When Spec Ops: The Line was announced a few E3s ago, something about it caught my eye. It seemed grander than your other basic military 3rd-person shooters. I was really looking forward to seeing a lot of coverage of this game, but the coverage never came. I forgot about it and was content to play the Call of Duty games that came out. Then, all of a sudden, I heard the announcement that a demo was out. I immediately started to download it and was very impressed with what I played.
The best way I can describe the game is Call of Duty meets Gears of War. It’s your modern-day/near-future military setting with a cover system. Cover works well enough, though it’s pretty hard to screw that type of mechanic up nowadays. The only problem with it is that moving from one piece of cover to another can feel sluggish. I expect the characters to move faster considering they’re, well, trying not to get shot when out in the open.
The gameplay is actually very basic. It’s simple but it’s done effectively. It just really there to drive us forward to the things that really stands out, which are the action set pieces. They are phenomenal. The game takes place in Dubai after it’s been struck by a disastrous sandstorm. It’s very eerie to walk through this once-blossoming metropolis that is now a ghost town full of blood thirsty soldiers and refugees who are at war. The streets are littered with abandoned cars or debris from a crashed plane, and they all create a very interesting battleground. It’s especially exciting to man a machine gun that’s attached to a helicopter as it whizzes past building during an intense dog fighting sequence. As the helicopters exchange vollies of bullets, you watch as the windows of the desolate skyscrapers shatter. It’s a wonder to look at.
In fact, the whole game is visually appealing. It’s running off of the Unreal Engine 3, and Yager Development is really making that engine sing. The lighting is outstanding. The environments are extremely detailed and immersive. Over all, it’s just really nice to look at. You even have the option of playing with a couple different video filters, which are popular now for some strange reason (*cough* Instagram *cough*). I don’t see myself playing with those, but if that’s your thing, it’s there for you.
All in all, Spec Ops: The Line looks like it’s shaping out to be a pleasant surprise. The gameplay has a solid base that offers exciting, action-packed sequences across an incredible looking landscape that’s created using a powerful game engine. It has all the ingredients for a truly outstanding game. If the rest of the game delivers as well as the demo did, this will surely be a must-have for your collection. You can make it part of your collection on June 26th for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC.