As before SOCOM II single player missions gives you control of your team mates indirectly through your own character. This works in pretty much the same way as before, you can either select a command for you team mates through a menu system or issue voice commands through your PS2 headset. As before the voice recognition works extremely well but you must say specific phrases for the orders to be recognised. So there is a little effort required on your part to remember all the command terms. If you are lazy or you don’t have a headset you simply select the command from the menu system. Which ever system you use, teamwork is imperative to succeed. The team this time will give feedback; unlike in the previous instalment they stayed pretty much silent.
SOCOM II has had an upgrade in the weapons department. In the single player mode you will be able to use the seal weapon set from the start. When you finish the game you will be able to get new weapon sets like the SAS weapon set. On top of this a shotgun has now been added, this is not usually very useful in the single player game as most of the shooting is from a distance and requires accuracy, but it does come in handy in the multiplayer game when you get in some close quarter combat. The other weapons included are what you would expect apart from a couple of additions in the multiplayer game. Now you can have access to rocket and grenade launchers. Unfortunately these weapons have very low stocks of ammo and it is now freely available. To even things out a little more, you must stand completely still to fire either of the launchers.
The missions in the multiplayer games are the same with the addition of two new modes. If you didn’t know the game modes in the first game where as follows, Suppression which is your basic death match scenario. Demolition, one bomb is place on the level, the teams must fight to get the bomb and use it to blow up the opposition’s base. Extraction is a hostage scenario where one team must find and rescue hostages from the opposition. Breach and Escort are the new game modes which mix things up a little. Breach sees the attacking team armed with explosives while the defending team is armed with guns. Escort is very similar to Extraction except the SEALS start off with the hostages and they must lead them to safety. All in all there is a good selection of games to have a go at. What makes things even better are the other multiplayer options that Sony have added. Suppression games can now be player with re-spawn turned on which will let player play the game for the full 20 minutes. Another nice touch is the addition of a feature that lets players set a game up to only to accept gamers of a similar skill level, which technically should keep things running smoothly. You can’t ruin any novices games by killing them all and pretending you didn’t know what you where doing. Lastly and most importantly SOCOM II is currently free of cheaters and according to Zipper (The developers) it should stay that way. Which unfortunately is not true of the original SOCOM game which is now plagued with hundreds cheaters which makes playing and enjoying the game impossible.
SOCOM II is looking a lot better than its predecessor too. Player animations have been improved vastly in some areas. Check out players diving to the floor and taking cover. This was previously a very robotic animation, now it looks smooth and fluid. The environments are also improved and the addition of some foliage creates more chances to take cover and hide. Another graphical addition also adds to a more involved gameplay, night vision goggles. You can have some great fun with these.
With regards to sound, not quite as much has been changed. The gun fire is virtually the same as the previous SOCOM. The music has been changed though and as before it adds to the feel of the game. The music will get louder when the action heats up and as things go quite so does the music.
SOCOM II is the only game of its type on the PS2, but the good news is that things have been improved for a better experience and if another game does come out that is in direct competition with SOCOM II, it will have to be very good to beat it. If you’re looking for great multiplayer action or a single player stealthy little number look no further, this is it.
9.0 out of 10