Specs Ops: The Line


Key events

VideoWatch: PTSD and video games

Low Batteries episode 3.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a multifaceted mental disorder that doesn't seem to get discussed very often; oftentimes it seems like one of those things that only happens to other people.

FeatureTaking games seriously

Exploring the new academia that's growing around games.

For decades, video games have strived for cultural relevance. Cultural identity struggles instigated by spats with politicians or critics from other media have led to a complex among many gaming hobbyists as well as designers and developers in the gaming industry - that this medium has serious potential and deserves the same level of respect and critical scrutiny as any other. At the same time, there's a rise of game development programs and degrees at universities across the world; professorships, residencies and long-form game criticism are helping games through their adolescence and into adulthood.

Spec Ops: The Line gets free co-op DLC

Double the soldiers equals double the death toll.

Hallucinogenic psychological war allegory Spec Ops: The Line now has an additional co-op mode across all platforms, publisher 2K Games has announced.

FeatureSaturday Soapbox: Guilt By Association

Putting the "You" into "You Bastard".

Games never have much difficulty making us feel like a hero. Cheerful psychopaths are the bread and butter of entire genres. Guilt? That's trickier. It's a rare game that even tries, and only a tiny fraction of those even come close to making it good to feel bad.

FeatureGame of the Week: Spec Ops

Someday this war's gonna end...

The games of this week were really the games of the last seven months, as online updates saw two titles which have dominated the lives of so many return to our screens: Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim. The updates were very different, but neither was exactly a triumphant return.

Resident Evil, Uncharted headline bumper EU PlayStation Store update

This week's European PlayStation Store update is jam-packed with classic PlayStation 3 games, alongside a sprinkling of tarted-up HD classics to boot.

BioShock (11.99), Ridge Racer 7: 3D License Version (14.99) plus Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Among Thieves (14.99 each) all arrive to download.

New to PlayStation 3 is the previously Wii-exclusive Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection (16.99, or 11.99 each for Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles). These co-operative on-rails shooters retell the story of the early Resident Evil games, with slices of new story added in for good measure.

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Free Spec Ops: The Line co-op DLC announced

Free Spec Ops: The Line co-op downloadable content launches in August, 2K Games has announced.

It features objective-based cooperative multiplayer scenarios set in the area used for the single-player campaign prior to Captain Walker and his squad's arrival.

Four missions are included, each with unique objectives, environments and playable characters. You have to fight waves of enemies and, of course, blinding sandstorms, to complete objectives. 2K said the DLC emphasises teamwork, and players will have to use a variety of weapons and explosives.

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Eurogamer.net Podcast #117: Try Before You Dubai

Thoughts on Spec Ops and Peter Moore's F2P vision of the future.

It's Tuesday at 5pm, which can only mean one thing: we've managed to publish the Eurogamer.net Podcast on time on the right day for once! Thank you for your ears.

Spec Ops: The Line Review

Spec Ops: The Line Review

An outpost of progress.

So much of it comes down to a question of influences: Conrad, not Clancy; BioShock, not Call of Duty. At first glance, Spec Ops: The Line looks like so many other military shooters, built of sand dunes and dusty fatigues and filled with the flash and sparkle of a thousand rifles glinting in the sun. Look again, though, and you'll see the setting's quietly fantastical, and the two-man squad under your command seem unusually tense - worn down, twitchy, even a little shell-shocked.

Yager's latest is trying to have it both ways, perhaps - Gears-flavoured stop-and-pop action one minute, The horror, the horror, the next - but the end result is interesting in its internal conflicts, and bold in its willingness to embrace its own confusion. Spec Ops: The Line is a game divided, and that isn't a criticism at all. It's actually the best thing about it.

This isn't the first shooter to draw from Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, of course, but compare it to Ubisoft's attempt in the brilliant, uncompromising and frequently infuriating Far Cry 2 and you won't find too many elements in common. Far Cry 2 was a sandbox and Spec Ops is a corridor: it's a cover-based blaster in which you clear rooms of enemies, cast weapons aside to pick up new ones, and occasionally sit back to watch a set-piece unfold.

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The secret of Nolan North's success

The ubiquitous voice actor on avoiding over-exposure in Spec Ops: The Line.

While Nolan North is arguably most famous for lending his voice to Uncharted hero Nathan Drake, his gaming CV now includes well over a 100 titles.

Spec Ops: The Line release date announced

Spec Ops: The Line release date announced

Pre-order for an "immediate advantage" in multiplayer.

Dubai third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line launches in the US on 26th June and everywhere else on 29th June, 2K Games has announced.

