I’ve played through 50% of the SOCOM 4 single player at this point, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed it. The shooting is satisfying, controls are functional, and there have been points at which I was legitimately impressed by a detail or set piece. I like that often the levels allow for multiple approaches to any given situation. I could try one approach, and if it failed, I could try again from a different path, with completely different results.
The weapon system simultaneously encourages the player to try new weapons and rewards the player for using the same weapon often. New weapons are unlocked by picking them up from fallen enemies and finishing the level with them, and the game also issues “experience” for using individual guns, unlocking scopes and barrel attachments to improve stats for that gun.
Giving commands to team members is simple and usually works fine. It’s not terribly complex, but it does provide the ability to issue delayed orders – useful in setting up ambushes – and to give numbered orders that the team will fill in sequence. Squad AI will likely get you and themselves killed more than once, but for the most part they are competent.
I have a few minor complaints, mainly stemming from playing either definitely better (Uncharted 2) or possibly better (Army of Two: The 40th Day) 3rd-person shooters. Whether it’s a roll move, a slide, a roadie run, or whatever method, the ability to enter cover early is a small detail that makes a big difference. I shouldn’t have to crash into the barrier before I can press the cover button. I want to signal my intentions before I get there and transition into cover smoothly. Speaking of cover, a blindfire mechanic, while probably not strictly militarily accurate, would be appreciated in heavy firefights.
Lastly: do those concussion grenades I’m throwing actually do anything? Because I can’t tell.