In terms of cinematic impact, 2K Game’s Spec Ops: The Line isn’t likely to compete against the big spending shooter franchises, such as Call Of Duty and Battlefield, but it does have a few tricks up its sleeves that have impressed us so far.
We’re about three hours into the campaign so far and it’s refreshing to see that Spec Ops hasn’t gone down the same route as many other shooters, particularly in its audio production. The intro, in which the American flag flies proudly while a heart-felt version of “Star Spangled Banner” plays out on an electrical guitar, suggests that we’re just about to meet yet another in-your-face, loud and brash set of soldiers that shout out “Hell yeah” and swear at every opportunity.
On the contrary though, it turns out that Spec Ops dialogue feels more authentic than a lot of shooters we’ve played and the voice-acting is impressive. The dialogue is actually quite toned down compared to what we’re used to hearing from soldiers in video games, with clever and occasionally witty banter that has actually made us sit up and want to listen to what they’re saying and soak in the storyline.
In fact, the audio as a whole has already played an important part in our Spec Ops experience. The soundtrack is superb with the likes of ‘Hush’, originally sang by Deep Purple, blasting away as you come face to face with some stiff resistance from enemies while caught up in a fierce sandstorm.
The audio experience is just one aspect of Spec Ops: The Line that has impressed so far though. The cover system is also very slick, combat fierce and level design impressively varied to ensure there’s a new type of challenge around every corner. It’s also particularly clever how the developer has used sand in the game, which is almost like having an extra enemy or an ally in your team. The most impressive use of sand so far was when we shot through a giant glass window behind a group of enemies and then saw it pile through on top of them.
Sand works against you too and you can end up losing your footing and getting caught out by sand drifts, but it's good to see that there's something new to think about in this shooter than just running from one cover spot to the next. In truth, sand could get a little annoying if it continues to pop up and blind our vision throughout the campaign, but so far Spec Ops: The Line has really surprised us. It sounds great, plays well and the storyline and voice acting have so far kept us hooked.
Stay tuned for the Spec Ops: The Line review next week.