Not your average military shooter- rinse/repeat we're used to. Despite it's faults, the story will keep you invested.

User Rating: 8 | Spec Ops: The Line PC
****SPOILER FREE REVIEW****

This game is so much more than just a military, cover-based, 3rd person shooter- the story is what sets this game apart. It's a must play if you're the type of gamer that thrives on a great story and a game that makes you think and forces you to accept it, despite all it's faults, simply because you owe it to yourself to experience this story. Just when I want to give up on modern military shooters, this game comes along and encourages me to keep hope alive.

The bar just got raised for stories in shooters with this release, by German developer Yager (2k Games publisher).

There is also a free demo on Steam but it's not a good representation of the game- if you're curious if your rig can handle it, download the demo and use it as a test for your PC but reserve judgements until you get to experience the whole product. (The content in the demo is just parts- not in order- from the main game). It will give you a feel for the controls as well (you can change key bindings).

While we're on specs, let's cover those before we get to the nitty-gritty (if you know you can handle the game, then skip this section for the bulk of the review that follows).
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MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:
OS: XP SP3 (Windows XP, serive pack 3)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2GHz/Amd Athlon 64 X2 equivalent
Memory: 2GB
Hard Disk Space: 6GB Free
Video: nVidia GeForce 8600/ Ati RadeonHD2600xt (256MB Memory)
Direct X 9
Sound: Direct X compatible
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RECOMMENDED REQUIREMENTS:
OS: Windows Vista, 7
Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core Processor
Memory: 3GB
Hard Disk Space: 10GB Free
Video: nVidia GeForce 9800GTX/Ati Radeon HD 4850 (512+MB Memory)
Direct X 9
Sound: Direct X compatible
**Game requires a 1 (one) time online verification, then can be started/played offline anytime you wish- (many games have this requirement).**

Languages for the game: English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish.
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This game is hardly without faults, a lot of little things you 'could' knit pick about, but none of them are game breaking. I played with mouse and keyboard and I didn't have to change many key bindings, but the option is there (menu/options). It's clearly a port, but plays comfortably with PC's mainstay mouse/keyboard but is also playable with a controller. There aren't fov (field of view) options (but you can use a program flawlesswidescreen.org ,(though I haven't tried it like some gamers have, so I won't comment on how well that works). For people using resolutions like 1920x1200- they have noticed the game plays displaying black bars. I ran the game with 1920x1080 and the black bars aren't present.

Spec Ops: The Line ran very well on 'very high' settings, v-sync enabled without stuttering or lag (in single player). I haven't played in mp so I don't know if there's lag there. By most accounts, the mp is lacking but worth a try but the focus of this game is clearly on single player, only playable as 3rd person.

This game is inspired by the novel "Heart of Darkness", and is a cover-based military shooter and takes place in sandstorm devastated Dubai. You have 2 AI squad members with average AI, decent voice acting (though it's subjective whether you approve of their dialogue). It's not a fixed story-line, you can make 'some' choices in game at certain points -moral dilemas with no clear right or wrong choices, lesser evils mostly. You start off with the mission of searching for survivors and are supposed to evacuate them, but things quickly take a turn for the worse. You and your squad are members of the American Delta Force. You find out the CIA is involved with questionable motives and the 33rd and it's not what your character Captain Walker and team members (Sgt. Lugo and Lt.Adams) expect. I will leave most of the story a mystery since it's what you'll want to fully experience for yourself.

You go through the game most of the time with your 2 squad members and find intel along the way and I strongly encourage you to hunt them out and listen to them when you find them. It enriches the experience. There is interactable environment (ex. shooting glass to dump large amounts of sand on enemies or exploding explosives to get kills or remove barriers. It's not on the level of Battlefield though). I think the graphics are o.k., rough at times, but as multiplatform games go, not bad. (And yes, I have a rig that can fully appreciate the game's graphical attempts). You can also heal team members during fire fights, or you can command your other team member to heal them but if you get in trouble with your health you will eventually die if you take enough damage. This game uses regenerating health. Basically, get to cover, wait, heal, attack. It's not always that simple though, with the game's sticky cover system, which at times can result in cheap deaths. You can carry 2 guns (some equippable with silencers for stealth) and 3 types of grenades (typical grenades, sticky, and stun). When you select a greneade, it shows a travel path/destination of your throw and you can adjust accordingly. The grenade and all explosions are weak and lacking graphically speaking. If you get pinned down, the game will alert you to give the message to your team to stun, or you can fight your way through it without. The computer decides when you can do that but it's not forced upon you. The game uses preloaded checkpoints and is Very cut scene heavy. Basically whenever you move to another area for the most part or start a new (of 15) chapter- there's a cut scene. I personally find it annoying but it's for you to decide if that's something that bothers you. On the plus side, they are skipable. There are way points to your objectives (some of us call that hand holding) and it's not even really necessary since the game is a strictly corridor fashioned, linear game. Not like you can get off path or lost. I digress. There are ammo containers and grenade boxes to refill at and you can take or trade with a fallen enemy's weapon. Sometimes you drop an enemy but they're not dead, you can tell 2 ways, when you near them, a prompt comes on screen giving you the option to perform an execution with some variance and you can also tell because only a 'dead' enemy drops their weapon. You also interact with things like ziplines or doors and repel at times. There are some light sniping sections. The game is littered with disturbing and brutal images you come across and occassionally participate in. It doesn't seem like a cheap show, it enhances the point and story they're telling. There are places in game when the crazy radio man/dj plays music, some like it, I'm not too crazy about it, but it's just not my type of music. Outside there's plenty of brown,- sand and sandstorms. If you're not crazy about that like me, then don't worry, enough of the game occurs indoors to give you enough of a break from it. Some people are complaining there are too many functions binded to one key, but you can change those, so I don't see that as such a big deal.

There is a scene at the end of Chapter 6 with a helicopter that has a lot of people complaining because of cheap deaths and you can even at times die in a cut scene (don't ask). I have a feeling a patch is incoming for that. On my first playthrough, I got through it all at once without dying. A spoiler free hint would be, if you keep getting killed with that scene, just watch what/how the helicopter does and where and you'll find a way around. (If anyone wants an answer that's more direct, pm me). The 2nd playthrough, I got killed a few times, cheaply, in this scene, but you can figure it out with a little observation.

This game is taking most people around 7'ish hours to complete. Little less on an easier setting without considering any of the 50 achievements, little more at higher difficulties and looking for intel or other achievements.

On Steam, as a new release, this game costs $49.99. If you pre-ordered then you have access to the FUBAR pack free (mp enhancements mostly). There are leaderboards, stat tracking, Steam cloud, etc.

On the surface, this game looks like another basic military shooter, the same game different day we always get, but under the surface, there's something special. I'd score it a 7.8 (if I could). I hope this review was helpful. Please check my gs profile Image section for screenshots. Game On :)
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