Date: 03-09-2010 06:00
Reviewer: Heartbreak

Type: PSP
Genre: Tactical third-person shooter
Developer: Slant Six

It's finally here. The next game in the line of SOCOM games for the PSP, Fireteam Bravo 3 is finally here, to steal money out of your pockets. Has it been worth all the delays? Is a SOCOM game made by Slant six worth it after the failure of Confrontation on the PS3? The answer is, yes.

Plot

In the main campaign, you control a man named Calvin Hopper, better known by his codename, Wraith. He has put together a 4-man squad to control a possible world-wide crisis. You get dropped into Russia without too much equipment. You don't have HQ instructing you like the older games, or a fancy boat waiting for you at the corner. What really makes it feel a little more hardcore than the previous Fireteam Bravo games is that before each mission, the squad plans the mission in a cut-scene focused on the map, and you see them pointing and giving word to what they will do. It just adds to that overall black-ops feeling.

Gameplay

Fireteam Bravo 3 might look very similar to the older Fireteam Bravo games, but in reality, it's quite different. First of all, health regeneration is in there to match the shooters of this generation. The addition of health regeneration totally changes the way you will play, perhaps in a bad way or in a good way.

Controlling squad mates haven't been revamped as a whole, but seems more smoother this time around, even with 3 extra soldiers. It's the system you seen before in previous games, press to direct your squad to somewhere, or hold to separately command them by Alpha Squad or Bravo Squad. It's seamless, though I ran into problems where one of my squad mate would not go to the position I told him to go, and instead alerted the enemy by going ahead. Problems like this isn't game-breaking, but it's still annoying, especially if you're all about stealth.

The other thing Slant Six has perfected are the guns. You can choose which guns you want to use for each mission, though you have to buy most of them using CE points (which is earned by completing missions). There are a variety of guns, each with a unique feature to make them a little different from each other. Reloading animations have been improved, as you only insert a clip when you reload with bullets remaining, and having to also pull the bolt back when you reload with no bullets left. Gun attachments, types of guns, for you and your squad mates will show during cut-scenes, a unique feature left out in most PSP games, and even some console games.

Overall, the game looks great, and it's above par of any PSP shooter released on the PSP so far. Textures look great, though character models could have been worked on.

Multiplayer

Is it just me, or was Fireteam Bravo 2 one of the best multiplayer games for the PSP? It had voice chat, great clan support, and is probably the most played multiplayer PSP game played to date. There was always about 1000-2000 people online. In Fireteam Bravo 3, they looked to improve the multiplayer. While they did so, they left out some parts from previous games that made the multiplayer so good,

The first thing you will notice as you pop in to a game is the pop-up that shows you who has killed whom with what gun. It aligns with console games such as Call of Duty that tells you if someone got a headshot, or killed someone with a gun. Though it may not sound like much, it just gives it a feel of a game that should be on the PS3, or the Xbox 360.

Map numbers is quite small compared to previous games, with only 8 maps to play in, along with 5 game modes to tackle. 8 maps is really disappointing, even though those eight maps are great to play in.

Slant Six improved a lot, and learned from Zipper's mistakes in previous games. They fixed those, but they also left out a bunch of features from Fireteam Bravo 2, that made the multiplayer almost flawless. First of all, there is no messaging system. The messaging system was invaluable in Fireteam Bravo 2, and made communication a piece of cake. The number of players in a clan have also reduced drastically, all the way down to 10. This will definitely annoy some players, including me, because it just makes you create another roster, and putting a whole roster into another person's hands just makes everything more complicated.

A PSN account is required to play, as well as signing up for an online entitlement if you have bought the UMD version or a used UMD version.

Co-Op and Custom missions

Cooperative play! At this point, this is basically just icing on the cake. Either with 3 of your friends ad-hoc, or 3 of your friends in infrastructure, you will be able to tackle either the campaign, or custom missions. Custom missions are missions you select where you want to kill some baddies, as well as how to make the baddies mad (Kill the VIP, or demolish targets), what kind of baddies you want to kill, and how smart the baddies are. They're sweet and short, which is perfect for a portable game. It's also playable solo.

Last words

SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is a huge improvement for PSP games in general. It has set a benchmark for future multiplayer games for the PSP, and it'll be hard to break with its fun multiplayer, and endless fun of the co-op mode. The single player campaign might be on the short side, but it's not bad, and if you compare it to some other shooters for the PSP, you might realize that it really isn't bad at all. This is a game, totally worth your well-earned buckaroos.

Presentation: 9
Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Lifespan: 9.5
Overall: 8.9
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