Dubai is Falling


2K Games is resurrecting the long-dormant Spec Ops series with Spec Ops: The Line. This new entry is going to blend classic third-person shooting elements with a squad dynamic. In addition, 2K is promising a thought-provoking and tightly-woven narrative that goes far beyond what most military shooters generally strive for.

Dubai is in shambles. A series of devastating sandstorms has all but buried the once-beautiful city. In the chaos, the well-respected Colonel John Konrad disobeyed his extraction orders in an attempt to evacuate as many civilians as he could. The storms prove to be too much for Konrad, and he is subsequently presumed missing or dead. After a while, though, it becomes evident that Konrad is still alive. A team of elite operatives is dispatched to locate and rescue their lost comrade.

You play as Captain Martin Walker, the leader of the Delta Force bravo team charged with Konrad's rescue. This mission is delicate not only because of Konrad's M.I.A. status, but also because the city has apparently erupted into full-blown anarchy. Those who haven't been killed by the sandstorms are either militants, looters, or the victims of said militants and looters. There's a lot going on in Dubai during the events of Spec Ops: The Line, and based on what I've seen, your choices will be able to influence what happens.

At first, The Line looks like a standard tactical third-person shooter. It's got a cover system and it's got squad tactics. However, it will be rife with unique and memorable cinematic moments. This is where the developer's choice of setting comes into play. Even without the looters and rogue militants, Dubai is still an extremely dangerous place because of all the sand. One firefight reaches an abrupt end with the correct placement of a sticky grenade. The group of enemies is unwisely hiding out next to a set of glass double doors. Why is this unwise? The glass is all that stands between the bad guys and tons of sand. Walker sticks an unlucky goon, and a few seconds later, the sand pours in with amazing force, immediately killing all the enemies. At another point towards the end of the showing, white phosphorus rains into the area from up above. In seconds, the entire structure goes up in flames. Here's hoping the development team can continue to deliver high-intensity cinematic moments like this.

The demo I saw followed Walker and his men on a mission to find Gould, the last man deployed to find Konrad's whereabouts. At the end of the demo, the team finds him in the hands of a number of sadistic-looking militant-types. One of the goons empties an entire assault rifle clip next to a civilian woman; Walker is given explicit orders to stay cool, but he is getting antsy and angry. After a while, the guy playing the demo decides that he's seen enough. He trains his reticle on one of their heads and fires. The man's head explodes and hell breaks loose. Gould is grabbed by an enemy, and the demo blacks out as he is executed.

Spec Ops: The Line left me excited. The shooting looks intense, the squad dynamic seems interesting, and the setting is by far the most unique I've seen in a third-person military shooter in a long time. Furthermore, it looks like it may be one of the first shooters to go out of its way to remind you of a simple rule of war: necessity can never be equated with morality. Spec Ops: The Line will be released in 2011; you'll be able to find it for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Spec Ops: The Line
2K Games