Humble 2K Bundle Offers Spec Ops The Line For A Dollar

The latest offering from Humble Bundle is a stack of 2K games, including third-person horrors-of-war shooter, Spec Ops: The Line [official site] in the lowest tier. That’s yours for a dollar or more but (the horror, the HORROR) you’ll have to take a copy of Duke Nukem Forever as well. The Darkness 2 is the much more palatable final third of that one dollar selection. Jumping to the next tier, with a minimum buy-in of $8.37, gets you a copy of Civ V, NBA 2K16, Mafia II and…a Battleborn skin pack. Civ V is decent, even without the expansions, but I’d be tempted to wait until October for the sequel.

Spec Ops is the star here. At that price, it’s close to unmissable.

Almost everyone seems to have an opinion about The Line and for one dollar you can back up your opinions with knowledge of the actual game. No longer will you have to rely on an op-ed about how effectively the anti-war message was communicated, or the hypocrisy of making a satisfying shoot ’em up and then wagging a finger at the audience like Michael Haneke playing one of his funny little games. Now, if you haven’t already done so, you can actually play the game and see if it works for you.

I like it more for the setting than anything else. It calls back to Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now but those dripping hot trips down the Mekong and Congo rivers toward the Heart of Darkness are transposed onto stinging sandstorms and the shimmering glass of disintegrating high-rise hotels. It captures the horror of violence but it also does a very good job of showing how temporary mighty works can be. Ozymandias lurks in the wings.

As always, you can choose where your money goes. GameChanger are the charity of choice and you can read more about their work here, but you can also pick a second charity should you so desire.


  1. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    Absolutely loved spec ops. Such a wonderful surprise, given that the gameplay itself was a fairly simple gears-like. Anyone who hasn’t got this yet is in for one hell of a bargain!

    • mitthrawnuruodo says:

      Fairly simple Gears-like. But still more tactical and realistic than 90% shooters out there I must say. FPS as a genre is un-evolved and simplistic.

      • SlimShanks says:

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding you but… I think Arma wants a word with you.

  2. nottorp says:

    If it wasn’t clear enough, go get Spec Ops: The Line now. Play it for the storyline, not for the dudebro shooter game mechanics. It’s very worth it.

    • Smoof says:

      I couldn’t get through the frustrating mechanics and railroading.

  3. Basil says:

    Spec Ops was great but the Darkness 2 stayed with me longer, that voice was fantastic.

    Embrace the darkness jackieeeeeee

    • Rodrigues says:

      it is really good.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Yeah, I would have gotten this bundle in an instant if I hadn’t received The Darkness 2 from a previous bundle.

        Spec Ops: The Line doesn’t really sound that interesting despite everyone praising its storyline. I don’t buy shooters for the story and from what I’ve heard it’s supposedly self-critical and problematizing, which I don’t find that interesting, at least not in games. I’ve watched good movies that criticize the army and soldier mentality, but in a shooter I just want to have fun shooting. Currently playing Painkiller: Black Edition, which is great fun.

    • GameCat says:

      You can never go wrong with Mike Patton voice.
      He also did most of the voices of infected in Left 4 Dead, lol.

  4. TΛPETRVE says:

    Do I sense a smack of hostility towards Battleborn ;-) ? It may not be the big shite it hoped to be, and most certainly it’s not worth paying premium price for, but as part of the 15 quid tier – together with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – I’d say the bundle as a whole is most certainly worth it.

  5. Rodrigues says:

    Spec Ops is great. To supplement the information, on the $15 tier you also get Battleborn (full game), Battleborn platinum currency and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

    • Xocrates says:

      The 15$ Tier is worth for Pre-Sequel alone if you’re a fan of Borderlands don’t have it yet.

  6. frogulox says:

    im interested in the deliberate absence of the 15 tier, people will have opinions anyway, share yours with us too adam

  7. Unsheep says:

    Duke Nukem Forever was OK, and not the big disaster people have deluded themselves to think.

    Most people who hate the game haven’t even touched it, but blindly follow what our uniform gaming media and AngryReviewer Folk have claimed, people with agendas.

