I’m a huge fan of the SOCOM series on the Playstation 2, so I was eager to get my hands on SOCOM: Confrontation at E3. As soon as I found out that Sony had a playable version of Confrontation on the showcase floor (thanks, Chad!), I headed straight over to Sony’s booth to check it out.

The first SOCOM game to hit the PS3, Confrontation will be an online-only game and is focused mainly on bringing back the intense, thrilling, and fun online experience the original titles were known for.

Sony had the pre-beta running and I was actually playing online with the quality assurance testers from Foster City, Calif. in a 32-player team-deathmatch. We played on one of my favorite maps from the SOCOM series, Crossroads, which has been completely redone and looks as beautiful as ever with the graphical power of the PS3.

Through advanced physics, lighting, and gorgeous environments, Confrontation is a fabulous looking game. And with seven highly detailed maps, with five supporting 32 players, developer Slant Six Games has put quite an effort in making this game one of the most realistic shooters on the market.

Being a SOCOM vet, it didn’t take me long at all to figure the controls out because they were mostly the same, but now with the addition of a knife melee attack and an a much more fluid sprint button. Oh, I don’t want to forget to mention that the game takes advantage of the Sixaxis controller to actually lean in and out of coverage, which worked surprisingly well. Another thing that is different from the past games is the camera angle behind your character, which has been redone for a fresh, next-gen experience.

Confrontation offers players the choice of playing as one of five special forces units including: U.S. Navy SEALs, Special Air Service (SAS, United Kingdom), Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK, Germany), Unidad de Operaciones Especiales (UOE, Spain), and 1er Régiment de Parachutistes d’Infanterie de Marine (1er RPIMa, France).

Players will also be able to customize their characters with facial and camo customization, and even customize gear, including weapon modifications.

With the focus purely on giving SOCOM fans a great online experience, Confrontation is said to have an emphasis on tournaments, clan ladders, leaders boards, and a full online community. Tournaments will be available at regional, national, and global levels. Stat tracking and clan management tools will be integrated with SOCOM.com, giving players the ability to keep up with their accounts away from their PS3.

I was quite intrigued with SOCOM: Confrontation and spent about half an hour with the game, but with all the beauty and thrill within the game, I still noticed a few bugs. At times there were equipment and guns that were dropped from fragged soldiers just floating in the middle of the air. There was also some lag in the 32-player match, and I absolutely hate lag. But, again, this was a pre-beta version of the game, and Confrontation has recently been pushed back to October, so Slant Six should have plenty of time to tweak the bugs out.

SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation will be available on October 14 downloadable through the Playstation Network or in stores, which will come packed with a wireless Bluetooth headset.

I can’t wait for this game and I can already tell I’m going to lose a lot of sleep playing online. Count me in on the bluetooth headset package.