Following a one week delay, the beta for SOCOM: Confrontation, the latest iteration of the long-standing PlayStation franchise, is now underway. Press and pre-order patrons have begun to delve into the tight tactical action, while those who purchased the first issue of Qore will be joining the force on Friday. And while the beta has been a bumpy one thus far, the game does play well for the most part… once you can actually get into a match.
Out of the gate, the beta suffered from some pretty brutal connectivity problems, lag, and other "load related issues." My play time has been marred by long waits for entry into matches and some pretty mean bouts of lag and stuttering in-game. Numerous accounts from other outlets have identified a number of problems, for which Sony and Slant Six Games have gone on the record to apologize. "We are doing everything we can to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and you should see some improvements progressively over the next couple of days," reads the entry on the official SOCOM blog. The first of what will likely be many patches has already gone live today.
Of course, it is a beta for a reason. Thankfully, looking past those issues, SOCOM proves to be a solid third-person shooter with some great community features. Warhawk has long been the standard for organized multiplayer on the PlayStation 3, but it appears that the title will quickly be passed to SOCOM when the game launches. Even in beta, a number of key improvements already trump Incognito's excellent title.
Expect to see this screen a lot if you're in the beta.
For one, voice chat in the beta has been surprisingly excellent. The new official PS3 headsets come with a special high quality mode that SOCOM will take advantage of, but even without them the voice chat is higher quality than any other PS3 titles. Given that the game is so highly tactical and team-oriented, this is good news.
The clan options are also significantly more robust. An integrated clan calendar allows clan leaders to create scheduled events which are pushed out to all members of the clan. These events range from tournaments to clan matches and even open invitationals. Clan leaders can also interact with other clan leaders to set up events for all the clan members involved. Clans themselves can be heavily customized: all clan members have a shared uniform designed when the clan is created, in addition to a clan logo; this distinguishes any and all clan members from "mercenaries and commandos," which are players unaffiliated with any clan.
As for the game play itself, the game plays smoothly when a given room is running well. If you've played SOCOM before, there won't be very many surprises: interface improvements, customization options, and a more fully-featured clan system are the main draws here. Should the beta continue to steadily improve connection-wise, SOCOM: Confrontation should be well worth the $59.99 price tag with the pack-in Bluetooth headset when the game launches October 17.Posted on