    It’s not perfect by any means, for one thing the pacing is completely off and there’s not enough shooting action for a Duke Nukem game.

    However game ran really well and there were plenty of really cool and memorable moments. It had lots of variety as well with driving, platforming and funny weird stuff.

    I have more memories of this game than of most other shooters.

    • anHorse says:

      Yeah mate Duke Nukem Forever was totally kept down by secret media agendas

      Nothing to do with it being a pile of rubbish

      • Jalan says:

        It’s biggest failing was not living up to the insane amount of hype surrounding it. Of course, it was impossible for it to even pretend like it could actually be released and just tiptoe past it like it wasn’t ever a thing.

        • Smoof says:

          I still have a vivid memory of reading about DNF in PCGamer in maybe…1997? and being upset that my computer just met the minimum requirements announced at the time: 120Mhz Pentium, 32Mb of RAM and a 3D capable video card (luckily I had my trusty Voodoo).

    • GWOP says:

      Quick, Unsheep! Now that you have exposed their agenda, the lamestream media is coming to get you! They are climbing the stairs to your room right now!

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        And there we have the problem of ascertaining whether something subjective is good or not. Person A says it’s shite, Person B disagrees. Perhaps they both blame each other of being sheep, ruled by laimstream media or having their agenda. Nobody knows!!!!

        My tip is going with your gut instinct after looking at the available info and using your brain to figure it out, but that’s too hard for most (I say without having any evidence).

    • Ashabel says:

      The coolest and most memorable moment from Duke Nukem Forever was the extremely long driving mission with occasional stops for gasoline, even though the car didn’t have an engine, a floor or real hydraulics, and a careful observation revealed that the fuel intake pipe kinda awkwardly wandered into the area around Duke’s crotch.

      A+ car model, it made me forgive the super-obnoxious alien queen boss in the stadium.

  8. ROMhack2 says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while Spec Ops was definitely relevant at the time given the popularity of first-person shooters, it’s since become much less important.

    It’s part of a weird recent history in games, in fact. Like when people waxed seriously about how impactful that No Russian mission from Call of Duty was. Or when people made out that Bioshock Infinite was a really smart shooter/thinker game.

    Maybe I’m in the wrong here but I no longer feel the need to recommend these games to people who haven’t played them.

    • nottorp says:

      If you only feel a need to play the latest and greatest, sure, don’t recommend/play it.
      If you’re interested in games that are a bit outside the norm, the lack of 2016-level polygons shouldn’t stop you.

    • maximus says:

      ummm…spec ops the line was not an FPS, it was a 3rd person game..sooooo..check facts?

    • Llewyn says:

      Since some people seem unable to read your comment, I’ll say that I agree with you. Some recommendations are only worth making for cultural relevance, and in some cases that is highly transient.

      • Buggery says:

        I’ll second that opinion. It’s not a terrible game, and it did something that was out of the norm, but it’s not beyond criticism. Quite apart from casual reflection on the plot revealing that maybe it didn’t really do a great job of exploring its own themes, the game itself was a bit shite to actually play.

    • Sin Vega says:

      I agree too, and frankly I’d go further, because I utterly hated Spec Ops Colon The Line, so much so that I struggled to even play past the few couple of hours, and uninstalled it soon after.

      Buuuut that said, I do respect what the devs were trying to do, even if I think the result was crap (althou gh extremely pretty and nicely designed from an aesthetic standpoint – not just BIG GRAPHICS but good use of colour and light and depth and all that). And while I wouldn’t particularly recommend it, enough people got a lot out of it for me to grudgingly agree that for a quid it will be well worth giving a try for many.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        Played the whole thing and I half appreciate that they were trying to do something with more plot/story/message but I remain intensely irritated that anytime someone brings up The Line they name drop Heart of Darkness, which frankly if they were aiming to reference they missed on just about every level.

        I could maybe believe they’re a bunch of illiterates who only got as close as watching Apocalypse Now and someone told them to adapt that but even then I’d call it a stretch.

      • anHorse says:

        I liked it until the White Phosphorus

        That point totally broke the illusion of choice that they were running with, the game wanted to scold the player for playing it so I stopped

        • AimHere says:

          The whole ‘illusion of choice’ thing was the whole point of that scene, and much the game in general. It’s a commentary on other military shooters. They give you the same bogus ‘illusion of choice’ and then reward the player for being railroaded through supposedly ‘heroic’ ‘choices’.

