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Author Topic: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions  (Read 2187 times)
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Blackjack
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« on: November 08, 2007, 06:11:21 PM »

As with my SWAT: Target Liberty initial impressions, I'm at work so I can only share some tidbits from the manual. And I hope the game isn't the general disappointment the SWAT PSP game was.  paranoid

For the unitiated, this is the series' first foray into some more strategy-oriented. You don't directly control any soldiers (aside from directing hand grenade tosses from what I can tell). It's mostly about giving orders, and well, here are a few of them...

Movement Commands:
-Stealth to Position
-Move to Position
-Deploy Fireteam
-(Able or Bravo) Move With Cover
(Fireteam provides cover for the other team as they move to another location)

Attack
-Attack Target
-Field of Fire
-Suppression Fire
-Fire at Will
-Hold Fire

Breach
-Bypass Door
-Breach and Clear
-Breach with Frag
-Breach with Flash
-Breach with Stealth
-Use Window (break window and fire into room)

Collect
-Collect Weapon
-Collect Ammo
-Take Intel

Recover
-Use Medkit
-Revive (revive fallen comrade within a certain period of time)

Evasive Commands
-Regroup Fireteam (all 4 in one place)
-Switch Position

In single player you can play as Navy Seals, Special Air Service Regiment (Australia), Kommander Spezialkrafte (Germany), SAS (UK), Groupment d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (France), Unidad de Operaciones Especiales (Spain), 707th Special Missions Battalion (S. Korea), 9 Reggimento d'Assalto Paracadutisti (Italy and Korps Commandotroepen (Netherlands), all of them localized language wise (with subtitles, for those squads who don't speak English).

Online modes (no co-op, alas), with Mercs and Special Forces as the sides, include:
-Collateral Damage: Mercs must destroy over half the vehicles in the area by any means possible. Special Forces must defend the area.
-Demolition: Special Forces must prevent Mercs from destroying a critical object.
-Extraction: Special Forces team wins by killing all Mercs or escorting a VIP to the extraction point. Mercs win by killing Special Forces team or the hostage.
-FFA (Free for all): Deathmatch between mercenary teams.
-Suppression: Fight to death between Special Forces and Mercs. Winner has most men left standing.

MP lobby includes basic clan support, and friends, ignore and invitations lists. Voice comm on PSP headset is supported.

Initial reviews have been OK to enthusiastic, though it appears there are some camera view problems, and the enemy AI seems to be a lot better done than the friendly AI.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 09:35:10 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 06:17:20 PM »

Other thing from manual are skills (skill points awarded after each mish):

General Skills:
-Toughness
-Marksmanship
-Carrying Capacity
-Stealth
-Job Specialist

Weapon Skills
-Light Weapons
-Medium Weapons
-Heavy weapons
-Sniper
-Grenades

You can distribute skill points manually or let the game automatically distribute among four soldiers.

Completing primary, secondary and bonus objectives during the campaign earns Command Equity points you can use to buy new weaopns and equipment.

Completing secondary and bonus objectives earns Local Influence. Maintaining Good or Great LI scores for two consecutive missions lets you unlock weapons to purchase in the Armory.
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 07:11:11 PM »

This game interests me...I look forward to your gameplay impressions biggrin
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Blackjack
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 09:41:22 PM »

A few reviews while I impatiently wait for the work day to end (although i really shouldn't be hanging out here from work anyway paranoid)

PSP Fanboy (rave)
http://www.pspfanboy.com/2007/11/02/psp-fanboy-review-socom-tactical-strike/
Quote
What makes attacking so appealing, and so successful in Tactical Strike, is the ability to queue commands. With the "On My Signal" icon (represented by a lightning bolt), you can delay commands until the appropriate moment. For example, you may be on a balcony, looking down at a few enemies. Delay the command to fire at them. Get one of your characters to throw a smoke grenade -- then provide the command to fire.

It's incredibly satisfying to see these plans in action, especially if you're victorious in them. When appropriately planned, each enemy encounter will take only a fraction of a second. With appropriate firing angles and the element of surprise, the enemies will simply not have enough time to think before they're dead.

Gamespy (liked, but pointed out serious flaws)
http://psp.gamespy.com/playstation-portable/socom-tactical-strike/832028p1.html

IGN (eh about it)
http://psp.ign.com/articles/832/832203p1.html
« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 09:46:32 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007, 02:08:10 AM »

I've gone through the tutorial (more so than in most games, it's important to really go through this one and repeat the directions a few times), and I really dig it so far. If you liked the "soldier ordering/maneuvers" aspect of Ghost Recon, Hidden & Dangerous 1/2, Rainbow Six, that sort of thing, but didn't want to spend so much time showing your lack of prowess at FPS shooters (like me), then you'll really like this.

