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Found 15 results

  1. Jason Clement

    2K Games' Evolve Now Has a Release Date

    Back in January, Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios revealed that they were working on a brand new IP called Evolve, and now publisher 2K Games has announced that the title now has a confirmed Fall release date. Evolve is a sci-fi multiplayer shooter that pits four hunters (each with their own skill sets) against one lethal monster that evolves and grows deadlier over the course of the matches. Right now 2K Games is offering a pre-order incentive through the Monster Expansion Pack, which will include a Savage Goliath skin for one of the monsters, as well as a new monster that will be released after the game ships. Evolve is set to release on October 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can check out a new trailer for the game on the (there is a content advisory warning, so you'll need to log in to view it). Source: Polygon Are you interested in playing Evolve?
  2. solid-alchemist

    BioShock Infinite Review

    BioShock Infinite (PS3) Developed by Irrational Games Published by 2K Games Released March 26, 2013 Review Written April 12, 2014 Originally Posted on The Time Heist Blog For years I had been closely eyeing this title since its 2010 reveal from Irrational Games. As a fan of the original BioShock and its sequel, I anticipated an amazing rollercoaster that would possibly trump the original BioShock. With Irrational Games and Ken Levine regaining the creative reigns for BioShock Infinite, will this title bring the same magic displayed in the city of Rapture or should the floating city of Columbia just drift into oblivion like a meandering balloon? In short, yes BioShock Infinite captures similar values from the original BioShock but in itself is an entirely different experience. Although my timing for finally getting around to this game is fairly horrible in light of the recent news of Irrational Games being shutdown and dispersed, I“m glad I finally took the time to experience what I had been fawning over for years. BioShock Infinite is a great game in my opinion and in the twenty-three hours it took me to complete the campaign I enjoyed it to its entirety. Though the game can be completed in less than fifteen hours, I spent many moments gazing about the environments or searching for secrets strewn within the levels out of habit. As opposed to the dark beauty that was Rapture, the floating city of Columbia explodes with wonderfully bright colored hues. The floating city just looks so clean and vivid. BioShock Infinite utilizes a range of bright color schemes throughout each of the levels, and similar to the original Bioshock the structured tonality matches the transpiring situations. To add to this, the talking NPC“s and soft musical tones make this floating isle feel realistic, like I“m watching an adventure film about a lively civilization in the sky. Though with beauty comes an underlying horror as I would find myself witnessing screen tearing during certain climactic parts of the game. At first it was distracting but it completely disappears from annoyance as its appearances were minimal. Story-wise, in BioShock Infinite you take on the role of Booker DeWitt who has been tasked with finding a girl named Elizabeth to erase all of his gambling debts in the year 1912. Very much different from BioShock“s Jack, Booker actually has dialogue and interacts with the locals of Columbia. Not being a muted puppet controlled by the player, Booker has personality. Elizabeth also has a great personality and easily meshes with Booker creating an entertaining ride to the viewers. I“m Commander False Shepard, and this is my favorite tattoo on my body. BioShock Infinite dabbles in previously viewed ideals of choice but mixing it with American history, quantum physics, and ideals of destiny. More of a science fictional action-adventure than its horror focused predecessors, BioShock Infinite“s story resembles that of a Hollywood blockbuster. I found myself glued to my seat enjoying what developments were thrown at me and often anticipated what twists and turns were to come. Even though the