Combined Assault is the 2006 release for the SOCOM franchise, and is somewhat different to previous games in the series. Combined Assault does away with previous locations, and uses a fictional Middle Eastern country by the name of "Adjikistan", which appears to be somewhere nearby to Pakistan. The main appeal of this fictional country is that there are many different locales to wage war in that would not be realistic in real life.
Gameplay in Combined Assault is much the same as in previous, and more recent games from the SOCOM franchise. You take on the role of a team commander, and are instructed to complete objectives in relatively open environments. How these objectives are accomplished... is entirely up to the player. You are accompanied by three allies to fight alongside you, and these allies can be armed by the player, to ensure that weapons selected are suitable for the current environment.
The country of Adjikistan has reached its own independence, and the first leader selected is charismatic Ismail Karim. Karim is responsible for promising a more prosperous age for the country of Adjikistan. These words make him a prime interest of the United States military. However, they also make him a prime interest for a rebel group operating in the country. These rebels threaten to destabilize the country, and to run Adjikistan into the ground.
Initially, an undercover agent by the codename of Underwood is sent in to investigate. When he is to be extracted, a helicopter is
sent in to collect him, and this chopper is shot down by militants. The SOCOM team is ordered to set out and destroy the remains of the chopper to prevent the loss of sensitive information.
After this, it is believed that the militants are using the caves running through a mountain range to co-ordinate attacks around the country and d
amage the infrastructure of Adjikistan. The mountain range is located nearby to the crash site, and the SOCOM team are sent out to cripple the rebels and destroy elements of their group. Once the SOCOM team has stormed the caves, they will find information left by Underwood, who left in a rush after his identity was exposed. Underwood was close to discovering the funding for the militant operation.
The SOCOM team are set out after this to investigate a Soviet gulag which was liberated 30 years ago. Despite this liberation, the guerrilla movement have reused the building as a location for holding their own hostages and prisoners. The gulag is located on a small island in the area, and is also loaded with anti-air armaments, as aerial assault is the easiest way to access the gulag. In this gulag, the team discover some information of value to them about the paramilitary organization.
The militants are being supplied by a drug cartel based in the country of Adjikistan. Not only this, but the paramilitary are mere 'middle men' between the cartel and an unknown benefactor. They are being supplied with weapons to help the cartel and third party operate in more seclusion. The guerrillas are using an abandoned Soviet storage facility to smuggle in drugs for the
cartel. After disrupting the smuggling operation in a major way, you are sent out to a village that is key to the enemy formations. Apparently, two survivors of the initial plane crash (with the callsigns of Vandal, and Badger) are being held hostage here. On top of this, there is a key element to the guerrilla faction present here, with the callsign of Mongoose.
It is discovered that the paramilitary is being funded by a group of mercenaries, who are operating a secret training camp to organize them into a fighting force capable of threatening the government. The SOCOM team are instructed to ensure this camp is no longer usable by anyone, and this means razing it to the ground. Information found in the secret training camp suggests that the rebels are using railways to move large supplies of armaments and ammunition around Adjikistan. The train used by the organization is located at an industrial wharf in the east of the country, and is being loaded with weaponry as the SOCOM team arrive.
A log found aboard the train shows that the organisation is also using a massive freighter to ship weapons and traffic humans around the country as well. This freighter is the Sea Wasp, and it is located at another industrial wharf, where it has just arrived.The objective: to ensure the Sea Wasp hits the bottom of the ocean. Using explosives, ideally. After scuttling the ship
and preventing the shipping of anything for good, there is one final trade route that is still being used: road. There are trucks used to smuggle arms along an ancient trading route that has existed since the ancient Chinese times. Unfortunately for the smugglers, this route is to be closed. Permanently. And guess who's going to be closing it? There are chances of human captives being smuggled as well, so these captives must be rescued before the trading route closes for good. These trucks originated from what was once a Chinese temple. However, work has been underway, and this temple is now being used to synchronize helicopters being used.
According to information obtained from Underwood, Karim is responsible for the attacks against his own country. He has been organizing the paramilitary, and using the rebels as pawns. His plan is to secure oil located in the country, and to use the paramilitary to exterminate any threat to his claim for the oil. Underwood leaves directions to a stadium that has been long
since abandoned, and has been converted for internment. Unfortunately, Karim is not here. However, one of the paramilitary leaders is, and you are authorized to use whatever required force to deal with him. Upon discovering the fact they have been played, the rebel forces become allies with the United States military, and unite to strike against the corrupted regime. The Adjikistani military has prepared for this, and are falling back into the capital of the city in an attempt to lure the allies in. This would result in a lure and attack war, which would prove too costly to be a viable tactic to accept in the case of the allies. In order to sabotage the plot, the SOCOM team is dispatched to the capital and are ordered to take down key supplies, as well as the city's power.
Considering the double attack on Adjikistan, Karim's power over the country is slipping, and he is struggling to remain in control. The government have secretly relocated to another building to avoid being hit by US airstrikes, so the SOCOM team is dispatched to prevent the building being used in a viable defense. In desperation, the Adjiki government seize control of a major oil pipeline and threaten to detonate it should the United States military not withdraw from the country. Such an action would be catastrophic, and would cause massive damage to the Asian - and international - oil markets. The aim is to prevent the explosives from being detonated, and allow the US to advance without threat of oil being lost. After losing this pipeline, the government retreats further, and a splinter from the paramilitary begin to ambush convoys from the US and rebel alliance. One of these ambushes happens to catch a major rebel leader in the crossfire, and it would be ideal to save this leader.
The final attack of the game is on Karim himself. The man has retreated into an underground bunker with a hostage in the form of a United States senator. Karim plans to procure US funds and flee the country himself, in the hope of escaping. Karim's callsign is Kingfisher, and the senator's is Bearcat.
The SOCOM franchise was an early online-console franchise, and it comes as no surprise to find that Combined Assault features online multiplayer as well. Online multiplayer contained medals to reward players, and other such things. When the game launched, Zipper Interactive had an 'account verification' system in-built. Players needed a credit card to verify their account and unlock such features as ranks, friends lists, and clans. This practice came under fire from the industry, and Zipper removed this feature. All accounts on the game are automatically verified.
On August 31, 2012 SCEA shut down online service for Combined Assault.
Combined Assault had three packs of downloadable content, and they were all map packs. The final map pack came out in November 2008, along with an announcement: all Combined Assault map packs were to be downloadable from that date for free due to the age of the game. In total, all three map packs adds up to around 65MB of storage space as a requirement. The maps originally were $5.99 each, but this was changed after some time.
Launchers and Rifle Mounted Armaments
The box art for the SOCOM game varies between the UK and US releases. On the US release, it shows a soldier crouched with allies near a de
stroyed building. The European box art for the game, however, is extremely different. The image shown is not even comparable to the US boxart. To the left is the box art used for the SOCOM: Combined Assault release in the UK. The image is shown with a green hue, to simulate the idea of nightvision and stealth operations. It also shows a soldier with a flashlight attached to his gun, which is a feature the actual game lacked. This change in box art may be to bring the design more in line with the British forces, as they wear similar uniforms to those shown on the box. Additionally, UK boxes displayed a blue strip below the Playstation 2 header to signify online play.
Combined Assault scored extremely average reviews. According to GameRankings, and the 41 aggregated reviews contained on that site, the overall rating is 72%. None of the reviews aggregated go below 6/10, or 60%, but none of them go above 8/10, or 80%, either. Critics were disappointed with the story in Combined Assault, and said it was weaker than in previous releases.