Spec Ops: The Line (PS3) Preview
Originally I checked out a closed door preview of Spec Ops: The Line way back at E3 2010. I liked what I saw. A squad based, military themed third person shooter set in Dubai. Except the catch is Dubai has been buried under the sand by a devastating storm. The remaining people there have fallen into chaos and barbarism. I was curious because it seems the game had gone under radio silence for a while and I was happy to hear the game was coming back to E3 this year before it’s pending release date this summer. So during E3 this year I finally got the chance to pick up and play this intriguing looking game and I was not disappointed.
The game has a really dark storyline evocative of Heart of Darkness, the main antagonist of the game is even named John Konrad. An elite Delta Force unit led by Captain Martin Walker are responding to the distress call of an army Colonel John Konrad. Dubai was hit by a massive sandstorm, and Konrad was dispatched to help evacuate the remaining civilians stuck in the city after it was hit. You play as Captain Walker and try to figure out what the hell happened and why Konrad stayed behind in Dubai and went off the reservation and perhaps his mind snapped.
I like the style of gameplay a lot. During the fire fights you don’t want to just rush out into the open and start shooting and busting guys open as that’s an easy way to get killed. The action and shooting focuses on taking cover and picking your shots of the enemies and then advancing your position. There’s a feature on the controls that allows you to call out and pick out enemies for your two teammates to gun down which works really well. There were two playable demo stages at the booth for E3. One stage was early in the game as the Delta Force squad are battling some militant refugees through sand hills and plane wreckage. The other level takes place much later in the game as it looks like Walker and his team have gone through both literal and proverbial hell. Walker is voiced in the game by Nolan North and Konrad is voiced by Bruce Boxleitner whose basically become a Kurtz-like figure.
Once again I love the setting of the game. Dubai is such an amazing city and it’s a visual marvel. So to see it as a featured location in a game that’s been basically swallowed back up by nature itself is really compelling. The game does have a choice element to it, but it doesn’t dramatically change the outcome of the game itself. Spec Ops: The Line finally drops on the PS3 and Xbox 360 on June 26 in the US and June 29 in Europe.