It still surprises me that in a day when uncompressed game files can fill all 100 GB of a dual-layer Blu-Ray disc, PlayStation Portable games still clock in at 1.5 GB or less. SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3 not only does that, but it manages to display an impressive array of visuals. Maybe I shouldn't be so shocked - after all, this is the same studio (Slant Six Games) responsible for the high-quality look of both PSP Syphon Filter games. What really stuck out to me was not only how good the in-game models and textures looked, but how they really improved on the user interface, weather effects, and even the lettering. My short hands-on time with this game at PAX still hadn't prepared me for the final product. It's just a good-looking game, and I applaud Slant Six's efficiency.
Once past the eye-feast stage, I jumped into the campaign, which features you as Wraith - a
new returning commando previously seen in Fireteam Bravo 2 and Tactical Strike. I had the choice whether to go through the tutorial mission, or to bypass it. Doing missions gains you Command Equity (CE) points, just like in previous Fireteam Bravo titles. CE points are used to unlock weapons and attachments in single player and co-op, or clothing for your customizable characters in multiplayer. You gain CE by playing single-player missions, co-op missions, and even playing multiplayer. The tutorial is good for some easy CE points, so made sure to revisit it later.
Wraith and the boys take position at an estate.
The campaign is straightforward, consisting of typical "hit this button", "shoot these bad guys" objectives with a storyline welded into it. Voice acting is above par, and the in-engine cutscenes are pretty great with one exception: your character is shown with the gear that you pick, attachments and all...minus silencers. I'm guessing that there was no simple way to dynamically exchange weapon sounds in the cutscenes, so if you have a silencer equipped you can expect it to disappear during those segments. In a nice touch, a familiar face from Fireteam Bravo 2 shows up partway through the plot, so the game is not a complete disconnect despite the new cast and setting.