"In war our decisions have consequences; and make no mistake, Captain. This is war."
That is the line that finished up the demo for Spec Ops: The Line. 2K Games wants to create a game where choice is prevalent in the story and making those choices will have an effect not just in the now, but be present further along in the story. Yager Development is busy crafting a shooter that can be the standout that gamers will notice.
Spec Ops: The Line is a third-person military shooter taking place during a fictional timeline in Dubai. The city has been ravaged by severe sandstorms that have left the place in ruins. It looks as if the desert has decided to take the land back and it has.
You are placed in the role of Captain Walker (voiced by the ever-present Nolan North) as he leads his Delta Force bravo team in search of Colonel John Konrad and his team who went missing and is feared dead.
As the demo starts, Walker and his team are looking for a man named Gould. It starts with the team in a building trying to find a viable exit point. As you look up, you can see a man overhead shooting in the air as a helicopter flies over and returns fire. But death does not come from the bullets fired, but from the hazardous fall below.
The effects of sand will be a huge element intertwined within this story. It will serve as terrain for the soldiers to get around. As Captain Walker looks for an exit he decides to make one. He opens fire on a window. As it breaks, sand comes pouring in, making a ramp and a viable escape route.
As Walker and his men proceed out of the building, they are presented with a shocking sight. A dead body has been left hung on a lamp post as a warning to resistance not to mess with Konrad's men. You get the sense that this is inhuman, but that feeling only worsens as you progress forward and notice that nearly every post in sight has a dead body hanging from it. Players get the feeling that something, other than the cataclysmic sandstorms, has gone wrong here. Konrad was sent in to help the people and yet his men are now dead bodies twirling in the winds for the birds to feed on. If you are getting a feeling of Heart of Darkness from this, it should be no surprise. Yager wanted to incorporate elements from the famous classic as a tone for this story and it is working.
As the demo progresses, the team comes up on a squad of bandits patrolling the area. With this part, we get a first look at the cover mechanics and they are indeed in working order. As Walker grabs the first set of cover behind a cab, he then decides to get a better vantage point so proceeds to with ease, roll off of the cab and then attach to a nearby wall and then traveling along it until he is in excellent flanking position. As his squad is spotted and then orders them to open fire, he can then pick off the bandits unaware of his location with ease. Here we see the second role that the sand plays. As the fire fight progresses on, players can shoot blockades holding back sand to bring down tons of it on unsuspecting enemies. Here the graphics could use a little work. As Walker throws out a grenade, you get very little explosion and only a small cloud of sand pops up.
We are then shown, in action, the horrors that Konrad's men have unleashed on civilians. White phosphorous begins to rain down from the sky and instantly incinerate all the civilians it touches. As the team once again takes cover, Konrad's men then walk along the plaza as they execute any survivors. But it does not end there. As the demo approaches its climax, Walker and his team finally find their target Gould being held by some of Konrad's men. Refusing to give up vital intelligence, one of the soldiers proceeds to shoot around a tied up woman. As stated in the beginning of this preview, decisions have consequences. One of Walker's men cannot idly stand by while this action takes place and lines up a sight to take out one of the soldiers. But the other tells him to stand down and wait for the captain's orders and adds that opening them fire will start another fight and could get Gould killed risking the mission. It is here that the player must decide what to do. As time passes and no decision is made, the team member gets more impatient and tells the captain he will open fire. Finally, Captain Walker decided himself to take the shot saving the civilian's life. The entire moment then slows down and Walker's squad proceeds to eliminate the area of Konrad's men.
The developers want to stress dearly how choice will be a huge aspect of the game and even not making a decision is in fact a decision in and of itself. If Walker had decided not to open fire, a whole new situation could have taken place.
Spec Ops: The Line is looking to be a very emotional and story-based shooter where the player must make decisions in which they must decide what is right to do as a person and what must be done for the sake of the mission. In 2011, players will be able to make those decisions and walk the line for themselves.