Posts Tagged ‘Spec Ops: The Line’

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.

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Cold War Tech-Noir: All Walls Must Fall

All Walls Must Fall [official site] is the first commercial release from inbetweengames, the indie studio founded by former members of Yager, developers of Spec Ops: The Line. It’s a “tech-noir tactics game” set in Berlin 2089. This is a Berlin still divided by a wall and a world where the Cold War never ended. To navigate its perils and its nightlife, you’ll use a combination of social stealth, time travel and combat. It looks delicious, like a propaganda-powered, post-Syndicate dream.

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Have You Played… Spec Ops: The Line?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Spec Ops: The Line [official site] is a pretty fun third-person cover shooter about shooting people in their faces, then sometimes feeling a bit bad or confused about killing them. I think BioShock made folks a bit excited about shooting games where shooting people was sometimes a bad thing, so reactions to Spec Ops were over-enthusiastic, but it’s still pretty decent as face-shooters go. Its sandstorm-swept Dubai is a heck of a sight too.

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The Mammoth: Free Game From Former Spec Ops Devs

Mammoth

We all have different ways of dealing with loss. Some of us lash out and hurt others while some of us turn inwards and dwell on that pain. The Mammoth: A Cave Painting [official site] is a free game about loss and how we choose to overcome it.

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The 10 Best Games Based On Books

Books! They’re like films without pictures, or games that are all cutscene. Old people and hipsters really like them, teenagers think they’re like totally lame, and quite frankly we should all read more of them. There are countless games inspired by books – most especially Tolkien, Lovecraft and early Dungeons & Dragon fiction – but surprisingly few games based directly on books. Even fewer good ones.

Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that a game can, in theory, cleave closer to what a book does than a film can – with their length and their word counts, their dozens of characters and in some cases even their own in-game books, they can to some degree do the job of a novel. They don’t need to be based on books – and often they can do so much more, thanks to the great promise of non-linearity. Of course, the real reason for the dearth is that novels are so rarely the massive business a movie is these days. You might get a forlorn Hunger Games tie-in here and there, but suited people in gleaming office blocks just aren’t going to commission an adaptation of the latest Magnus Mills tale, more’s the pity.

I suspect that, over time, we’ll see the non-corporate side of games development increasingly homage the written word, but for now, these ten games (and seven honourable mentions) are, as far as I’m concerned, the best, and most landmark, results of page-to-pixel adaptation to date.

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Penny For Your BioShocks: The Humble 2K Bundle Is A Steal

Rarely do I effusively recommend a bundle made up entirely of games I already own, but it’s kinda hard to argue with every BioShock, Spec Ops: The Line, Mafia II, The Darkness II, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, among others. The Humble 2K Bundle does come with a slight catch (a flat rate of $20 if you want a couple of the more recent games), but even then it’s a formidable deal. Unfortunately, this will technically count as purchasing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, but don’t worry: I won’t tell anyone.

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Spec Ops, FC3 Writers On What’s Next, Futurism, BioShock

Who shoots the shooters? Well, I don’t think Spec Ops: The Line and Far Cry 3 writers Walt Williams and Jeffrey Yohalem have ever shot anybody, but they are attempting to skewer gaming’s shooter genre – or at least give it a good paddling. In the previous two installments of this gigantic chat, we discussed everything from the art of critique, to violence, to the effect of treating gamers like they’re stupid, to Dante’s Inferno and the Sistine Chapel. Seriously. It’s been a very long and interesting road, but now we’re finally at its end. In this thrill-a-millisecond conclusion, we discuss real, long-form criticism of games (including that one guy who wrote a book about Spec Ops), what’s next for these sorts of dissection of videogame culture, games as tools for exploring the future, and where games like BioShock Infinite fit into that.

