At your disposal you will have more than 30 different weapons - including sniper rifles, machine guns, shotguns, grenades and explosive - and various items of equipment, all thoroughly researched and accurately rated for stopping and destructive power, range and accuracy. Reproduced in painstaking detail, even down to the relative recoil each one generates, they'll even affect you and your troops according to their weight: the heavier they are the more fatiguing they will be to lug about and the more slowly you will move.
The way you and your fellow SEALs move has been devised using the same level of attention to detail: characters have been designed with the help of actual SEAL consultants, using advanced motion capture techniques for the most realistic movement possible.
The game also utilises these consultants' expertise to create a superb in-game A.I., which makes working with team mates easier - and hiding from enemies harder. Enemies will act and react intelligently, according to your actions - and even set traps for you.
You will battle your way through twelve unique missions in a variety of richly detailed locations, including Alaska, the Congo, Thailand and Turkmenistan. The locations are specially devised to provide different challenges and solutions and encourage strategic thinking and tactical battles, and include hiding places, sniper perches and key open areas. With missions set both indoors and outdoors, you will need to take full advantage of the beautifully produced weather and lighting conditions, which could either help or hinder you in your attempts to get in and out of closely guarded areas.
Gameplay is varied, some missions requiring great stealth and precise timing, while others require skilled combat, cunning or endurance. Mission objectives vary from ambushes to hostage-rescue, reconnaissance, night-fighting, building clearance and search-and-rescue. All the missions have multiple objectives leading to a really fulfiling experience.
SOCOM really is two games in one. In addition to the one-player game, SOCOM has a superb online multiplayer option for broadband users, with support for up to 16 people per game, divided into two teams. Players take either the role of SEALs or terrorists and play one of three multi-player game types - Demolition, Hostage Rescue or Suppression.
There are 12 online multiplayer maps created specifically for on-line play, as well as a lobby, chat rooms, ladder rankings and support for clans. The headset comes into its own in multi-player games, doing away with messages for your team mates - and you can even utilise sub-channels to ensure the only people who hear your instructions are the ones on your side.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs is one of the toughest, most realistic action strategy games you'll ever see. Oozing atmosphere and authenticity, it offers a genuine tactical test that requires intelligence and lateral thinking as much as sharp-shooting skills to adapt and survive. It's almost as tough and challenging as the real thing - but if you think you've got what it takes, prepare to report for duty.