PSP Review: SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3

Is this Bravo Team on fire?

I must admit, I haven’t played many SOCOM games so can Fireteam Bravo warm me to the series? Well, I’ll tell you the answer in a bit but first of all, let’s look at what the game is all about…

Join the ominous world of ex-secret operatives as you lead a special operation to track and interrogate former KGB agent, Alexander Gozorov who is believed to be withholding information on a forthcoming attack with weapons of mass destruction. It’s up to you and your squad to track Gozorov in a series of customisable missions, using your skills, stealth and swift thinking.

At first, I felt a bit weird controlling a game like SOCOM on the PSP, the controls take some getting used to and doesn’t feel like the normal environment you would play a game like this on. It felt odd firing with the X button instead of the right shoulder button. I also hate not being able to control the camera in a game like this, which is more of a complaint against the PSP itself…damn the lack of a second analog stick! You can auto-lock onto targets, which helps dramatically since manually aiming is incredibly difficult and painful to do.

You can also issue orders to your squad like breach and clear doors, as in most games. Perhaps disappointingly, there isn’t anything special about the game that makes it stand out against the other types of squad-based games like past iterations of SOCOM and Rainbow Six. It feels very basic and doesn’t seem to evolve the franchise as a result.

It is a nice touch that you can play co-op online and even do 16 player battles, which is impressive for a PSP game. It works quite well, although thanks to the lack of a headset for the handheld…communicating with your team-mates is tricky, at least I would imagine. Sadly, as I only got a promo code I was unable to access the multiplayer which is only available if you download directly from Playstation Store with a code on the back of the manual. If you don’t have that, then you have to pay £7.99 for multiplayer. I was stunned at the fact that 1) You have to download multiplayer and 2) If you don’t have a code, you have to pay for it! I honestly don’t know what they were thinking…

Visually, I’ve seen much better looking games on the PSP. Character models look dated and there are some pretty nasty textures lying around. It’s not the worst looking game by any stretch, but it fails to deliver any impact. The same applies to the audio, voice-acting is passable as are the sound effects, but the music is fairly decent.

The Verdict

I won’t deny that I didn’t enjoy SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 much. The controls aren’t really suited to the PSP, the visuals lack polish and you may have to pay extra for multiplayer. On the plus side, the campaign is decent and I’m guessing, quite familiar to previous instalments. This is definitely one for the fans; the rest may leave it alone.