Developer: Zipper Interactive
Release Date: November 2006
If you're a SOCOM fan, then you've probably played the original SOCOM Fireteam Bravo for the PSP. Because of the title's success, the team at Zipper Interactive has decided to bring out a new release with tons of fixed features and additions, such as increased visual quality.
My favorite features are the crosstalk option, which has been completely revised, and the increased interaction between this game and the new SOCOM: Combined Assault for the PS2. This means that while you play Fireteam Bravo 2 and perform missions, you will be able to see some overlap in the story from SOCOM: Combined Assault and see the SEAL team do its job while you do yours.
Other changes are that the AI will now be split into classes. Depending on the class the enemy belongs to, they will react differently according to what is happening around them and which items they can use. For example, if you go in with guns blazing Rambo-style, all of the enemies in the area will be alerted and will move toward the gunfire. If you go in stealthily, you can take out your enemies silently or simply avoid them altogether, and the enemies will hold their posts and not react unless they see or hear you.
Another way to capture the enemy is to use the new non-lethal weaponry. If you remember the first game, you'll recall the complaints about how capturing key targets with a gun was impossible. In addition to the new non-lethal weaponry, the developers have added several new lethal weapons. You can now call in air strikes, but you'll need enough Command Equity (CE) to use and purchase the weapon.
CE is a form of currency which can be used for purchasing new weaponry; it also determines the amount of information you'll receive during pre-mission briefings. CE is earned depending on how well you finish a mission and how much local influence is gained. Local influence can be gained by capturing enemies rather than killing them, which gives you a reason to exercise restraint. Not only can CE be used to buy new weapons, but it can also be used to unlock new weaponry.
Unlike the previous installment, where all guns could be locked onto their targets without a penalty, the team at Zipper responded to gamer feedback and has made it so that there is an inverse relationship between a weapon's power and the amount of time before the weapon locks on. Weaker weapons should lock onto their targets almost immediately, while a more noticeable wait time will accompany weapons that are more powerful. The locking system has also been somewhat improved so that it's easier to use. Another addition that greatly changes the gameplay is the med kit; if you are equipped with a med kit, you can actually revive or heal your team members.
The control over the AI players has gotten easier, and you will only be shown pertinent commands available for the given situation. The devs have also completely modified the user interface to be more friendly and easy to use. You are now able to assign a quick-switch command to each face button on the PSP.
If single-player mode isn't enough for you, multiplayer will have three additional modes: intel grab, control point, and target. Intel grab is like capture the flag; control point requires you to maintain control of strategic locations for as long as possible; and target mode is one-versus-all, where one player is tasked with safeguarding an object while everyone else tries to kill him in order to acquire said object. Any CE earned offline will also be available during online play.
SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 2 has done everything possible to take the original game to a whole new level. Look for it this November.