The orders are quite flexible, just takes the tutorial and a little experimenting to figure out how you want to handle situations. If you're patient, and like to learn things the more you play, this will probably be rewarding. I wouldn't call it a puzzle game per se (most would consider that to have negative connotations), but you learn after a while to view upcoming areas and enemy groups as obstacles, and it's a matter of figuring out the best way to use your "commander toolbox" to either tackle the situation or avoid it. smile

I'm going with the Aussies as my squad. The starting weapon loudouts are pretty interesting, and you seem to get certain weapons unlocked to handle specific situations (there's a modified M60 machine gun, and I've got one guy carrying a 50 caliber rifle for taking out vehicle engines it seems).

Graphics are generally solid, though I noticed some blinking in the background and clipping. It still looks like a decent FPS/third personer, probably as good as most of the better PS2 shooters, fwiw.

I can see where some reviews complain about the camera. It's not third person per se -- it's pulled back a bit, but it's fairly low and is presumably meant to limit your viewpoint so that's sort of behind either 2-man squad and you're not an omniscient guy controlling an RTS. It gets a little clumsy indoors but generally works fine outdoors.

The circle button drops a "skimmer" which I'd liken to a mouse cursor. You just point it where you want troops to go, and hold it down for special movement orders.

All the briefings are fully voiced, along with the tutorials. Foreigner NPCs speak in their native languages with subtitles.
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2007, 01:46:20 PM »

I think they revamped the official site a while back. Since I can't do screenshots per se, it's worth checking out if the game interests you:
http://www.us.playstation.com/SOCOMTacticalStrike/

I got fairly far into the first real mission. I have a definite shortage of medpacks, and I think I used a couple by mistake as I got used to the buttons interface. Movement waypoints also serve as checkpoints during the mission. The maps are pretty huge but these points are at least sprinkled around a decent amount.

I accidentally set one duo to "Fire at Will" and while they did do some serious damage (before I could remember how to change the setting), they seriously wasted ammo. You can grab any weapons off of fallen enemies.

The enemy AI's pretty good generally. It really pays to mostly move in stealth mode, cause if you jog, they seem to always get alerted in the vicinity.
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2007, 06:44:10 PM »

Is anyone here Australian by the way? Although my squad speaks English, some of their Australian sayings during combat make no sense me to at all.  icon_confused I need someone from the Outback to translate...
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2007, 12:09:46 PM »

I am enjoying this (SWAT: Target Liberty took only a couple days to disappoint me but this immediately felt good, even with some somewhat clumsy camera view/angle issues), but Hellgate and COD4 (PC) are hogging my time atm. If anybody's lurking and has a question about how this plays, just let me know. smile
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2007, 12:55:20 AM »

After reconfiguring my squad's inventories, redistributing experience points and just getting more comfortable with the interface (it's well designed, but there are a lot of things to know, and to remember including what buttons to "press and hold" and what to just "tap), I think I finally fell in love with this game.  icon_biggrin I know it doesn't say much for my social life.  crybaby Tongue

I got so enveloped in the first couple missions, that I ran my PSP Slim's battery dry (it just goes into Sleep Mode to save what little juice is left and warn you to hook it up to AC). icon_cool

I wish there was some easy way to share images from the game. I try taking PSP shots with my digital camera in macro mode, but I just can't quite get it to focus usually. Here's a glimpse of the inventory screen for one op:

Those little slots below the primary and secondary weapons (pistols are basically just for emergency use in the game if out of ammo) are for attachments. There are many varieties of scopes, laser-red-dot sights, along with noise/muzzle flash suppressors for the secondary SMGs.

The "suitcase" thing in the right side of inventory is a medkit (2 packs per kit). In the same slot you could instead choose extra sniper ammo, extra rifle ammo, or grenades (HE, flashbangs, smoke).

New weapons are unlocked after each completed mission. (In theory the unlocked one should be esp. helpful on the ensuing mission but you can use anything available -- M16s and M4s are always available, couple different sniper rifles, and couple different pistols. The weapons variety is quite wonderful (all presumably licensed with their real model names), comparable to the Rogue Spear games in that respect.  icon_cool

One of the stats you can put points in will let you increase the # of secondary slots, critical if you want to carry extra medpacks and grenades (2 per kit).

Other than the aforementioned sometimes clumsy camera view (it's not a deal-breaker by any means, it's just something you have to workaround and eventually it's not much more than a minor annoyance), I'm slightly peeved that at the start of each mission, it seems to arbitrarily shove a "free" (there are credits you use to buy unlocked weapons) unlocked weapon into the first squadmate's inventory. The problebm being that my #2 guy is my sniper, and the game always shoves the new, unlocked sniper rifle into #1 guy. If I equip #2 with it I have to buy it (credits are fairly plentiful though). So, if you play this and want to save money, make your #1 guy (going left to right on the squad screen) your sniper guy, and you'll be a little happier. smile

While this isn't Gears of War, the AI (both enemy and friendly) makes terrific use of cover. And the little "ghost images" make it easy to know quickly how your squad/duo/individual will take cover behind something. All the maps are full of all sorts of cover, and possible sniper perches, so you pretty much never need to be out in the open. smile The mission maps are huge (checkpoints seem spaced reasonably fairly, though it's possible to miss one, and not all the waypoints in a mission will save progress [most do]), very intricate, overlapping -- a lot like Killzone: Liberty's maps in that regard.  icon_cool

Elevation is really key in the game. I got whupped on Mission 1 when I approached an open courtyard at ground level; once I experimented with going back to some stairs and approaching from up high, *aha!*, a light bulb went off above my head. Made it much easier to get a bead on high targets and you have more protection from lower attacks.

