Spec Ops: The Line puts you in the role of Captain Martin Walker. Along with your two comrades, Lugo and Adams, you’re on a mission to investigate the ruined city of Dubai and evacuate any survivors. Along the way you’ll uncover what really went down, along with crossing friend and foe, twisting the narrative around like a merry-go-round. Walker’s just trying to do the right thing, but the events that progress make him crazier, all leading up to a baffling finale. Still, Nolan North, of Uncharted fame, and the rest of the crew do an amazing job of conveying the somewhat heavy-handed story.
Spec Ops is a cover-based shooter. You’ll be armed with the standard allotment of guns, carrying two at a time along with three different types of grenades. Everything handles well, though using cover can be tricky at times. There is a nice flourish to the shooting as time slows down briefly whenever you make a headshot, or a brutal melee attack. Aside from the somewhat short, six hour campaign, there’s your standard set of multiplayer arenas. Nothing revolutionary, but it was fun for a few hours. The one issue I had was that while AI enemies weren’t the smartest, they were aggressive as hell, making even the easiest difficulty aggravating.
What Spec Ops does with its sand is amazing. The overall design of the ruined city of Dubai is beautiful, and keeps the environments fresh. One minute you’ll be fighting on a sandy highway, the next in a brightly lit nightclub. Speaking of, the original score of the game isn’t anything spectacular, but the licensed tracks included make for some memorable moments like fighting off soldiers to Nowhere to Run by Martha and The Vandells. On the downside, there were a lot glitches, texture pop-ins, and slow load times that given more time could have easily been smoothed over.
Spec Ops: The Line takes the shooter genre in a new direction. You’re not a hero, just a soldier trying to do the right thing in a sandy nightmare. The story, shooting, and especially voice work all make this feel like a worthwhile accomplishment. However, the glitches and overall polish needed some work. It’s not perfect in its operations, but like Captain Walker, at least the developers were trying.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on July 17, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.