The newest version of Socom does something many wanted in Socom 3, it includes the previous version's, Socom 3, online game. So many gamers who bought Socom 3 wanted to play Socom 2 maps online that Zipper released a map pack with Socom 2 maps and plans to release another soon. Zipper avoided that with this version by including all the Socom 3 maps and allowing you to play people with Socom 3 online. GREAT!!
This newest version of Socom, many think, is the hardest yet. The computer controlled enemy (called Mercinaries) is much smarter, harder to kill and their aim is dead on. Many complained about how easy Socom 3 was to defeat. This new version at the toughest level will have at least a couple of missions that will challange even top players.
You can play the game in more then one mode. You can go through the game in Campaign Mode both offline, and with up to 3 others, online at 3 levels of difficulty (Ensign, Commander and Admiral). You can do "Instant Action" Games on or offline which are one level missions (levels you have already played) with goals such as capturing the enemy leader, recovering a briefcase, etc.. You can also of course, play in online games with up to 32 players like the previous versions.
New for Combined Assault: Badges. Previous versions had goodies like grips and weapons that were unlocked by beating the entire game at different levels. Now to unlock items you need a certain number of badges. Badges are awarded for doing different things in the game like a certain amount of kills with a certain type of weapon as well as beating the entire game at a certain level.
New for the game. Triangles now appear over team mates heads and can be seen through walls. This helps in reducing friendly fire kills and in seeing where your team is in relation to you. When a team member is killed their triangle slowly fades out so you can see where that happened. This new feature also was updated to those playing Socom 3 online. Also new is a few new weapons. Some need to be unlocked. Perhaps the most used new weapon is for the Seals, the MG36, a light machine gun.
Overall, if you liked Socom 3 you will enjoy the new maps and the ability to play Socom 3 maps online with your same account information. The feel and play is pretty much the same as Socom 3 online but there are a couple of minor changes such as new sounds.
I am giving the game a 4 because there are a couple of things they need to fix. The patch to make Socom 3's voice system compatible with Combined Assualt always on hotmike (in Co-Op mode) has made non-Co-Op voice chat work for only some of the players some of the time. It most likely is an issue where players with a slower connection can't talk or hear in large map game play. I have yet to play a Co-Op game where the hot mike has not worked, but there have been many games where voices lag and echo in other players mics and that can be annoying. Also, when a player on your Friends or Clan List is in Co-Op mode and in a password game you can't enter the password and join the game plus you don't know what server they are on to find them and enter the game. There are also some software code bugs that if you play long enough you will run into like not being able to set a charge on a structure that you are required to blow up to complete the map or your offline teammates won't follow you. Plus there are a couple of things I thought the game still needs like if you get shot while getting ready to throw a hand grenade you should drop it where you are and it should explode.
Overall its a great extention of Socom 3 that has more difficult and engaging gameplay that forces players to relie on skill and brains.
More then a year after its announced release, the second online Map Pack was released this month online for $5.99. It contains several maps from Socom 2. This last Map Pack has brought many players back to the game. Those hoping for the next installment of the game for PS3 that was supposed to be released around this time now at least have some different maps to play on until next year's new version is released.
UPDATE 5/09 While I haven't played this version in a year and a half, I learned not long ago that there was a final update and a free map pack released for this version of SOCOM before the release of SOCOM: US Navy Seals Confrontation Stand Alone last summer. Since its (too early) release Confrontation has gone from almost unplayable to stable but there has been no Map Packs released yet for Confrontation. Those with the backwards compatible PS3's may want to pick up this discounted bargain while waiting for new content to be released for Confrontation.