Spec Ops: The Line preview - E310
E3 2010: Going behind the scenes with 2K Games' newest entry in the Spec Ops franchise
Spec Ops: The Line is an upcoming third-person shooter video game being developed by Yager Development and published by 2K Games. The game is the ninth installment in the long-running Spec Ops series, though the last entry was all the way back in 2002. Going from PC exclusive to Playstation exclusive, the series has seen its share of ups and downs. With The Line, 2K looks to bring the intensity and the action of the series back for modern generations on all three platforms. During the overwhelming E3 schedule, we have found a slot to come by 2K’s booth and have a look at The Line.
The Line is a cover-based shooter taking place in Dubai. The live demonstration was happening somewhere along in the campaign. After a series of devastating sandstorms, the whole city is covered in sand and most of the populace is missing. As we progressed through the level though, there were a number of notable and very attractive architecture that has been preserved inside various locations. This basically means that the player won’t be wandering a barren landscape endlessly, but rather attempt to navigate their way through a deformed city. The story is based on a squad that has been sent to Dubai to find a missing lieutenant. However, for some reason the local survivors have taken up arms and refuse to let you progress in your search, resulting in many firefights.
The whole scenario of the game is based on discovering why these various factions in the city are trying to stop you, which puts a rather bleak perspective on the game. In fact, even during the demo, we came across a rather disturbing setup which saw bodies hanged from lampposts all along a deserted highway. Scenes like this are promised to be common in the game for a more emotionally draining and gut wrenching experience, rather than just a shock factor. Not much was revealed on the game’s main characters, but the story promises to be well worth your while.
The game is build as a shooter from the ground up, so the basics of armed combat are present in every scene. Chances are good that many users wouldn’t have played the original series, either because they were too young then or simply did not pick up on the series. The shooting mechanics looked sensible, and it didn’t appear that ammo management will be a factor in the game. The entirety of the Line is said to be based on close to medium range encounters, again in order to personify the action. There will also be moments to decide on a course of action – for example, in the demo the player was given a choice to shoot enemy soldiers who are harassing a helpless couple, or let them get dragged away. The outcomes will later alter the gameplay and possibly story flow.
A new twist to the gunplay comes from the use of sand in the game. As the city is covered, sand is both a natural remedy and a killer. For example, shooting a tall window will let the sand pour inside the building, thus opening a path outside. In combat, players can use explosive to blow up walls that reinforce pathways in the sand dunes and let their enemies get swept away. But just as well, enemies can use sand to their advantage and get you buried.
Spec Ops: The Line will come with a full range of coop multiplayer modes, along with the usual competitive offerings. There is a beta for the game set to start soon, and only on Xbox 360 initially. There will be no coop campaign, because the developers believe the emotional toll must be experienced in single player. The game is set to release in 2011 on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
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