game and were poorly implemented, a frame rate that was even worse than the first two, uninspiring, dull and boring maps, etc. There was a lot wrong with the game, yet it still got great reviews because it hit those special bullet points, "Vehicles", "32 players", "Big maps", "Multiple modes per map", etc. This is one of those things that really piss me off in the gaming media today. It's become about the bullet points rather than what makes the game actually fun.
No vehicles, less players, and smaller maps DO make these games better. Not everyone has to do the same thing with a "bigger is better" attitude. The gamers/media complains that everything is the same, yet if there online shooters aren't all massive, epic-scale, everything but the kitchen sink, games, they cry about it.
That's not to say that every person who reviewed the game was this ignorant to what was happening to out favourite online gaming franchise at the time. I tried to convince myself for at least a month that SOCOM 3 was good and not broken. But then you start noticing that feeling you had for the first two wasn't present in SOCOM 3. The number of players started to drop off. The people you played with on SOCOM 1/2 weren't coming on as frequently anymore. Until finally you gave up and came to terms with what had happened.
Maybe I'm being slightly melodramatic, but I'm sure most of you went through a similar experience. Zipper tried something different with SOCOM 3 after the media, and many fans, pushed them into it, thinking it would make the game better. The fans quickly discovered it didn't, while the majority of the media breezed over it like they did with every SOCOM game prior, didn't "get" what had happened, and gave it high critical acclaim due to all the features it was packed with. Even though the majority of those features took away from the experience.
Monday, March 3, 2008
- IGN: "SOCOM Confrontation news on the Playstation blog this week"
- EGM Live Talks SOCOM Confrontation
Take a look:
Traditional 3rd-person view created by Bocephus:
Original image of OTS view:
I like it. I know I'll give OTS a shot but I think I'll probably be sticking with the traditional 3rd-person view. Hard to know until I get my hands on the game though. And nice job Bocephus for putting that together!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
In this image, on the left side of the building as well as on the front right, you can see an image that looks like the Polish flag. If that is in fact the Polish flag, then what would it be doing on a North African-themed map when Poland is in Europe? If you remember, when the game was first announced the plan was to release it with "5 North African themed maps" including Crossroads. Is this a sign that Confrontation will launch with more than 5 maps? Maybe it just means that Slant Six had a change of plans and decided to geographically mix it up a bit within the first 5 maps. Or, it could mean absolutely nothing and that image could be a placeholder.
I assume we'll know for sure in a month when the new EGM starts hitting subscriber's mailboxes, but none the less its fun to speculate.
recklessmind of Neogaf pointed out that it looks more like Austria's flag, also a European country.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
With the popular SOCOM franchise set to make its debut on the PlayStation 3 this year via SOCOM Confrontation, fans are psyched, and we are too. The latest issue of EGM has just arrived in mailboxes across the nation, but we're already looking ahead to our next ish, which will feature an exclusive hands-on look at Confrontation's full 32-player online battles. Hopefully that's enough to get you hungry, but in the mean time we've rounded up a couple brand new screenshots to really whet your appetite.
Check out the upcoming May issue of EGM for all the info and many more pics.
They are horribly sized, so don't let the pixelated-ness of them get to you. Hopefully they'll upload the full-sized versions soon.
Thanks to neogaf poster, recklessmind, we now have MUCH cleaner versions of both screen shots. Enjoy!
1up has uploaded high resolution images of those screen shots. They aren't 720p but they are larger and clearly, and we'll do for now.
I think the game is looking GREAT. What do you guys/girls think?