One of the titles that took me by surprise and had Deputy Editor Joel Taveras excited before E3 2010 was 2K Games’ Spec Ops: The Line. I had a chance to watch a live play-through of the title with Producer Greg Kasavin and Associate Producer Chris Thomas feeding us tidbits of information in between the game’s heavy narration which serves to give the game an identity quite nicely. In the opening cinematic to the game soldiers are helping out an injured soldier who is down, but not out.
The game is set in a futuristic Dubai city which is thought to be deserted and turns into a stage for war with crossfire and planned chaos becoming the major theme early on. After a destructive series of sand storms leaving the terrain barren, you are in a world that is post-apocalyptic and get the sense that every person you might ally with or kill plays some deep part in your survival.
A few shots and a kick and you’re busting doors down, jumping into the action. The threat of getting caught in the crossfire is lurking around every corner as you roll through a destructive phenomena still taking place. The team you, Captain Walker, leads is after information behind what happened to two other squads sent into this zone. Col. John Conrad is the one you are looking for while another force seems to be taking over extending itself to even rag-tag guys to get strength in numbers. This squad was original formed for a similar rescue mission in the area and your mission is to find out what happened with these two parties as well as extract Conrad.
The game features what appears to be a very tactical, cover-based game-play style with optional stealth at various points in the game. When the team has nowhere to hide however all hell breaks loose. Sand combat can be used for example blasting pieces of architecture causing a chain reaction to bury your foes. Be careful, or this fate could be the same for you and your men as well. Switching from weapon to weapon as well as taking cover looks robust and quick in the game and teamwork comes into play often, which is a great sign. You can even kick enemies in the face when hopping over cover!
The story has a strong narrative broken up between cinematic cut-scenes, your typical in-game dialog talks between squad-mates, but also by the players actions themselves the story will be crafted. You will be able to make real-time decisions using the game-world as a stage for your plans through real in-game combat. Gamers can now affect the very main plot which Spec Ops: The Line is very centered on by who they shoot in the head and when, rather than by simple dialog choices in other games that will go unmentioned here.
Overall this game tries hard to separate itself from the current lineup of third person tactic and first person shooter games out there and I believe it does a good job of that. The narrative story starts off a little confusing but picks up fast and leaves the player engaged and wanting more from only a short taste. What was seen at E3 2010 shows great promise for this title, especially for the deep thinking third-person shooter type of player.
- Title: Spec Ops: The Line
- Developer / Publisher: Yager Development, 2K Games
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
- Release: 2011