ending left my head spinning and required me to replay the campaign a second time to grasp what was unfolded, I thoroughly enjoyed the story within BioShock Infinite. The gameplay is what ties the story and the visuals all together, and the BioShock formula still hasn“t really changed since the previous games. I“m not complaining though as I enjoyed the numerous shootouts throughout the game and believe the style worked with how the story flowed. I“ve heard a few mention they didn“t feel that the firefights didn“t fit within the game, but I believe it fit perfectly with Columbia“s very own Civil War brewing. These firefights were made more interesting when a robotic replica of an American Founding Father walks towards you with a gatling gun. There“s nothing like that surprise factor that leaves you open for attack as you try to configure what the hell is actually going on, and I“m talking about you robotic Abe Lincoln. Whoa! The Be Sharps reunited to perform their hit, “Baby On Boardâ€. As the gameplay formula hasn“t changed, the controls are still as smooth as the previous BioShocks. The only differing mechanics are the skylines and having Elizabeth tagging along. The skylines act as a fancy transition between locals while mixing in strategic combat. I often found myself riding the lines to investigate possible secret areas or to get a quick jump on unsuspecting enemies. The other change was having a sidekick along for the long journey. I actually feared a little that the game would end up being one long escort mission with Elizabeth constantly getting in the way or getting killed. This isn“t the case as Elizabeth can“t be injured by enemies and will actually hide during firefights. She even plays the role of helper throughout each area by throwing items your way that she“s found. Set in the same way that Ellie was mechanically just Joel“s shadow in The Last of Us, Elizabeth is there for the fight but doesn“t interfere with the flow of it. Although the game is damn near perfect in my book I still longed for one feature that was available in the first BioShock, hacking minigames. For some strange reason I loved the hacking minigames in the previous installments, and in BioShock Infinite they are missing. All of the locks are either opened via a keycode or through Elizabeth“s amazing lock picking skills that could quite possibly put Jill “The Master of Lock Picking†Valentine to shame. Although it was missing from the game, it is quite possible Irrational Games deemed it unnecessary or something that would ruin the current flow of the adventure. HIGH FIVE!!!!!!!! In conclusion, even though Bioshock Infinite strays away from the former“s horror focused design, the science fictional action is a welcome sight. The cast of characters all play a prominent role and will be easily remembered in days past. Easily noted, the Lutice twins and their banter similar to that of a 1940“s comedic duo will always come to mind when looking back at what could be the final BioShock game. So in turn, if you enjoyed the previous BioShock games or enjoy FPS games that have an interesting story to follow, then BioShock Infinite is definitely a game you should buy. So wipe away the debt, bring them the girl… Review Written by Solid-Alchemist If you enjoyed this review and would like to check out some other opinion pieces, come on over to The Time Heist. Any critique's or recommendations are welcome!
  3. Game Informer had bean teasing a big announcement in its latest issue for a few days, and the cover reveal announced earlier today reveals that Left4Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios is working on a new, next-gen only IP called Evolve. The game is described as a sci-fi multiplayer-focused shooter that pits players against a separately controlled monster that grows larger and more powerful over the course of matches. And even though it may seem like the monster is outnumbered, it will have the advantage due to its growing size and number of deadly attacks at its disposal. Evolve will be published by 2K Games and is planned for release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 this Fall. Expect to hear more info on the title soon.
  4. Jordan Haygood

