A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a violent action game with a lot of shooting and destruction; when characters are shot, blood sprays from the impact and spreads on clothes and the ground. Cut scenes show beating and death by poison gas, as well as cigarette smoking. The game has a vibrant online community; Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under age 12. The game also includes a recruitment video for the Navy featuring footage of SEALs in action.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In SOCOM 3: U.S. NAVY SEALs off-line missions, players lead a squad of four Navy SEALs as they take on terrorists and renegade militias in three settings around the globe: North Africa, Southeast Asia, and Poland. Over the course of more than a dozen missions, the team rescues hostages, snatches dictatorial leaders out of desert spider holes, and completes a variety of other war-on-terror-era military adventures.
The game's action ranges from run-and-gun shooting to stealthy sneaking. Players choose from a wealth of realistic military gear and weapons to outfit their squad. Players also blow up buildings and vehicles with explosives and heavy weapons.
Is it any good?
SOCOM 3 provides thrilling firefights in one of the best online games on the PlayStation 2. It improves on its predecessors by including drivable vehicles like boats and humvees, and allows easier, one-button commands for the squad. The artificial intelligence is only so-so; players may find it easiest to proceed Rambo-style, taking down hundreds of enemies single-handedly. While the gear looks real, the military action is over the top: When characters are shot, blood sprays onto their clothes and the ground.
Players with high-speed Internet access can compete with up to 31 others in a range of missions, from death matches to cooperative challenges. Parents should know the popular SOCOM community has a lot of trash-talkers and havoc-wreaking pranksters. To deal with this, players can form clans among their friends and block obnoxious players, but to participate in online rankings or join a clan, players must enter a credit card number (although there is no charge).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Navy recruitment video. What do you think of the military using video games as a marketing tool? Are players who enjoy military games more likely to want to be soldiers? Do you see anything dangerous about conflating video game violence with real-life violence?