Those release dates apply to all three versions of the Yager-developed game: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Pre-order and you get in-game bonuses for use in multiplayer, which 2K senior producer Denby Grace said provide an "immediate advantage".

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Spec Ops: The Line Preview: A Shock Shooter

FeatureSpec Ops: The Line Preview: A Shock Shooter

2K channels BioShock in its thoughtful third-person action game.

2K's Spec Ops: The Line is riddled with conflict and contradictions. It's partly about the culture clash that's played out across the dunes of Dubai as the Middle East crashes violently into the consumerism of the West - a parable told in the tidal waves of sand that splash up against the city's shards of concrete and glass in the game's near-future vision.

But there's another, more curious conflict at Spec Ops' own dark heart. Here's a tale of the dehumanising horror of war, its story leaning heavily on Conrad (and a little awkwardly too, with its Kurtz-inspired character clumsily renamed Konrad). And at the same time, here's a game about the simple pleasures of slamming your shoulder into a wall before lining up headshot after headshot after headshot, in combat that's physical, muscular and entertaining.

Can 2K and developers Yager Development have their cake and eat it, providing a moral tale and a meaty shooter all at once? A tour through a handful of Spec Ops' campaign missions doesn't present a comprehensive answer, but it does give a glimpse of a game that, with its own internal conflict, promises to be more interesting than many of its peers.

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Spec Ops: The Line Preview

Mounted high on the gleaming silver superstructure of one of Dubai's improbable skyscrapers is a vast advertising hoarding filled with a model's pouting lips. In the bottom left corner of the huge banner, someone has used bright red paint to scrawl a single word: Help.

It's disquieting stuff, even when glimpsed from the relative safety of a military helicopter as you pass low over the city, but - listen to that voice - at least you've got good old Nolan North to keep you safe. Or have you? Minutes into Spec Ops: The Line, it's clear that this is a story that cuts a little deeper than the likes of Uncharted, and if that's Nathan Drake we're playing as, it's a Nathan Drake who's recently spent a really long time thinking about all those people he's killed.

It's not Nathan Drake at all, of course. The Line's hero is a Delta Force soldier named Captain Martin Walker, and he and his two squad-mates have touched down in a ravaged near-future Dubai to track down Colonel Konrad, a military officer with a near-perfect track record. He's also been presumed dead for the last six months, caught up in a failed evacuation as freak sandstorms steadily picked the world's strangest city apart. Over the last few days, evidence has started to emerge suggesting that he might still be alive.

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2K narrows XCOM, Spec Ops release dates

2K narrows XCOM, Spec Ops release dates

Both before April 2012.

The 2K Australia revamp of XCOM will be released sometime between April 2011 and the end of March 2012, Take-Two's money report has spewed.

Does that mean an early 2012 launch?

If XCOM was coming this autumn, why wouldn't 2K have said? The Darkness II has a confirmed autumn 2011 date and that game was only announced yesterday.

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FeatureSpec Ops: The Line

Dubai or not Dubai?

"Seen anything cool?" asks the Spec Ops producer as we file into his comfortable little gamescom prison. Nobody says anything.

Spec Ops: The Line beta invites out

Spec Ops: The Line beta invites out

For "small number" of Xbox 360 owners.

2K Games has sent Spec Ops: The Line beta invites to "a small number of applicants" on Xbox 360.

Joystiq confirmed this with the publisher, which added: "We'll be adding more people into the private beta in the coming weeks."

We're trying to find out about a PC and PS3 beta now.

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Walking around Yager's home city of Berlin, it's easy to understand why the developer is making a city-based third-person-shooter. Berlin may be a modern centre of financial security and a model of civic, dare I say it, efficiency, but it has a long history of grand conflict, from the turmoil of ancient history right up to the front lines of the Cold War. Anything older than 60 years is covered in bullet-holes and shrapnel scars, a chilling reminder of the intense street-to-street fighting at the end of World War II. Statues and memorials commemorate the myriad fallen of all nationalities, as well as victories and conquests of the past. Everywhere among the charming Christmas markets is scattered evidence of the human capacity to destroy.

2K officially unveils Spec Ops: The Line

2K officially unveils Spec Ops: The Line

Sandy third-person shooter from Yager.

2K has officially unveiled Spec Ops: The Line for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

German developer Yager is at the controls (and not 2K Boston as previously rumoured), and is producing a third-person shooter about a US special forces unit entering a post-disaster Dubai in search of a rogue US officer.

In the launch trailer, the player is needled by this rogue chap's voiceover, which suggests he's gone a bit Apocalypse Now in the process.

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