You would think sniper attacks (since you aren't controlling the way you do in a shooter -- basically you pick a target, hit the Square button and AI handles it) might feel dull or sort of detached, but it's great. The sniper talks about closing in on the target, you see the scope view zoom in and hear him hold his breath. It'll get tricky cause the AI will sometimes bob behind cover, or you'll lose the line of sight. The exhaustive use of voice responses and orders in the game is really immersive.

I haven't quite gotten to the point of using the "delayed" orders much. You can actually move an individual soldier around and give him orders (not just duos and the entire squad of four). After I got comfortable with controls I really got involved in setting one duo to say, cover a certain area, while the sniper took a shot and then backed up behind them. Then *boom*, they take out the enemies dashing around the corner. There are lots of opportunities like that.

Ok enough rambling thoughts for now. Good stuff. Great even. smile I'll hope that it gets to battle FFT: War of the Lions and Jeanne D'Arc for PSP Game of the Year.  icon_biggrin

I was trying to find a nice, tidy screenshot gallery for this. Some site called Showbuzz.CBSNews has just such a set. smile
http://www.showbuzz.cbsnews.com/elements/2007/10/25/games_gamecore/photoessay3410881.shtml
« Last Edit: November 11, 2007, 01:29:07 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2007, 06:00:44 AM »

Blackjack,

Is this basically a SOCOM version of a Rainbow Six:Vegas style game? And BTW, thanks for helping me dodge SWAT. Ya took a bullet for the team!
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2007, 10:01:19 AM »

It's more like Full Spectrum Warrior than Rainbow Six Vegas, you don't directly control any soldier.

I hope they bring this style of game back to the full consoles some time.  Until then I have to wait until I can afford another PSP.
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2007, 01:48:07 PM »

What he said smile, though you give orders to 4 soldiers (not like 10-20 as in Full Spectrum Warrior).

It really has nothing in common with SOCOM, R6 Vegas etc. in terms of play. It's not a 'twitch' game [which you may or may not find good news, I find twitch shooters hand-cramping and tough to play on PSP]. The PSP attempts at R6: Vegas and Ghost Recon: AFW have been terrible. So I think it was smart for SOCOM to go to something very fresh and more of an "actiony" squad-strategy game. smile A more typical SOCOM shooter type game's under development for PS3, fwiw. Once you give squaddies orders, combat is a bit like the early Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games (fast and furious, combat is rarely drawn out).

Here it's more you're making decisions upon when to fire, there's a lot of sneaking around, finding the best shooting angles, and then deciding when to let 'em rip, when to sneak up and do a stealth kill, and getting the "duos" and individuals to work together (via timed, coordinated attacks etc.). It's a very tense (in a good way) game, and it's not one where you have to feel rushed to work through the mission (you can be really thoughtful, and try different things).

I admit it's a tough game to describe, and it isn't probably for fans of the previous SOCOM games because it plays so differently and so much more like a tiny-scale real time squad-strategy game. When people say "you don't control individual soldiers," that's not entirely true. You can select one squaddie, tell him where to go, have him attack a specific target (you have to do this to use a sniper shot), you just don't have to worry bout being some sort of FPS whiz kid (just tell him what to shoot and when, and he'll do his best  icon_cool) as he'll take care of the dirty work.

In a way, it's a shame they used the SOCOM name for this because it'll scare off people who would love this type of tactical/strategy type game, and long time SOCOM fans who haven't read about how it's different will probably feel lost if they don't give it a chance.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2007, 01:53:51 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2007, 02:36:52 PM »

I thought if I sort of described a playthough (if you watch a gameplay video, it might not be clear what the player is doing, and that it's not a twitch shooter), it might help explain things. I know it'll sound boring to "read" this, without the visuals, it's hard to get the thrill across. smile

Setting:
-Stronghold of Columbian drug warlord
-Night-time mission so night-vision is enabled (when controlling an individual soldier you can shut this off, possibly handly when indoors in a lighted building)

Objectives
-Disabling power and all forms of possible "escape transportation" (located throughout the huge map), and then capturing the warlord.

Tips:
-A "subsonic" (stealth) Russian sniper rifle is "unlocked" for this mission and is a good one to equip at least one squaddie with.
-If equipped with sniper rifle, the squaddie is smart enough to switch to his secondary SMG until you call specifically for a sniper shot.

