Spec Ops: The Line Preview
This is an updated preview, which has replaced the old one from last year.
It would be easy to dismiss Spec Ops: The Line. With the sheer number of blockbusters and hotly anticipated titles hitting early next year, Yager’s game could fall by the wayside. Let’s be honest. But if you do some research and check out available media, you’ll see that this title holds a lot of promise, and you should be intrigued by potentially innovative factors that should always be a part of intense military shooters. Fresh elements are always welcome, right?
You will step into the boots of Captain Martin Walker, who leads a Delta reconnaissance team. The group’s next pressing task is to search Dubai for Colonel John Konrad, who is MIA. It’s rumored that he and his team might be heroes: a terrible sandstorm forced an evacuation of the city but instead of leaving, Konrad stayed behind to help as many citizens as possible. Unfortunately, nobody has heard anything from Konrad or his squad for six months… But a radio transmission leads us to believe they’re alive.
It’s a third-person shooter, as you might’ve guessed. You can expect many familiar mechanics, but you’ll also be able to issue commands to your squad mates, ala Rainbow Six. The commands will be relatively simple, but you can get your allies to toss grenades or hone in on a particular target; I just hope they’re smart enough to handle their objectives with speed and accuracy. This can always be an issue with friendly AI. But anyway, the main appeal actually lies elsewhere:
Firstly, the constantly shifting sands will force you to rethink your path. It will also impact combat, as both enemies and allies will have to adjust to the changing landscape, which should make the environment feel dynamic and realistic. Sandstorms can also pop up from time to time, thereby hampering visibility. Secondly, player choice will definitely play a role; your decisions will alter a character’s behavior and how they respond to other members of the squad. In the end, your choices will impact the narrative, too.
Spec Ops: The Line features several features that could put the game head-and-shoulders ahead of other titles, provided the features in question are implemented correctly. We’ll also need reliable, responsive controls (as always), and here’s hoping for an emotional story that keeps us entertained from start to finish.
11/22/2011 Ben Dutka