Dubai with its myriad shopping malls, flamboyant hotels and dizzying array of dining options with hip clubs and bars, is one of the richest¬†and most beautiful places¬†in the world. The hotels are massive, the whole place is built to be bigger and better then anywhere else in the world, and for anyone who visits you will¬†truly¬†receive¬†a VIP¬†experience.
But¬†unfortunately in the case of Spec Ops: The Line and to quote Ice T and bodycount Shit ain’t like that, It’s real F@*ked up.
In Spec Ops: The Line you play the role of Captain Walker and his¬†squad of 2 tasked with entering Dubai after a series of terrible¬†sandstorms, to¬†piece together what has happened within this once rich city. And to search for more information on the Damend 33rd an american squad who have gone missing in the¬†devastated city.
The single player story keeps a nice steady pace, BUT in which seems to be a moden and annoying trend within video games in recent years, the single player story is played out within cutscenes. Not a problem you might think, after all we need to know the story and what is going on? But just like Max Payne 3 you will find yourself only actually playing for 5mins before a cutscene ¬†kicks in for 5-10mins, yes this hides any loading screens and can be skipped via holding the B button but then you miss what is going on within a very¬†interesting¬†story line and have to wait for the next section to load.
You play the whole game controlling Captain Walker via an over the shoulder cam. If you played future solider you will be at home with the control system¬†straight¬†away, Press A to run and dive into¬†un-destructible¬†cover, press A again to slip cover. A¬†nice feature here is that you don’t have to hold A in just¬†simply¬†press it once and you will sprint, when you hit cover you will lock into place. But for some reason you can only switch cover left to right or right to left, DO NOT attempt to switch cover forward as you will find yourself in the open and walking a couple feet to where the next cover is without locking onto the cover meaning one thing in a fire fight DEATH. ¬†The B button is used to vault over objects, Y fast change weapons and X to pick up weapons and ammo. One other function is used via pressing RT, this will bring up a red triangle which you place over an enemy and this will cause your squad to¬†suppress¬†fire on the target or use stun granadas on them. Overall the control mapping is well thought out and ¬†is very good, anyone who has played any FPS will be right at home with it.
Spec Ops: The Line seems to be let down by the AI both within your party and the¬†enemies. Enemies are triggered by trigger points which gives the game that railroad feel, you will walk into an area trigger the enemies kill them, then more will trigger and repeat 4 or 5 times before a cut scene kicks in or you can move on.
The areas outside have a feeling of a massive open space with¬†destroyed¬†cars,buses,shops and hotels littering your path all providing good cover when things kick off. But ¬†you soon find out you are blocked down the sides via¬†invisible¬†barriers or small mounds of sand that push you forward, Yes you can flank the enemy to a surten degree, but this seems pointless as when you move forward so does your squad who seem to be expert shots and clear the area with¬†ease if left to there own¬†devisees meaning you don’t really have much to do.
The graphics on the Xbox 360 seem a little grainy and it’s hard to tell if that was the overall effect aimed for, after all we are in Dubai in the middle of a standstorm. There is one point that really impressed me that is when a sandstorm hits the area you are in. You hear a low rumble in the distance, you hear the wind picking up, then the sandstorm hits, your head drops, your hand in front of your face trying to cover your exposed skin from the stinging sand while trying to fight your way out of the area. You really do have to¬†experience¬†this to understand why just this bit alone is so stunning, you really do feel for captain Walker and was the one point in the game where I shouted out load WOW, this really does change the battlefield and the way you play this section of the game as your¬†visibility is cut down to just a few feet.
To some up the single player for Spec Ops: The Line, it is not a bad game it just feels and plays like 20 other titles before it, active cover from Gear Of War and some slow¬†motion¬†Bullet time from Max Payne are just two of the “other games” that the¬†developers have looked to for¬†inspiration.
It as some niggles like why are 4 or 5 snippers deployed into a hotel entrance hall to snipe you from 5 feet away? The cover system is not the best I have seen and it as a feeling of well just being dragged along for the ride.
But in saying all of the above the overall the game does play well and some of the niggles are a personal things like the cutscenes.
Will I go back and play the single player again? In short maybe but only in Co-Op mode where you and 2 friends can play the game which should¬†eliminate your squads crack shot AI. Also I have missed some of the collectable Intel which just like every other game are GOLD and¬†glows.
I was lucky or should I say unlucky to be part of the very early¬†alpha¬†multiplayer for Spec Ops: The Line back in 2010, at the time the multi player was bad very bad but it was very early access so I thought I would re-vist the multiplayer side of the game again.
You have the¬†usual modes or spec ops take on classic multiplayer games, death match, team death match and capture the flag to name a few. Because this was a review/preview copie of the game and the only people with the game was Developers or Reviews there where very few multiplayer games taking place and the only games being played seemed to be team death match.
The areas are large and are¬†scattered¬†with¬†plenty¬†of cover spots, the one level I was playing was set between two hangers with what seems to be a¬†destroyed¬†airport in the middle. You have a mini map in the bottom right of your screen which shows your postion and also highlights any near by enemies making the game a little easy and¬†encouraging camping. But for those campers out there things soon turn on you. In the distance you hear a low rumble, then the wind picks up and before you know it you are in the middle of a full sandstorm, your¬†visibility¬†goes down to just a few feet and the storm knocks out your mini map which really does change the way you play the game. Again as in single player you really do have to witness the sandstorms they are stunning.
A couple of problems I found with my very short¬†experience¬†of the multiplayer mode was the spawn points seem to be set meaning that once you have learnt where they are you can rack the killes up, also for some strange reason it kept dropping out after a few mins of play this seemed to be a little hit and miss, a couple of games i played from start to finish and others just kicked everyone. Hopefully this was just because the game is yet to be released and is something that will be sorted come Friday in the UK and today(tuesday) in the states.
From what little I managed to play of the multiplayer and it would be wrong to base a review on the multiplayer side of the game, I was very impressed and it is a lot better then the single player¬†experience¬†but only time will really tell. I am looking forward to starting up the game this evening when more players will be online and getting stuck into more multiplayer.
I will of course update this review to cover all multiplayer modes as I have played them.
If you are looking for a story lead single player action game with a good story and some jaw dropping moments and shocks this game is right for you, if like me you like a little more pace and action stick with the multiplayer mode and you won’t go wrong.
Should I buy the Game? MasonicGamer.com says YES
Spec Ops: The Line by Yager and published by 2K is out today Tuesday 26th June in the states and Friday 29th everywhere else.