Walkthough:
-Mission starts outside the stronghold. Selected my designated sniper, moved him a big into a road, put the targeting cursor on a guard at the entrance, hit the "square" button [pulls up inventory, including remaining sniper shots if the squaddie has it equipped], chose Sniper shot. Squaddie gives a quick voice confirmation ("Taking the shot", I think), scope view zooms in and he takes him out.

-I reselected the entire squad (4), moving them from cover to cover (it just pays to always move in stealth mode). The game remembers the last movement mode (stealth by default) you chose so you don't need to fuss with it.

-I plop the cursor on a car at the entrance and a squaddie disables it (just press "X" when you see the "disable icon").

-Moved the squad west from the entrance towards a guardhouse. I could see a "security computer center" building objective in the distance but it's well lighted and my earlier attempt at a straight-on assault was disastrous.  Tongue

-A roving guard walks under a canopied platform outside the guardhouse.

-I repeated the sniper sequence from above to take him out quietly.

-Just to explore, I moved one duo along the side and then back of the guard house, where there turns out to be a door (you could also move in via a door and windows up front, but being a little sneaker is usualy good). I regrouped the fireteam (Hold the "triangle" button down briefly, and choose "regroup fireteam") near the door. I placed the cursor on the door, hit the "X" button (for the breaching menu). Usually "breach and clear" will suffice, as 3 line up around the door and the last squaddie kicks it in, they'll rush in set automatically at "fire at will" mode, but you can have them toss in a frag grenade or flashbang first, or just quietly open the door without firing.

-3 bad guys inside, and my squad takes them all out pretty quickly. One's wounded though. So I use the "square" button again to pull up inventory and choose "use MedPack on self" to fix him up.

-Hit "select" to pull up the overhead map (objectives are listed, and checked off as completed) -- "circle" button will jump you to the map location of whatever objective you've highlighted on the list. Red X's mark enemies. I decide to work back to that well lighted security computer house, this time from the back of it.

-I sneak the squad behind and then to the far side of the security center. Seeing there's only one guard outside it (and one inside), I use my sniper to take out the one outside in the street. I reselected the squad, point the cursor at the window and hit X (to "use" the window, which means one squaddie will bash the window glass out with his rifle button, and then the squad will fire at any visible targets inside the window in "fire at will" mode). The squad takes the guard out.

-I move the squad inside and hit "X" to "use" the computer and turn off system security for the stronghold (something like that).

-Next is a power center for the island. I sneak the squad over. I decide to go with a door breach/clear (a window's available, there's usually multiple routs into a building), the squaddies zap the two guards inside, and then I use "X" again to turn a power handle that shuts power off for the stronghold (fortunately, this isn't Commandos where probably doing this would flood the area with 25 Germans and German Shepherds. disgust) HQ's lovely female voice acknowledges and says we should be able to walk right into the Leader's house unseen.

-I move the squad up to the second level of the power building which has a couple doorways opening into a courtyard of sorts.

-A couple guards walk back and forth towards the area but can't see us. I wait until both are walking away. I select my sniper (who has a few "stealth" points in his stats now), target the nearest guard, hit "X" and choose "Stealth kill." He sneaks up behind the guard and takes him out (knife). I move him back to the squad. The other guard walks towards us a bit then moves away again. I do the same thing to take him out.

-I disable another car, and then work my way to the other side of the map to disable a power boat. In this case I was able to get one good "field of fire" situation (you can set the squad or duo to only fire when a target enters a general location -- you can also use this so they basically spread their fire evenly across multiple targets close together, rather than at a single individual). My squad's behind a big rock. There's one guard fairly nearby, than another strolls back. They're not that close together, but close enough for a field of fire command to work.

[I grabbed this image off a site. I don't think it's from this mission - thus no night vision green - but it was similar to the good "field of fire" opportunity I blabbed about here smile]

-I select the whole squad, hold X down to get my firing options. Chose "Field of Fire", placed the wide cursor so it covered both guards, and tapped X again to activate. The squad spreads fire evenly across the two guards and takes them out fast.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. smile Anyway, that's an idea of how it plays. It's a lot more exciting and tense than my turgid prose makes it, but I thought maybe that would get across that isn't a shooter, and is instead a really deep tactical strategy-type game.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 02:54:05 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2007, 05:50:33 PM »

That was a great description of the gameplay. Blackjack. Thank you! Looks like I'll be putting this one on my list of purchases.

I'm currently finishing off Killzone: Liberation which I though was fantastic until (minor spoilers.......)  you get to the map where there is a "mech" boss that shoots missiles, grenades, and has an immensely powerful Gatling gun. Oh, and to add injury to insult he also lobs out spider mines. I'm about to trade-in the game in frustration because I haven't even come close to killing him.

Up until this point it was one of my favorite titles in a long time. When I exited the game yesterday to try out Silent Hill Origins, I noticed that you can change difficulty settings. I'm not certain if this will carry over in my current game, or if it will only apply to future games. Guess I'll find out tonight. This huge difficulty spike really has me furious, however.
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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2007, 09:08:44 PM »

Dante, in Liberation you can change difficulty settings at any time, or I think at mission starts and it'll take affect for the rest of the game.  I had to switch to easy at the beginning of Chapter 2.

Ugh, I really need to get a new PSP soon.
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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2007, 09:27:15 PM »

Blackjack, that sounds REALLY cool. And I'm quite the fan of the SWAT type games, so I might just have to give this game a whirl...sometime.
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2007, 09:38:45 PM »

That is pretty damn cool, Blackjack.  Once I have some money, I'll definitely be grabbing it. 

Have you jumped online at all?
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2007, 01:38:19 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on November 11, 2007, 09:08:44 PM

Dante, in Liberation you can change difficulty settings at any time, or I think at mission starts and it'll take affect for the rest of the game.  I had to switch to easy at the beginning of Chapter 2.

Ugh, I really need to get a new PSP soon.

Yeah, thanks. Changing the difficulty on the Boss got me past that problem. All games should have that option!
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2007, 02:52:01 AM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on November 11, 2007, 09:38:45 PM

That is pretty damn cool, Blackjack.  Once I have some money, I'll definitely be grabbing it. 

Have you jumped online at all?
No. *sigh*. Long story but I bought this Buffalo Wi-Fi router just so I could do PSP stuff online. It set up fairly easily and worked great for months. When I decided to replace my PC's UPS unit, I unplugged the router. I lost the paper I'd written my WEP code on, and then basically I couldn't remember how to set up the router anyway. Some day I'll try it again.  crybaby I mostly played Medal of Honor: Heroes and Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (which supports the PSP voice-comm headset; MOH: Heroes and the new sequel don't) online when I had my router working properly.

One of the reviews mentioned that part of the problem online is that the multiplayer games for this reward more just glomming your squad together and throwing it at the enemy or objects. It doesn't sound like it has the deliberately paced, strategic-feel of the single player missions. This screams out for a co-op experience (even if it would maybe have to be limited to Ad Hoc wireless local play), and the PS2 games offered that, but I guess they didn't feel they could pull it off on this.
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2007, 02:08:17 PM »

It took some digging, but I found the official U.S. forums for this at:
http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board?board.id=socomtacticalstrike

Thought I am on call for any questions here. smile

Some bits:

Difficulty Settings
-It has 4 difficulty settings. To be honest, I don't remember choosing one when I started up my campaign so I'm not sure what difficulty I'm playing on. I'm thinking maybe it defaults to "Lieutenant" and that I just didn't see the setting cause I was eager to play. smile

-Ensign (easiest)
-Lieutenant
-Commander

-Admiral (this is toughest, and you "unlock" it by completing at Commander difficulty)

Instant Action
Completing a mission (the campaign has 9 missions -- the first one is relatively short but after that they are pretty massive things) unlocks two "action missions" on parts of each mission map. On the first one, it's just a couple different "defend this area" mission where the AI sends in lots of mercs and you battle them off.
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2007, 06:09:38 PM »

I re-did the tutorial yesterday cause I wasn't quite understanding the "move while covered" orders.

The squad members and health meters are always shown vertically in the lower right corner. The top two comprise (I think) Able team, the lower two comprise Bravo team. You can "swap" individuals if you decide mid-mission that you'd prefer to pair up different soldiers, it seems.

Although I haven't used the "move while covered" stuff, it seems to work this way:
-While you have Able team selected, move the skimmer to where you want Bravo team to move [the idea being Able will cover them as they move]. I found this a bit confusing, so it helps to do it in the tutorial a few times.
-Press "circle" button for the orders menu.
-Choose "Bravo Team Move With Cover" (something like that - I can't seem to find a screenshot with the movement orders list at the moment)
-Bravo Team will move to the skimmer point, while Able company provides covering fire [I'm not certain, but I guess this set it so Ablefires on anything that starts firing on Bravo team] if any surprises pop up.

There's probably not much point in using this command during more stealthy missions. If you need to pull one team out of the fire, so to speak, it can be handy.
===============
You can certainly configure the four troops anyway you want (you can have 4 snipers, or 4 heavy machine gunners, and probably have a lot of success, but I find it's a little more fun to have some variety, and pour the skill points into one or two weapon types for each soldier).

I've generally made Able have a sniper (who uses SMG automatically when not taking sniper shots) and an assault rifle guy. Bravo is usually heavy machine gunner and an assault rifle guy. I try to make sure each team (pair) has at least one medkit pack (2 uses) and at least one set of HE grenades (2 uses). If you only have one sniper, be sure to give him the "extra sniper ammo" kit (allows about 16 shots total).

