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SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals: Tactical Strike Preview

Duke_Ferris By:
GENRE Strategy 
T Contains Drug Reference, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

I go to a lot of different video game parties and events. Most are just thinly veiled attempts to exercise company credit cards, get you drunk and stick a game in front of you. So imagine my surprise when I actually learned new skills last week on a Sony press tour. And while I'll probably (hopefully!) never use my new knowledge in real life, it made me appreciate Sony's upcoming PSP title SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike.

click to enlargeNortheast of Los Angeles, Sony brought out some real Navy SEALs to give us a day of training. It was all done with what are called "Airsoft" guns, which are essentially highly authentic recreations of real world guns that also happen to be fully-automatic BB guns. They sting and they leave welts - good inspiration not to get shot.

We were trained on how to shoot and move, how to provide covering fire, how to cross a road, how to storm a room, and other combat techniques during our one day crash course. It was tiring, fun, educational, and when I got the chance afterwards to play Tactical Strike, it all made sense.

That's because Tactical Strike is completely new take on the SOCOM series - it's a strategy game. No, it's not a shooter with some strategy elements, it's pure strategy and tactics. You control a squad of four SEALs through a number of different missions, and you use all the techniques I talked about and more in order to insure success.

click to enlargeAnd generally, it's all about the element of surprise. You can split your team up (a good idea if you do it wisely) and, for example, have your sniper take the high ground and hide out to provide emergency cover fire if needed. Then have a couple of heavier gunners use cover to sneak around the side. Queue up some commands - pick ready targets for your sniper and gunners - and then execute them all simultaneously. Done right, you can kill a group of enemies before they've had a chance to fire a shot.

There's even some light RPG elements. Not only can you outfit your team any way you like with real world weapons and loadouts, you can also advance your men in different skills. Balance out your team with a great medic, the ultimate sniper, and a burly soldier who can carry a thousand rounds of ammo, or just train everyone for maximum carnage, it's up to you.

Despite the RPG elements, Tactical Strike is not turn-based like Advance Wars or most tactical games, it's more like an RTS where you only have four units and no replacements. If you've played the old Commandos series, you know what to expect.

And you can expect it this fall, so plan your tactics wisely, never let you enemies know whats coming, and when the moment is perfect... Strike!

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