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Spec Ops, FC3 Writers On Art, Treating Players Intelligently

When last we joined Spec Ops: The Line writer Walt Williams and Far Cry 3 writer Jeffrey Yohalem, they discussed everything from the problematic nature of modern escapism to Western culture’s disturbing disconnection from real violence. Today: art! Or rather, the process of creating it using someone else’s money when that’s not really what they wanted in the first place. Also, we delve into the notion that gamers (often rightly) assume games think they’re dumb, and how that factored into the receptions of both games’ messages. In the process, the likes of Mass Effect, Shadow of the Colossus, the Sistine Chapel, and Dante’s Inferno (the literary work; not the bizarre EA game) get ruthlessly dissected. NO ONE IS SAFE. Flee beyond the break while you still can.

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Fire Away: Spec Ops, Far Cry 3 Writers On Criticizing FPS

The shooters! They’ve become self-aware! Now they’re in the vents, skittering around menacingly and writing lengthy commentaries on why the very mechanics that make them tick might just be hyper problematic for, you know, society. Two games, especially, have claimed the forefront of this movement and have succeeded to – erm, depending on whom you talk to – varying degrees. If nothing else, however, Spec Ops: The Line and Far Cry 3 should be applauded for aiming right down the sights at a very important topic. Thing is, they furrowed their proverbial brows at shooters in extremely different fashions – Spec Ops by charting a slow descent into bodycount-borne madness, and Far Cry by “straight-faced” (and/or frustratingly obtuse) satire. So, during GDC, I brought their respective writers, Walt Williams and Jeffrey Yohalem, together for a wide-ranging chat about, well, everything. In part one, we talk the industry’s emotional disconnect from the realities of shooting, how to critique violence without accidentally glorifying it in the process, getting these critiques past publishers, and tons more. Oh, and of course, beware of SPOILERS.

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Trendspotting: How Gaming’s Changing In 2012 (Sez I)

No doubt there are big things yet to come from the last quarter of 2012, but even by October it feels like it’s been an uncommonly important, even vital, year for games. The hit rate of great things, expected and unexpected, has been pretty steady, but on top of that there have been major emerging trends as gaming starts to move out of the awkward transitional phase between olde worlde boxed sales and anything-goes online existence.

I’m really just ruminating on a truly fascinating 10-ish months to myself here, but see if you agree with – or better still can add to – any of these arguably defining aspects of the year nearly gone.
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Spec Ops Lead Hits Out At “Tacked On” Multiplayer


Polygon’s interview with Yager about their 2K-published shooter Spec Ops is worth a read, and not just because the lead, Corey Davis, attacks the practice of tacking on mandatory multiplayer to an ostensible single player project. He reportedly describes it as “bullshit”, and delivers this descriptive ankle-bite:

“The multiplayer game’s tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don’t even feel like it’s part of the overall package — it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.”

Blimey, er… Discuss?

Desert Desserts: Spec Ops Adds Free Helping Of Co-op

People who've fired big guns before: is that whole thing he's doing there actually, you know, possible?

You’ve finished Spec Ops: The Line. You’ve seen its harrowing tale through from start to finish and felt the moral conflict claw its way into your gut. So then, what now? Do you go back to other shooters – which are significantly lacking in both awareness of their own problematic place in the cultural landscape and heaping mountains of sand? At one point in time, I would’ve hung my head low and sent you on your way, but now you can play in Yager’s sandy cesspit of human filth for just a little bit longer. And you can bring friends!

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Wot I Think – Spec Ops: The Line

I think I'm getting the hang of this

Yager/2K’s deceptively dull-named third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line goes on sale in the UK today, having been out in the US since Tuesday. Alec crept into the heart of its ravaged Dubai, never to be heard from again – save for these blood-soaked notes.
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Spec Ops Dev Diary Shows More Grisly Business


Spec Ops‘ handsomely bearded writing lead, Walt Williams, talks about the personalities that make up Spec Ops: The Line’s team – both player and non-player characters – in a new development diary installment, which you can see below. Williams claims that the moral choices in the game are “about holding up a mirror to yourself”, which in my case would reveal a tired-looking man with a serious head-cold and a dire need of a haircut. I am not sure what that says about my morals, but I suppose I could do with looking in a mirror once in a while.