    Duke Nukem Forever

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Gearbox, 2K Games

  5. If you're familiar with Sid Meier's Civilization V, you may also be familiar with the game's lead designer Jon Shafer. Well, it appears that this same man has just announced the creation of his own Michigan-based independent game studio Conifer Games. The company's first title is known as "Jon Shafer's At the Gates," and is currently trying to gain $40,000 on Kickstarter by March 8. Much like the game he worked on before, At the Gates is a turn-based strategy game. The game is set during the final days of the Roman Empire, and players will play the role of a barbarian leader as they lead their tribe in an attempt to seize power. But not only will players be fighting whole nations, but the environment itself is also an obstacle to overcome. Shafer said in his Kickstarter video, "I really believe that At the Gates is pretty important for the future of strategy gaming. Not because it's going to be a humongous title that sells millions of copies, but because it shows that smaller titles can still have the same amount of depth as much bigger and more expensive games." Conifer Games will release At the Gates on PC sometime next year, given that the Kickstarter can raise its $40,000 milestone by March 8. Does this game sound interesting? Why not help out? Did you play Civilization V? Are you interested in playing At the Gates? Source: GameSpot
  6. Marcus Estrada

    Borderlands 2 DLC Packaged for Retail

    Although many players out there buy DLC as it arrives, others do not. Whether it be due to lacking a "season pass", or just wanting a deal, DLC for popular games accumulates rather quickly when you don't stay on top of it. Such is the case for Borderlands 2 which has so far seen two new campaigns as well as an additional character and other goodies. Today 2K Games and Gearbox Software announced the Borderlands 2: Add-On Content Pack which comes with all current DLC. Those who have been tuning out the DLC releases should check out what's included: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage, Mechromancer Gaige character, Creature Slaughter Dome, and some more weapons and skins are all included here. Considering the content would sell separately for around $40, it is a bit of a discount at $30. All this comes packed on a disc which means you have to pick it up at retail. The Borderlands 2: Add-On Content Pack will be out February 26th for 360, PS3, and PC. If you don't even have the main game yet then it might be worth waiting around longer and seeing if a Game of the Year release eventually arrives.
  7. If Bioshock: Ultimate Rapture Edition sounds familiar, it may be due to the fact that it was discovered earlier last year. Back then the set was absentmindedly announced before being taken down. Today, 2K Games made the official announcement for the product and lets us know it is actually coming really soon. As you might expect, the Edition is a collection of both Bioshock and Bioshock 2. As no collection of a big game is complete without DLC, it also includes a whole bunch of that. Specifically, it includes Minerva's Den, Plasmid Packs, The Protector Trials, Rapture Metro, Sinclair Solutions Tester, and Challenge Rooms Pack which had actually been a PS3 exclusive. Of course, as this collection is on sale for PS3 and 360, Xbox owners will finally gain access to said DLC. Finally, also included is the "Museum of Orphaned Concepts". With it players will be able to check out concept art, character models, and the like. Bioshock: Ultimate Rapture Edition is $30 and will be available on January 14th. It is out so soon to prepare gamers for the upcoming release of Bioshock Infinite. Therefore, anyone who still hasn't played the games may find this pack of use when it arrives for PS3 and 360.
  8. Borderlands 2 may be off obtaining new loot at various video game award shows, but Gearbox Software employees are not simply sitting inside the company“s money vault doing the backstroke. Gearbox Software is keeping Borderlands 2 on everybody“s mind by promptly releasing new content, which does not appear to be changing in the near future. Gearbox forum members initially spotted three new trophies following an update on the Playstation 3, unearthing some minor details about the next task in queue for the vault hunters. Sir Hammerlock“s Big Game Hunt, confirmed to Joystiq, will be the third piece of downloadable content provided for Season Pass holders. This potentially bizarre safari will be following Mr. Torgue“s Campaign of Carnage and Captain Scarlett & Her Pirate“s Booty, both of which were well-received by critics.
  9. By now, we've all seen the Bioshock Infinite Special Edition and all of the neat goodies it comes with. I'm still bummed out that they didn't include the murder of crows bottle with it, but what good is moping around about it? Instead, I thought we should discuss the statue that does come included with the game. Namely, why I'm frightened by it. As I'm sure you're all aware, the original Bioshock had a similar statue included with its special edition. Let's just say things didn't go quite as planned when it hit store shelves. Read on to find out why you should be weary when purchasing this neat collectible. The History Of Bioshock Special Editions First of all, the original Bioshock special edition did something most game companies just don't seem to be capable of doing with their own special editions. It became rare. You couldn't find a cheaply-priced complete special edition to save your life. Immediately after the game's release, the special edition shot up in price to upwards of $100 and stayed there for years. Usually this is a good thing... unless you happened to be one of the many people who ordered your special edition from an online retailer. As snug as a smashed up bug in a rug! You see, the figures included with each special edition of the game had a tendency to be broken upon arrival. The main problem being that the Big Daddy's drill would be snapped off inside the box. If you were buying it in store you could look in the box and see if your figure was complete or not. Of course, people ordering online didn't have this same luxury. You pretty much just had to hope the one you got was complete. If not, you were just out of luck seeing as the special edition was long out of stock by that point. However, there was a reprieve for those who were patient. After all of the complaints about broken figures came out, 2KGames started a replacement program for customers. It only took nearly three months to get your product replaced. And people got a nice hardcover artbook for their troubles. The Possible Future Of Bioshock Special Editions This leads us to today and the announcement of the Bioshock Infinite special edition. I'm sure you've all seen the giant winged statue of awesomeness. Yeah, well think about those nice thin wings sitting in that special collector's case. Look! The wings already have holes in them! (this is a joke) The drill bit on the original Bioshock's Big Daddy figurine was attached to what I would believe was a pretty bulky part of the figure and it still managed to break off. These huge wings are supported by nothing. They're just out there. I'd like to think that they've learned their lesson with collector's edition statues after what happened with the original Bioshock, but every time I look at that statue, all I see is cracked wings and customer complaints. There has been word that the statue itself will be contained in it's own special box so all of this worry might be for nothing, but you should always take the company's past into consideration when spending upwards of a $150. Do you think we could be facing some trouble with these new Bioshock Infinite statues? They certainly look like they could be trouble with those fully spread-out wings. I might be hesitant because of past events, but I am tempted to take a chance and buy one myself. As always, thanks for reading.
  10. Harrison Lee

    Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

    Developer: Firaxis Publisher: 2K Games Platform: PC, XBOX 360, PS3 Release Date: October 9th, 2012 ESRB: M This review is based on the PC version of the game If you're looking for a remake of the original X-COM, you're looking in the wrong place. What Firaxis and 2K have done to the venerable turn-based strategy title is break down the core elements that made X-COM great and rebuild them into a new, modern image. It's not the X-COM you might have expected. However, what this newest iteration does is nothing short of astounding. Firaxis has created an XCOM that's addictive, intense, and just as challenging as the excellent original. Regardless of how your 20-30 hour war against the alien threat ends, you can rest assured that the battle for dominion over Earth was epic. XCOM wastes no in time in putting you in the Commander's chair. Your first mission, which serves as a plodding tutorial, forces you to command a small squad of troops in a first-contact confrontation with the enigmatic aliens. It's here that you'll learn the basics of movement, abilities, cover, and squad-centric tactics. While it's relatively uneventful and slow, the XCOM tutorial does a serviceable job of introducing the very basics of combat to players. The more advanced game mechanics set in only a few short missions later. Following your intro to XCOM's turn-based combat, you'll get to see the headquarters from which all of your anti-xeno operations are run. At the HQ, you can research new weapons, build housing facilities for alien captives, recruit new soldiers, and more. Your base is your hub for launching ground assaults against the aliens via the Command Center. And believe me, it's critical that you build your base intelligently. While there are no base defense sequences, you will need to manage the assets each facility provides with maximum efficiency. In order to locate alien activity, players must utilize the satellite network that they've built around Earth. Launching satellites from various countries lowers each nation's panic level while providing faster scans. Once alien activity has been intercepted, players are offered several choices in missions. Each is in a different part of the world; whichever countries you don't choose will have an increase in panic. These panicked countries will reduce funding to XCOM, thereby limiting your already-limited resources. Seeing the challenges forming yet? It's this constant tug-of-war and tension that really builds the campaign's pace and excitement. At any point in time, a player can lose the war. Even if you've invested 10 or more hours into the campaign, Earth can still be overrun. That feeling of potential (sometimes inevitable) defeat always nags at you, even in the turn-based battles. The odds are almost always stacked against your standard troops until you unlock powered armor, new soldier abilities, and super-powered troopers. Even then, the aliens always have new variants, more powerful units, and greater numbers to squash the puny humans like bugs. The inherent difficulty is punishing at times, but can be so rewarding when a victory is stolen from the jaws of defeat. While I adore XCOM's punishing approach to combat, I have to say that there are times when I felt the odds were unfairly stacked against me. I often walked (albeit cautiously) straight into ambushes. I could do nothing but watch as squad member after squad member was reduced to a red pulp. Maybe I just played the game wrong, but I found myself regularly losing soldiers. Then again, XCOM presently reminds you that casualties are inevitable with the trite Memorial. It lists all of the soldiers you've gotten killed, with nary a word of warning or remembrance in their honor. I'm surprised XCOM does so little in this regard, given that you can customize each soldier's name and look to a great degree. You should be attached to your squad members; the Memorial almost trivializes their deaths. It's a minor, if morbidly amusing gripe. From a technical standpoint, XCOM looks and sounds great. The Unreal 3 engine has been used to great effect here. While the character models and cutscenes won't win awards, the effects and combat sequences look great in motion. The voice-overs are mostly solid, though some of the main characters at the HQ begin to grate when they continue to bug you with information. The soundtrack, orchestrated by Michael McCann, is very Deus Ex-esque. While it sounds very familiar, I love the score all