Since TimeSplitters 2 was getting a little long in the tooth, I was eager to find myself another PS2 based first person shooter to get my teeth into. And, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve solely been playing Socom II due to its immersive single player mode and addictive online play.
I assumed the headset control was going to be gimicky at first, but in single player mode it really does draw you into the game. A whispered warning through the earphone from your team mates as an enemy passes close by can have you holding your breath and freezing to the spot in a way that just wouldn’t carry the same weight through the main tv speakers. Additionally, the chat that goes on during online play can be both helpful and amusing, although you do get the occasional assclowns on there, who can thankfully be muted if they prove to be consistantly annoying.
An example of a comedy conversation from an online session early on a Saturday morning:
Player 1:*I think I can see some movement over by the gate*
Player 2 : Cool. Why are you whispering, by the way? They cant hear you.
Player 1 : *Because my mum is asleep!*
Player 2 : Not wishing to pry, but why are you playing Socom in your mum’s bedroom?
Player 3 : ..yeah – don’t tell us you sleep together!
Player 1 : NO! No! It’s just that the walls are very thin!
The voicecomm’s really does help you get to know the personalities of the people you’re playing with, and is essential for organising the tactical side of things during the game. I’ve had terse warnings hissed from a team mate who can see I’m about to step on a pressure mine, for instance, while feedback about enemy locations has helped secure a win against a team with a three man advantage in what looked like a lost battle. A team who talks together wins together in Socom II, while a team of freelancers who don’t communicate can be embarrassingly dismantled by even an average team on the opposiotion, so long as they help each other out.