          Spec Ops decides to satirize the likes of CoD by doing the *exact same thing* except that the protagonist does bad stuff instead of good stuff, and receives criticism instead of praise.

          Of course, gamers being fragile little snowflakes, they frequently miss the point and get personally offended at being criticised by a bunch of mass-produced pixels for being railroaded into forced non-choices, rather than trying to understand what the game is actually saying here.

          • anHorse says:

            The whole ‘illusion of choice’ thing was the whole point of that scene, and much the game in general. It’s a commentary on other military shooters. They give you the same bogus ‘illusion of choice’ and then reward the player for being railroaded through supposedly ‘heroic’ ‘choices’.

            Yeah I get that but it utterly falls apart in that scene, in the others you were choosing between multiple options that were all horrific.
            With White Phosphorus it’s clear you’re about to do something horrific but it’s required to move on, and then the game’s all “aren’t you mean for doing that”

            The scolding doesn’t work without the pretense of a decision

          • Xocrates says:

            @anHorse: The game isn’t scolding you for doing it. The game is scolding you for playing games where such actions are forced on you and enjoy it. The game is calling you out for playing it, and it is not even subtle about it.

            People seem to have a serious problem that the game is not self contained. It very much requires context from outside itself to make any sense.

            You stopped playing after the white phosphorus scene? Good! That’s what the game was telling you to do.

          • SlimShanks says:

            It’s unfortunate that so many people are personally offended by the narrative. The game has some very interesting ideas. I feel like some people just don’t want to think about it because it makes them uncomfortable.

    • JakeOfRavenclaw says:

      I still really like Spec Ops, but I can understand this. The game is very much a reaction to Call of Duty and its ilk, and with CoD having both gone sci-fi and faded a bit from peak popularity, Spec Ops kind of feels like it’s raging against something that isn’t so much in the limelight anymore. I do still think it’s very good at what it does though, and the environments are so gorgeous that I’d almost recommend it for that reason alone (its vision of Dubai is probably my favorite ruined city after Rapture).

      On a side note, Anthony Burch wrote a good article about the trend of violent games that are weirdly uncomfortable with their own violence: link to (I actually thought Hotline Miami 2 handled this quite well, but I agree with a lot of his other points).

      • ROMhack2 says:

        Mmmm yeah, you’re right actually. The Dubai setting is pretty spectacular so I might change my mind on this a bit and say it’s at least worth playing the game to experience that.

        And thanks for the link. I’ve added to my ‘To Read’ pile so I’ll probably get around to it in about three weeks.

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      gritz says:

      Right now in the United States there is a very vocal sentiment that civilization itself is under attack by a simple barbaric evil that can only be stopped with disproportionate violence without nuance.

      I’d say Spec Ops is still extremely relevant as overall cultural critique, even if the art it satirized years ago has lost relevance.

      • Nauallis says:

        “disproportionately expensive and gleeful violence”


  9. Jay Load says:

    Okay, for a dollar I’ll happily accept one recommendation, one game I’d kinda wanted to play back when it came out but didn’t, and the infamously delayed Duke-Nukem Forever. Sorted.

    Might wait to see what other games are unveiled before committing more moolahbucks. Mafia and NBA flat-out won’t interest me, and I have enough 4X games to keep me going until the end of time itself.

  10. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    For anyone who might be on the fence about The Pre-Sequel: if the idea of a really big BL2 expansion with some great new playable characters appeals to you, go for it. It’s both shorter and less good than BL2 (there’s less variety in terms of enemies and environments, the story meanders around to little purpose, some of the quests involve a bizarre amount of backtracking), but it also really polishes up the skill trees (they’re MUCH more interesting than the ones in BL2, and you progress through them faster), and the low gravity is used to great effect. I quite enjoyed it, though again, it feels much more like a glorified expansion pack than a full-fledged sequel.