At the lower difficulty settings at least, ammo seems quite plentiful for the assault rifles and HMGs, so I have't felt much need to bring extra regular ammo (If they run out, they will switch to their backup SMG automatically -- or, you can pick up a rifle off dead mercs).

I've been pretty happy with the Swiss assault rifles that you unlock after a couple missions but there are tons to choose from (even an old M-1 Garand is unlocked eventually).
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 06:11:24 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2007, 06:31:27 PM »

1UP wasn't so keen on this (6/10). I don't think the game's as unfair as the reviewer paints it as, but perhaps he's playing it on a tougher difficultysetting than I. I do think if they labeled what waypoints are in fact save checkpoints and what aren't, that would save some frustration over checkpoint pacing. I think once you realize which ones are save checkpoints, you can make decisions about when it's a good time to work over to one.

There are various scripted sequences (usually after a checkpoint save) where a few soldiers are sent into the area. Sometimes they are sent in pretty aggressively and you basically have to defend an area through a wave or two, but as along as you've got decent cover and your flanks protected, you should be OK. smile

Other times they are sent into the area more subtlely, and you just need to take your time taking them out or working around them to the next waypoint, objective or extraction point. I've only had maybe one or two times in 4 missions where troops showed up unexpectedly behind me. I like the unpredictability, and then it also pays to keep at least one troop set on "field of fire" behind you. I could see someone not liking that though -- sort of how people have mixed opinions about enemies "respawning" in some RPGs/hack'n'slashes when you've cleared out an area.
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2007, 04:38:19 AM »

Gamespot's positive but not ecstatic (7.5/10 review) seems like about the most thorough I've seen:
http://www.gamespot.com/psp/action/socomusnavysealstacticalstrike/review.html?sid=6182397&om_act=convert&om_clk=multimodule&tag=multimodule;picks;title;3

I agree about the camera, and the movement "skimmer" occasionally just, well, seems to have a mind of its own when you're inside buildings or next to one.  saywhat It doesn't sound like online works all that smoothly, alas.

I'm roughly through about half of the 9-mish campaign now (about halfway through mission 5).

Lastly (I'm going to play a little more before I hit the hay smile), I dug around Gamespot and found a fairly useful interview with Slant Six's designer director for this:
http://www.gamespot.com/video/939493/6176793/socom-us-navy-seals-tactical-strike-interview-2
The big video size distorts PSP movies though -- it look better than it does in the footage but you get some idea of how it plays.

Slant Six is also developing SOCOM: Confrontation, an online-only SOCOM game for PS3. They previously did Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror for PSP (Sony Bend, Syphon Filter's original creators, did the recent followup Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow).
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 04:51:14 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2007, 08:31:43 AM »

Good to see these series getting updates.  I'd love to see some full blown SOCOM and Syphon Filter games for the PS3.  Maybe both a SOCOM Tactics and more traditional combat game, or at least some crosstalk between SOCOM Tactics and some unannounce full SOCOM game.

I have to admit, though, that I've never been into Syphon Filter games, I missed it on the PS2 and didn't like using the buttons to replace a second analog on the PSP version.

Thankfully, with Sony focusing on making a lot of first party titles, there's no doubt we'll see remakes or Sequels.
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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2007, 02:07:42 PM »

We probably won't see something like Tactical Strike on PS3, alas -- Slant Six spent 2 years on the PSP version with the idea of making something specifically for PSP's controller limitations and for a handheld (this is what they tend to say when asked if something like this would also make its way to PS3). In a way, that lack of a 2nd thumb stick sometimes helps encourage more unique games for the system rather than PS2-direct-ports. That's my glass half full view. smile

You will get both an online-only PS3 game (Slant Six's SOCOM: Confrontation) and a "full" PS3 SOCOM akin to the PS2 games in terms of a campaign game and campaign-multiplayer (SOCOM 3, by original dev Zipper Interactive: http://www.us.playstation.com/News/PressReleases/258).

I don't know what it says though that at least some of the time, the PSP outsells PS3 (esp. in Japan, less so in U.S.). I'm actually hoping Slant Six will return to PSP after finishing SOCOM: Confrontation, and that Guerilla (Killzone: Liberation) returns to PSP after completing Killzone 2 for PS3.  icon_smile

I share discomfort with the buttons-for-aiming in Syphon Filter, but there's a target lock (Trigger key I believe) that makes aiming pretty easy though it can get a little klutzy when there are multiple targets.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 02:09:25 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2007, 07:56:05 AM »

I'm kind of hoping they make a turn based or real-time tactical game set in the Killzone, if Guerrilla returns to the PSP that is.  Just imagine something like 40k squad command, set in the Killzone universe, with more plot, online play, and RPG elements.

Hopefully Killzone 2 will be successful enough to spawn another PSP game.  I just hope they see the value in having more "western" style turn based games on the PSP, not just Asian-style SRPGs.