Anyway, clickwards for what might be a bit of a spoilery dev diary. Mr Meer is playing Spec Ops: The Line RIGHT NOW for his ultimate verdict.
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Spec Ops: The Line Launch Trailer Is Kind Of Problematic

If only these falling glass shards would form a mirror so I could better admire my own rugged handsomeness.

And not just because it seems like a billion of these things have popped up in the past week or so, either. See, a recent developer diary about Spec Ops‘ potentially uncomfortable marriage of meaty, blood-spattered fun and the grim truths of war prompted me to wonder if the whole thing wasn’t like duct-taping a cat and dog together. And while Hollywood tells us that’d lead to a heartwarming adventure of self-discovery, reality isn’t generally so kind. So along comes Spec Ops’ launch trailer, and yeah, this reeeeally doesn’t look like it’s trying to downplay the glamorous lifestyle of videogame life-ending. You know the drill: buildings, vehicles, and people get shredded into bloody confetti while caught in gooey bubbles of slow-mo. So now I’m confused.

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Just Deserts: Spec Ops Goes Behind The Line

No, I don't mean behind this zipline. Though I guess that's also technically true.

For me, Spec Ops: The Line is like watching a child play with a balloon. Like, I want it to be good, and I think it definitely has the tools to do so – but I’m still tensing every muscle and waiting for a deafening POP. Maybe it’s a sign of early onset cynicism, but plenty of other shooters have promised non-black-and-white moral choices and a “true” battlefield experience. Also, while probably purposefully bereft of those things, the demo didn’t exactly make a believer out of Richard. So now, on the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of Spec Ops’ release, 2K calls for another supply drop of big promises. But will Yager deliver?

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Dubai Or Not Dubai: Spec Ops: The Line Demo

Damn. Face to face with the horrors of war, I'm really pissed some noob stole my kill...

Arriving slightly later than on consoles – boo, hiss – you can now check out the Heart of Darkness inspired shooter Spec Ops: The Line in all its sand-strewn glory. It doesn’t just want you to murder your way through armies of crazy people in the remnants of fallen Dubai, but to think a little while you do. And not simply ‘which gun should I shoot this guy with?’ You’ll get sand in your eyes, sand in your pants, and sand in your sandwiches, but try this demo if you’re still feeling… wait for it, wait for it… Dubai-us! (accepts applause and thrown undergarments)

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Just Deserts: Spec Ops MP Trailer Weaponizes Sand

Friends, family, and lovers come and go, but two-foot-high walls will always be there for you.
What follows is a moment-by-moment recounting of my facial expressions while watching Spec Ops: The Line‘s multiplayer trailer – in ultra-vision. Exposition-y stuff: an expectant stare followed by an eye roll so hard it nearly detached my retinas at the phrase “This is their war.” Cover shooty runny ‘splodey stuff: a furrowed brow as if to say, “Is this all?” and “Why waste a slow-mo shot on a reload?” Class-based skills and rewards, etc: drooping eyelids, a hint of spittle dangling from the corner of my mouth. SAND AVALANCHE: Eyes wide-open, mouth creaking into a tentative smile, head cocked in much the same way as a dog saying, “Baroo?” Still though, it’s a bit worrisome that they actually had to spell out “Sand is a game-changer,” as though saying, “No, wait, don’t go! We’re sort of different, see?” And see you shall, if you opt to check out the trailer after the break.

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Spec Ops: The Line Is A Grisly Business

Eep.
Having read Adam’s hands on with Spec Ops: The Line, I’ve found myself intrigued by a game I suspect I might have otherwise ignored or dismissed as another military shooter. While it’s very much about men shooting each other, the themes of the collapsing Dubai being eaten by the desert, not to mention the underlying occult weirdness, looks like something I’d like to explore. The latest trailer (via Blue), below, is intensifying that feeling, too.
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