Spec Ops: The Line PS3 preview – this year’s most traumatic shooter?

Spec Ops: The Line

Now I wasn’t expecting that. I’m not talking about the city-levelling gunfight I’ve just had with a battalion of rogue American soldiers – 90-minutes with Spec Ops: The Line and stamina sapping shootouts are pretty much par for the course.

Neither am I talking about the street that’s now choked with the wailing soon-to-be-corpses of my enemies, their life seeping into the surrounding sand, staining it a morbid shade of crimson. What really surprised me was how I felt. Because I felt like a total a-hole. A soulless, murdering bastard.

Normally, shredding through thick waves of AI goons earns me a nice PlayStation Trophy coupled with the warm satisfaction of winning. Winning in Spec Ops: The Line doesn’t feel satisfying. Right now it’s making me feel empty.

To explain, I’ll need to jump back to the beginning of my hands-on, where I’m thrust into the steel-capped shoes of Captain Martin Walker. He’s a skin-head, wears khakis, and is – most importantly – voiced by Nolan North; so developers Yager have ticked all the boxes on the ‘how to make a blockbuster PS3 game’ to-do list.

Walker is the spearhead of an elite three-man squad of Delta Force operatives, and as you pick your way through a sandstorm-ravaged Dubai, your two comrades engage in the kind of snappy banter you’ve heard a million times over in Every Military Shooter Ever.