I really enjoyed Full Spectrum Warrior, I just thought that older consoles just didn't have enough power to handle a bigger environment and better AI that the game needed.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2007, 08:00:37 AM by Turtle » Logged
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« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2007, 02:06:40 PM »

The PC version (demo) of Full Spectrum Warrior ran like a pig on my system, so I never was able to get into it myself either. I also felt it really had too many units to shepherd. I'm happier with maybe 4-6 squaddies to control, whether it's tactical strategy, or more of a tactical shooter (SWAT, Ghost Recon etc.).

I put some time in on the Instant Action missions in SOCOM: Tactical Strike last night. What I didn't realize is just reaching a mission unlocks the two instant action "mini-missions" on it that you can play when you don't have a lot of time to play. Also, you earn a modest amount of skill points for completing an instant action missions and getting at least a passing grade (if you get an F, you get nada) -- you can then use the skill points in the campaign so there's a good reason to put some time in on Instant Action.

The instant action missions use the same environment of the main mission but just on a small portion of the map. There's some decent variety as you go. Like one's infiltrating a bunker, another's defending a warehouse that has multiple entry points (I got slaughtered and got an "F" grade on that one on my first try  crybaby). These are also pretty good "training on the fly" for mastering your squad orders and proper placement.

Also, when I added some more points into extra equipment slots, a second attachment slot opened for primary weapons. A new item is a bipod attachment (for assault rifles, sniper rifles and heavy machine guns) that improves accuracy. I don't know yet if the troops actually drop to the ground to use it.  icon_cool

I probably should've compared this more to Brothers in Arms. While flanking and suppressing often isn't necessary in this, the same principles of BiA are sort of at work in this.
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« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2007, 02:01:35 PM »

Another pretty enthusiastic review, from Pocket Gamer UK:
http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/PSP/SOCOM%3A+US+Navy+SEALs+Tactical+Strike/review.asp?c=4820
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Overshadowed by countless other high-profile PSP games in the run up to Christmas, an understated release for this portable tactical-action fest belies an amazingly entertaining experience. Ignore the lack of buzz and astonishing widespread critical disdain [bit of an overstatement - reviews have generally been solid smile -bj] for Tactical Strike because, in our view, this is one of the best PSP titles of the year.

Quote from: Pocket Gamer
The effort to craft a console-quality experience has succeeded, then, yet ironically serves as the game's primary flaw. Tactical Strike brilliantly deploys its strategic gameplay in huge, challenging missions that simply aren't tailored for portable play [most are 30-60 mins].

But that doesn't prevent it from being an enjoyable experience. On the contrary, this in fact turns out to be one of the system's finest and it's not difficult to see why: it looks great, plays just as well, and gets an exceptionally solid job done with remarkable style.
One thing I belatedly realized -- the "job skill" skill affects how quickly and well an individual soldier does things like pick locks, heal fallen soldiers and breach doors.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 02:06:45 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2007, 12:11:36 AM »

Still having fun. smile Learned a few new things:
-Once you add enough extra inventory slots, they can start carrying things like bipods for sniper rifles, assault rifles and machine guns (better accuracy); and various grenade launcher attachments for assault rifles (there are Frag, HE [brief timer delay before exploding] and Smoke variations), with each attachment having 2 grenades innately available (can add more via another inventory slot). The rifle grenades give you a lot more options for tight spaces, or spaces with an overhang ceiling where you can't easily make a grenade toss.

-You can use the up-down arrow buttons to get a zoomed in view or go back to normal view; and to switch night vision on and off (for some reason, this doesn't appear to be explained in the manual).

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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2007, 06:58:09 PM »

Love the game - some questions, though.

How do you get a guy to use his second weapon?  I equipped one of my guys with a sniper rifle as his secondary but when I hold the X button for attack (as shown in the tutorial) I never see the option to Snipe the enemy.  Is there something else I have to do?  I don't get it.

Other than that, wow, what a game.  The strategic options with fields of fire and covered movement, etc, etc is amazing.
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« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2007, 04:24:24 AM »

Hey, TheMissingLink alerted us to the Playstation store for PSP stuff opening. And... there's a new playable SOCOM: Tactical Strike demo!  icon_biggrin

Playable SOCOM: Tactical Strike demo (at the new Playstation Store)
http://store.playstation.com/store/product.vm?id=UP9000-NPUG70003_00-DEMO000000000000

Do have to register at the new store to download the demos and videos and stuff.
Quote from: jament
How do you get a guy to use his second weapon?  I equipped one of my guys with a sniper rifle as his secondary but when I hold the X button for attack (as shown in the tutorial) I never see the option to Snipe the enemy.  Is there something else I have to do?  I don't get it.
At the risk of sounding like a SOCOM dweeb pointing things out, his sniper rifle is actually his main weapon -- but he'll automatically use his secondary SMG unless you specifically use the sniper menu. I just find it cool he knows to do that automatically and says what he's doing ("Secondary weapon at ready" or something).  icon_cool