the same. What I am less a fan of is the presence of bugs. Every once in a while, my mouse seemed not to respond to anything I clicked on. At other points, soldiers would clip into cover or have one or two odd animation glitches. The minor visual oddities didn't detract from the overall experience greatly, but they did prove distracting on occasion. I do wish the combat UI was more responsive. At random intervals, ability buttons simply would not work until I'd clicked them three or so times. In general, these were infrequent but aggravating when they appeared. If you're looking for a deep multiplayer suite, look elsewhere. There's a limited deathmatch mode where squads of aliens and humans go head to head. The map rotation is small, though there is the potential for more to be added through DLC. Regardless, you should only play XCOM for the singleplayer campaign. XCOM: Enemy Unknown succeeds as a reinterpretation, not a remake, of X-COM. For series veterans, it is a fresh and inventive take on the franchise that moves at a quick, intense pace. It's challenging, rewarding, punishing, and addictive. Expect to have your tail handed to you regardless of your experience or familiarity with strategy titles. I can't help but recommend XCOM to any gamer with a love of tactics and action. Pros: + Excellent tactical depth + Lots of intense action + Extensive campaign + Great musical score Cons: - Glitches here and there - Some visuals are lacking Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic I can't recommend XCOM enough for gamers looking for strategy and tactical depth.
  11. Bioshock Infinite is already one of the most anticipated games for next year, with many already looking beyond the stock of games available this holiday season. 2K Games announced that Bioshock Infinite will receive the special edition treatment. The Premium Edition will cost approximately $79.99 and include several different items in hopes of satiating even the most eclectic collector. Bioshock Infinite Premium Edition includes a miniature “Art of Bioshock Infinite” book published by Dark Horse Books. This edition will offer an exclusive 25mm Handyman resign figure designed for Plaid Hat Games' soon-to-be-released board game, Bioshock Infinite: Siege of Columbia. Bioshock Infinite also took a cue from Bioshock 2 and will recreate a piece of in-game propaganda on a piece of heavy stock paper. The final physical piece of swag is a key-chain replica of the promotional “Murder of Crows” bottles. This edition will also include a few digital items like a copy of the original sound track and three exclusive gear power-ups. These power-ups will give the player a chance to knockdown enemies if melee attacking while sprinting (Bull Rush), grant a bounty for audio logs (Extra! Extra!) and kill possessed enemies like suicide bombers (Betrayer). Xbox 360 players will also receive exclusive Booker and Elizabeth costumes while Playstation 3 owners will simply receive custom themes for Bioshock Infinite. Willing to shell out almost twice as much? The “Ultimate Songbird Edition” is currently priced at $149.99 and will contain all of the previously mentioned content from the Collector's Edition. That extra $70 will get Ultimate Songbird Edition buyers a 9.75” limited edition statue designed by an Irrational Games' concept artist. According to 2K Games the unique packaging will allow the owner to display the statue without ever breaking the seal. Which edition appeals to you the most?
  12. If you're a fan of blasting aliens in turn-based strategy fashion, you're likely a fan of the X-COM series. While the franchise started to abandon its strategic roots with the shooter spin-off (currently in development hell), Firaxis has done X-COM fans proud with its remake of the original title, X-COM: Enemy Unknown. The demo for Enemy Unknown has just launched on Steam. If you've got a few GBs of hard-drive space, I'd recommend you give the game a spin. Firaxis has really made the feel of X-COM fresh and slick. Combat flows quickly and the action is brutal, bloody, and intense. Couple that with great Unreal Engine 3 visuals and you've got a surefire hit when the game launches this October 9th. Trust me: the demo is worth checking out. I was blown away with just how much love and attention has been paid to the look and pacing of the game. Look for the X-COM: Enemy Unknown demo here and check out the awesome trailer below! Are you looking forward to this re-imagining of the alien-slaying strategy classic?
  13. Harrison Lee

