Developed by Yager at first glance Spec Ops: The Line may seem like a generic third person shooter but an hour or so in it will make you realise that it is anything but and, with a little more polish, Yager could have had something seriously special on their hands.
Please note this is a review of the single player component only and the version reviewed was the PS3 version.
The game begins with the player, a Delta Force Operator called Martin Walker (voiced by the industry’s favourite, Nolan North) talking about how John Konrad is one of the greatest soldiers to ever live and how he once saved Walker’s life. But, the 33rd Battalion, under command of Konrad, stayed in a now isolated Dubai against orders to protect the citizens of said city. Throughout the first cutscene you get a familiar feel of Copolla’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ which will stay with you throughout the duration of the 8 hour campaign and suitably so.
Walker, along with 2 other operatives, Lugo and Adams enter Dubai through a vicious sandstorm and are initially met with desertion: Rows of cars jaggedly abandoned set the scene for what you will encounter once you get into Dubai but on a much larger, hard hitting scale and the more the trio witness of what the city has become, the more it changes them – Walker in particular.
Initially the banter between the Delta Operatives is light-hearted and witty and you get a real sense of the friendship between the three, but as you progress through the concrete jungle their patience begins to thin and it’s no surprise given the steadily worsening atrocities that you witness. You can get a better understanding of what went off here, through collectable items such as recordings of conversations and how the situation doesn’t just affect them, but how it affects everyone – their morale, the breakdown of their beliefs and how now the only thing that matters is survival.
Spec Ops: The Line is a tried and tested third person cover based shooter that for most of the time works well, but there are still some hiccups remaining. You typically take cover behind sandbags or pillars which can degrade and, in the mid-section of the game, require you to kill wave after wave of soldiers. The combat feels mediocre. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no innovative cover mechanic and it sometimes doesn’t snap into cover as fluidly as it should which can result in frustrating, seemingly cheap deaths.