April 13, 2012

PAX East Preview – Spec Ops: The Line

SOTL_360_FoBIt had been 14 years since I last played a Spec Ops game and my fractured memories did nothing to prepare me for my demo of the ninth installment in the series, Spec Ops: The Line, developed by Yager Development and published by 2K Games. The game’s story is adapted from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and centers around the rescue of a U.S. Army Colonel and his team in Dubai.

The action began in earnest with a helicopter chase sequence taking place among the skyscrapers of the iconic Dubai skyline. Gameplay from the gunner position was tense and frenetic as drawing a bead on enemy choppers darting around rooftops was made more challenging by your pilot’s own evasive maneuvers. In one moment I was I jerking back on my feet as my target disappeared abruptly and loudly from view after flying headlong into a nearby crane, and in another I was patiently stalking my prey through the windows of an office building before realizing that I could simply open fire and lay waste to the intervening glass and cubicles to go for the kill. Ultimately, all air traffic was unceremoniously brought down by a flash sandstorm, a natural force that will frequently play a role in the proceedings.

SOTL PAX Screenshots (1)

On the ground, I could make out the familiar voice of Nolan North through the din of PAX bleeding into my headphones as my Delta Force team and I walked through the beautifully rendered remnants of the storm onto a wreckage-strewn desert highway. Once the air cleared, I was able to take control and experience a competent squad-based third person shooter. Movement controls were fluid and cover mechanics functioned as expected. However, I found the transition from lining up the reticule from behind cover to popping up and drawing down my weapon’s sights with a pull of the left trigger would seem to land my shots consistently above my targets. I assume some tweaks to controller sensitivity settings will yield better results. Shoulder-button based squad controls were simple and effective, allowing you to designate targets for squad mates and issue commands such as deploying stun grenades, leaving you free to attempt flanking maneuvers. My demo was cut short during a close quarters sequence taking place inside the passenger section of a downed airliner, but as I put down my shotgun I can certainly say that the amazing visuals, solid action, and compelling story left me excited for more. I look forward to experiencing the entire story of Spec Ops: The Line on June 26th on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.


About the Author

is an avid gamer on all platforms, unapologetic graphics whore and peripheral junkie. He is also a drummer both electronic and acoustic, a loving husband, and adoring father to two lovely girls. Follow Craig on Twitter as @Talus as he eats sandwiches and posits on the latest inconsequential happenings in the games industry.



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