    • UmungoBungo says:

      If I haven’t played any borderlands before, should I just grab the pre-sequel? The sound of a shorter length entices me…

      • Xocrates says:

        The story assumes you’re familiar with both the previous games – 2 at the very least – so it’s not necessarily one I’d recommend to start on. 2 would probably still be the best starting place, though I agree that the classes in Pre-Sequel are more fun.

      • Xocrates says:

        Also, shorter does not mean short. With all sidequests is some 20-30 hours Vs the 40 from 2.

      • JakeOfRavenclaw says:

        I’d say start with 2–overall it’s the best in the series so far, and as Xocrates noted the story of the Pre-Sequel might be kind of weird if you don’t have the context of what happens next.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      I can’t even imagine a BL2 with less variety of enemies and environments.

      • Xocrates says:

        What an odd criticism. BL2 is not exactly sparse regarding environment and enemy variety, so your expectations are either incredibly off or there is something you’re not telling.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          You spend the first 10 hours of the game fighting the same snow beasts (in snow!) and the same bandits that were essentially unchanged from BL1.

          Most of the time when you finish a mission, your very next mission is to replay the exact same map. Borderlands has always been built around putting as much grindy repetitive filler in front of the player as possible.

          • Xocrates says:

            Which is a completely different complaint from the game lacking variety.

            Why yes, I do agree that the start of the game is far too slow and repetitive, but saying that the game lacks variety because you played 10 hours of game at least 4 times that long doesn’t seem exactly fair.

          • Buggery says:

            @Xocrates I can see what you mean but ten hours of gameplay is a pretty solid stretch of doing the same thing. I played it for about 3 hours with a mate and thought, “yeah, that’s enough” and haven’t bothered since.

            It’s not a bad game to play with a friend while talking smack about other stuff but the main draw seems to be finding different gun types – and that quickly stops being interesting about an hour in (and had to wait while your friend spends minutes at a time comparing the drops while you wonder around a territory that you haven’t engaged a quest for and therefore is entirely empty and tedious)

        • fish99 says:

          There are huge swathes of BL2 where you are fighting almost nothing but robots.

      • JakeOfRavenclaw says:

        Huh, the wide variety of environments has always been one of my favorite things about BL2, so I’m not sure how to respond to this. The Dust and Caustic Caverns and Frostburn Canyon and Opportuity all look super different from one another, and that’s just a few examples…

  11. Michael Fogg says:

    You wanna tast the real horror of war? Try the original Spec Ops, particularily the mission set in the arctic, where you have around 6 minutes to blow up several chemical weapon ‘manifolds’. Still haunts my dreams to this day…

  12. haldolium says:

    Still don’t get the hype. Yes the story arc was quite nice and stands out even today, but the surrounding game was fucking awful. Not even mediocre as so many UE3 console shooters, but just plain bad which ruined the entire thing and created a huge gap between the narrative and the interaction.

    Especially within a bundle whith quite a few good games, SpecOps gets the headline? The Darkness II would be the most worthy action game there.

    • anHorse says:

      I’d actually argue that nba2k is by far the best game there

      Of course it has obviously limited appeal but it’s an exceptional sports game

  13. ansionnach says:

    I’d hang onto the dollar and keep away from the discussion entirely. It’s a terrible game, too. Does some things quite well, particularly the atmosphere and overall concept, but it ultimately fails to deliver anything worth thinking about other than how disappointing it was to waste any money and time on something so heavy-handed, patronising and pretentious.

  14. Cederic says:

    As a big Borderlands fan that hadn’t caught up with the pre-sequel and someone that enjoys co-op gaming with a friend, the $15 tier is a bit of a no brainer. Three games with co-op campaigns plus a bunch of single-player and another friend is the very happy recipient of an approximately free Civ 5, which is the only game I didn’t already own.

    It’s also 2K; whether you like DNF or not, they publish working playable games without the nonsense you get from other publishers. (Borderlands config editing to turn it into a PC game being the obvious anomaly)

    Big wins all round.

  15. sebmojo says:

    Spec ops was a good shooter, I thought. Not, idk, groundbreaking, but better than many and worse than few. And it’s not wagging its finger at you unless you choose to take it that way. Killing for fun is harmless. You have done nothing wrong. None of this is real.