Military shooters. To say the least, they have become all the rage in the industry today. Some call it repetition, others say it lacks originality. To this gamer – we could always use another shooter. A hard day dealing with customers – nothing more satisfying than taking out a few bad guys in a virtual environment.
That just made me sound like a serial killer in the making. Trust me, I can’t even kill an ant properly.
I recall last year that goHastings had a price glitch sales fest. Two of the games that were included in the price mistake were L.A. Noire and Spec Ops: The Line. I immediately jumped on L.A. Noire, and to my surprise, goHastings honored the mistake. It is my regret I didn’t jump in on Spec Ops as well.
I had my worries about the game. It was coming from a developer that produced only one game I was familiar with, coincidentally bearing the same name as the studio itself, Yager. It was a decent game that really never got any kind of spotlight, but was never intended to do so.
I’ve seen a trailer or two about this game but never thought much about it. When the demo became available this week I was quick to jump on it simply because this week’s PSN update offered little else that appealed to me. What I didn’t expect to happen as a result of me playing the demo would be me wanting to place a pre-order.
Spec Ops: The Line is just another military shooter. That is fact. What’s the problem with that? A few weeks ago I finally popped in SOCOM 4 and gave it a go. I was never one that was interested in SOCOM given the multiplayer-first focus, but I enjoyed the game for what it was. The campaign’s story was cheesy, but I had an entetaining time going through the mix of stealth and full on assault missions. It also didn’t hurt that I spent around $20 on it compared to the original asking price of $60 when it first debuted.
After playing through Spec Ops lengthy demo, it reminded me a lot of the mechanics from SOCOM. Third person gameplay, variety of weapons to choose from, and simplistic yet useful team tactics. The story does look to be more intriguing and the AI a bit more realistic.
I find it ironic that this game features Nolan North, who’s voice is also featured in SOCOM 4. Not to mention, in Uncharted 3 (where North portrays Nathan Drake) the game featured missions in Dubai, the same setting of Spec Ops. More on Nolan North later on.
What Spec Ops did right to at least get me interested was that it was focused on gameplay mechanics. A good cover system, easy team controls, and responsive triggers. If there was one improvement I could ask for it would be more sensitivity control, but it is one obstacle that I’m able to look past. It didn’t help that I just got done with a three hour play session of GTA IV. Yes, I’m finally playing through the second expansion pack.
With that, there’s a lot that can go wrong with this game. Unlike SOCOM 4, this game seems to be attempting to appeal itself to both single and multiplayer gamers. The story consists of conspiracy and treason – how many times have we seen this in the last two years? The biggest concern is length. Eight to ten hours tends to be the industry accepted mark for a game these days, but even franchises like Call of Duty or even Battlefield clock in under five hours.
Multiplayer wise, how can it attract an audience? The game can do everything right to make for a stable and balanced game online, but sometimes there is just no audience out there. The release window looks to be competition free so the potential is there for the game to gain a following. Just how long will it last is a bigger concern. With games like Black Ops II and Halo 4 heading out way later this year.
Spec Ops won’t win over every one, but for me, going in with low expectations allowed me to see what the game can do right if it succeeds. Check this off the “waiting to see how it does” list and count me in for a pre-order, pending finding a good deal somewhere on the web. This could just be a sleeper hit of 2012.