|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Yager Development|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: TBA 2012|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Adam Dodd
After being in development for over half a decade, the anticipation for the much darker Spec Ops: The Line is building. Its story has been heavily influenced by Apocalypse Now, so it's safe to say we can expect a grittier and more violent game than what we may be used to. For the uninitiated, The Line is a cover-based third-person shooter with a primary focus on the single-player experience. Most shooters like to let their multiplayer offering take center stage, but while this game will have a solid multiplayer component, it's the story that takes the spotlight here.
The Line takes place in the fallen city of Dubai. Once this city was a prosperous home to the wealthy and fortunate, but it has since been overwhelmed and eroded by constant sandstorms. Now it's a home for the lawless. Though most of its inhabitants have escaped, some still remain, and it's up to U.S. Army Colonel John Konrad and the squad of soldiers at his command to protect its remaining citizens. You take on the role of Captain Walker, who's been sent in to evacuate Konrad from the increasingly treacherous city. During your rescue mission, you'll be faced with choices that will challenge your morality and force you to make decisions that few people are able to make.
Your squad consists of three soldiers, each armed with a specialized skill set that makes them indispensable to the survival of the team. It's in your best interest to not run in guns blazing; it's better to get to know your surroundings and use the cover to your advantage. As you progress through the story, you'll be able to improve your equipment and find better weapons. By the end of the story, you'll be a stronger soldier, albeit one who's haunted by the decisions he's had to make. There will also be squad commands that give you the ability to direct your teammates toward certain objectives, flanking enemies, reach advantageous areas, etc.
Arguably, one of The Line's most intriguing features is the addition of sandstorms. The reason Dubai quickly became a half-buried skeleton of a city was the constant bombardment of sandstorms that made it impossible to live there. When it comes to open warfare, these storms also have a huge effect on the battlefield. Not only do these unpredictable storms obstruct your view as well as that of your opponents, they can also completely alter the environment. They can open new paths or close them, and they'll sometimes give certain advantages to either side.
The multiplayer, while not the primary focus of the game, is definitely a feature that quite a bit of time and creativity is being invested into. The Line will include a fully featured multiplayer component that will also be seamlessly integrated into the game's world and story. It's been described as an extension of the single-player experience with multiple different game types, many of which will include the terrain-deforming sandstorms. It has also been confirmed that the game will incorporate some sort of cooperative action, possibly giving player control of all three members of Captain Walker's squad.
The Line is aiming to set itself apart from the more action movie-esque games like the Call of Duty and Battlefield series by giving us a level of storytelling that we don't often see in games in this genre. It shares many of the staples of other shooters—guns, explosions, gorgeous visuals, and so on—but its squad-based gameplay and cover system will help it stand out from the increasingly cluttered shooter crowd. The addition of terrain deformation adds an element of unpredictability; a sandstorm actually has the ability to turn the tide of war by hurting or helping one side.
This isn't the type of game that will have you mowing down waves of faceless foes from the safety of a tank or eliminating dots on a monitor as you take out enemies from an AC-130 gunship high in the sky. The Line is all about putting you in tough situations where you have to make difficult choices that affect those around you. This is a much darker game that aims to reveal the true face of war, including the parts that similar games tend to avoid entirely. You're no longer in the shoes of some silent, impenetrable hero. If you can handle the far darker path the series is taking, and you don't mind witnessing the true horrors of guerilla warfare, then The Line might be for you.
CCC Contributing Writer