1) To get the sniper menu:
A) You can select the fireteam-duo that the sniper's in -- or --
B) press the Left Trigger button so that you select the individual soldier carrying the sniper rifle

2) Get a target in the crosshairs
3) Press the Square button, the Sniper menu (as long as the target is in view) should be the top entry on the menu (the # in parentheses indicates how many bullets he has left - I always try to bring extra sniper ammo).
4) Highlight Sniper Rifle on the menu, and that should activate it
Then the sniper guy should take the shot. Just keep in mind it's automated. It's still somewhat suspenseful (if the enemy walks out of view or the angle becomes a bad shooting angle, the sniper may refuse to take the shot)\

The game's commands and controls are so deep that I always feel like I'm learning something new; I've gone back to the tutorial sequence a couple times now just to try to grasp things a bit more.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 04:26:02 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2007, 06:34:05 AM »

Played the demo...it was pretty cool.  It felt totally weird not having, you know, that total control of one character, but it played nicely. 

I'll definitely grab it if the opportunity becomes available.
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2007, 04:09:35 PM »

Ah - the inventory menu.  I kept looking for the option in the attack menu.  Thanks for the assist, BlackJack.

Once you get the hang of the controls, the strategic options here are amazing.  Last night, I had a situation where my team was entering a courtyard.  Two enemies stood behind a car in the center of the courtyard and another was doing overwatch on a balcony above.  I stealth one team member around to flank the two on the ground while another sneaks up the stairs to get near the sniper.  I queue commands to on my signal:
The soldier on the stairs takes out the sniper.
The flanking soldier tosses a grenade behind the car.
The two fireteam members covering the car set to field of fire around the car.

I signal - and about 3 seconds later, all enemies are dead.  The soldier above pops up over the stair wall and kills the sniper.  When the flanking soldier tosses the grenade, the two enemies run out from behind the car, where the other two fire team members pop them.  Nice and clean - just like we like it.

Pathfinding has been very impressive.  You can move guys using the map or with the movement cursor.  One cool thing is that there's a shadow that shows how your guys will end up at each location so you can see whether they're behind cover or not.  Anyway, either way I move them, I've never had a soldier take the wrong path or get stuck.  They get where they're supposed to go, moving between obstacles and responding to threats as they meet them.  It's very well done.

« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 04:19:12 PM by jament » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2007, 04:17:18 PM »

You're welcome. smile Just remember -- that triangle button (which cancels your most recent command) is your friend; I was hitting a lot of the wrong keys and orders the first hour or so I played and being able to tap a button to cancel quickly is a lifesaver. Eventually it all becomes fairly second nature.

I think this would be a fine game to play on TV via the optional video connectors, but I don't think my older CRT type TV meets the standards to play games on it (I think DVDs would play OK).
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« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2007, 04:56:03 AM »

If you're willing to try the playable demo and watch a few tutorial videos at SCEA's site, you can take part in a little contest quiz (If you already have the game, it's sort of a moot point):
http://www.us.playstation.com/EP/Promotions/297?DCMP=ILC-RSS-Events
Quote
Now that you have enlisted, let's see what you're made of. First and foremost you need to download the demo.
(Once you get to the PLAYSTATION®Store for the PC, just follow the directions.)

Your mission is broken down into three challenges. The first is Training Camp, where you will learn the true meaning of "tactical" through a series of eye-opening videos. The second is the actual Mission—here you will command an entire fireteam in the Tactical Strike demo. And last but not least is the debrief—a chance for you to tell it like it is.

Ten lucky winners will receive a copy of the SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Tactical Strike game, the official strategy guide and a SOCOM Carabiner key chain.
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« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2007, 07:54:43 AM »

Tried any multiplayer yet?  Is there co-op?
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2007, 06:02:58 PM »

Sorry, I haven't felt up to wrestling with my mothballed Buffalo router yet. There isn't any co-op alas (there are some team vs. team variants).

I really think the deliberately paced single player campaign is the meat of this game. There are certainly many PSP games that are the opposite (where the single player is too short, or just sort of a simplified training grounds for a more interesting online game mode), esp. the PSP Star Wars Battlefront games. I see this as the exception to that rule. smile

While I'd love some co-op, it seems pretty clear there are some limitations to what the PSP CPU can handle, and co-op seems beyond what it can do at this point. The PS2 Syphon Filter games had some interesting co-op modes, for example (one let you boost up other players to reach weapons, tops of vehicles etc.), but it's nowhere in sight on PSP.
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« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2007, 06:14:14 AM »

Blackjack, thank you for the impressions - I bought the game because of your posts and I absolutely love it.
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« Reply #38 on: December 21, 2007, 05:41:38 PM »

Awesome! smile I've taken a break in the middle of I think mission 5 or 6. I've got to get back to it some day. Also, my mom got me Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow as one of my Xmas gifts. smile
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