    Spec Ops: The Line Review and GIVEAWAY

    DISCLAIMER: As I wrote this review, I found it difficult to put into words the emotions I felt from playing Spec Ops: The Line. As such, prepare for a lot of anecdotal discussions and open-ended questions. While this may be a review, it's a broader introspective evaluation on the modern shooter and the player's role in said genre. Prepared? Then read on. Developer: Yager Studios Publisher: 2K Games Release Date: June 26, 2012 (out now) Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC ESRB: M for Mature This review is based on the PC version of Spec Ops: The Line. "War is hell," said General William Tecumseh Sherman. It's a quote that modern shooters often toss about, but one which no video game has ever embraced the meaning of. Most developers glorify tearing hands, feet, and other limbs off of generic enemy soldiers with as much gore as humanly possible. Through the glorification of war in gaming, the meaning of life is cheapened with half a magazine of 5.56 ammo. In these war games, there are only heroes and villains, with the most morally-grey aspects of war reduced to cheap marketing tactics like Call of Duty's "No Russian" mission. Spec Ops: The Line has taken all of these tropes of the modern shooter and thrown them in my face with disturbing clarity. After playing, nay experiencing, Spec Ops, I may never play a shooter with the same mindless power fantasies ever again. The premise behind Yager's cover-based third-person shooter is almost mind-boggling simple and generic. A US Army commander by the name of Colonel John Konrad has led the Damned 33rd Infantry Battalion into Dubai to evacuate the populace from history's largest sandstorm. Players, taking the role of Captain Martin Walker, are to investigate Konrad's whereabouts and, if necessary, save the Colonel and his men. Spec Ops even leads you to believe that this generic premise is indicative of the entire experience with the opening helicopter pursuit sequence. The sense of deja vu is undeniable; I've been here, shot helicopters down with a mi***un, and done this turret sequence so many times before. Once you get to the ground, however, Spec Ops mutates into one of this generation's most morally, mentally, and emotionally taxing shooters. At the games conclusion, I was left battered and bewildered by everything I had seen. The conclusion only serves to make the games unsettling events that much more horrific. As much as it may have impacted me, Spec Ops is first and foremost a game, so is it any fun to play? To say Spec Ops is fun belies the game's contradictory, complicated nature. At every point during the campaign, I felt the juxtaposition of a shooter framework with a strong anti-war sentiment. In everything from the shooting to the graphic dialogue and horrific war crimes committed, I felt uncomfortable. Yager clearly intended this game to disturb and unsettle. Enjoyment and fun are not the words I would use to describe my experience with Spec Ops. I would describe my five-hour trip through hell as uncensored and raw, striking nerves the whole way through. Whether I was gunning down rogue American soldiers or deciding the fate of a CIA agent and a group of civilians, Spec Ops made it tough for me to want to continue playing. But I had to see it through. I had to see what shade of monster Walker was becoming. While all of this may sound like I'm rambling, these thoughts are the predominant reason for my constant pursuit of Konrad and the truth. I had a hard time stomaching the thought of killing civilians and murdering countless US soldiers. While this may sound trite in lieu of "No Russian", believe me when I say the dead will haunt you throughout the campaign...and perhaps beyond. For every enemy you kill, you constantly ask yourself why you're shooting dozens of people. In all the chaos, Walker can only defend himself with ***ue notions of wanting to be the hero, of trying to be Dubai's savior. But what of us players? Why are we massacring virtual meatbags that scream for mercy, drag themselves on the ground missing limbs, meatbags that have casual conversations about sharing gum? Are we truly the desensitized monsters that men like Konrad have become? I wish I knew the answer. By the time the credits roll, you'll wonder yourself whether Konrad was ever the true antagonist. No matter what choices you make, Walker still becomes a sa***e, ruthless killer. If you've seen Apocalypse Now, you understand just how insane war is. That madness is not lost on Walker or the two men he fights alongside with, Lugo and Adams. All three men experience the conflict differently, and all three will change from the people they began as. Does Spec Ops change the player as well? In these reflective moments, the jarring reality that this is just a game readily becomes apparent. There is a constant barrage of achievements that applaud me for the decisions I did or didn't make. While it may not bother some, I felt like it broke the immersion when a pop-up announced I had 'crossed a line' or 'aimed high' on targets. Isn't this game supposed to be more than just a game? In some ways, being a shooter has ensured the full impact of Spec Ops will never be realized. Since we are simply playing a game, it only leaves lingering doubts in our minds once we put the controllers down. For many gamers, Spec Ops may never resonate with them in the same way that it struck my nerves. I sincerely hope, however, that they at least have an open mind to the horrors that await them beneath the sands of Dubai. If you can walk away unmoved by what takes place, you may already be more of a monster than any of the Damned 33rd or the Delta soldiers. Mechanically speaking, Spec Ops is a fairly competent shooter. It plays a lot like Gears of War, where players take cover behind sturdy objects and use big guns against enemy targets. Where Spec Ops differs is in the flow of combat. There's a relentless push forward, a constant thrust urging players onward. That's carried over into the relatively quick kills and brutal executions that emphasize and reward speed. I found myself stressed and overwhelmed by constantly having to progress forward, fearing I would be quickly overrun if I cowered behind cover. I never felt like camping behind objects was safe as the enemy AI, however basic it can appear, always outflanked me and tore me to shreds. If I have one complaint, it's the quirky control scheme. Some of the buttons are mapped to more than one function, making it possible to sprint into cover when you actually meant to sprint around a target. The cover system, which people have also complained about, didn't really trouble me. Once or twice I was left exposed to enemy fire, but I didn't really feel like it was a major issue. The weapons themselves feel powerful and deadly. When I pulled the trigger, soldiers often crumpled or doubled over, coating the walls in red, messy spatters. It felt awful to gun down people who were likely as desperate as I was to survive. In the end, however, I had to regard the violence as a mercy upon my foes. The way they begged for help or clutched massive wounds didn't make it any easier for me to execute them. Even more disturbing was the fact that I was treated to additional (typically scarce) ammo for finishing them off, forcing me to do the deed. If Yager wants to bother players, this is a great way to do it. The aforementioned squadmates, Lugo and Adams, are great companions on this trip to insanity. They offer constant tactical feedback and aren't bad shots themselves. They can be given a few commands to help alleviate Walker's pressure, but act independently for the most part. The banter between all three soldiers is always interesting, well-written, and appropriately frantic when things get absolutely FUBAR (and they really get bad). Players will likely recognize Nolan North's voice as Walker. I felt North did an admirable job taking on a much more mature character. Though the (sometimes gratuitous) swearing may offput some, I recommend you grit through it to see the shocking conclusion. There's multiplayer in Spec Ops, but I recommend you skip it. The game works when the servers aren't being slammed, and there are some cheap thrills in modes like Chaos (free-for-all) and Buried. However, it's clear the singleplayer was the focus of development. I felt like the MP didn't carry the same weighty feeling of combat. It also lacked the emotional impact that the narrative hit home. If you purchase Spec Ops, stay for the campaign, not the compe***ive multiplayer. The technicals behind Spec Ops are fairly strong. The visuals, though lacking when compared to games like Battlefield 3, are suitably gritty and do the job well. Some of the character models look great, and the ruined city of Dubai is beautifully rendered. When the dust kicks up from explosions and gunfire, the air is obscured and a tactical element is layered onto the shooting. The particles aren't just for looks; they can really come in handy when the defecation hits the oscillation. The audio is absolutely fantastic. With a fully-licensed soundtrack and some haunting musical scores, Spec Ops succeeds in mooding you out. Everything here is meant to unsettle you, and the soundtrack does an admirable job fulfilling this roles. As I mentioned earlier, the great dialogue is well acted. The sound effects are also great; they really add to the visceral impact of combat and the narrative. If you're expecting the next generation in A/V though, you'll be disappointed. Then again, if you're coming for that, you're not playing the right shooter. Is Spec Ops the best shooter of 2012? Probably not, but that's for a reason. Spec Ops is a criticism of the modern shooter, taking the fundamental concept of the war game and inverting it. It may seem like a blatant copy of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, but don't be fooled; there are far more horrific things to experience in Spec Ops than you may expect. Prepare to have your moral and ethical codes challenged in this game, and always remember that not everything in Dubai is as it seems. But this you already know. The rest you'll just have to figure out for yourself. Welcome to Dubai, gentleman. Pros: + Incredibly deep story, filled with hidden intel to unravel more of the mystery + Forces players to make a number of difficult choices at any given time + Great audio and a few beautifully rendered scenes set Spec Ops apart + The multiplayer is not the focus of the game this time around Cons: - The multiplayer is also incredibly barebones - Some odd control bindings can cause trouble - Occasional bugs and technical glitches here and there Overall: 8.5/10 Great Spec Ops is a great, mature third-person shooter that actually makes you regret the choices you make. A deep story is coupled with great dialogue to create an excellent campaign. GIVEAWAY: Want to win a Steam copy of Spec Ops: The Line? Simply tell me what you thought of Apocalypse Now and why you're excited to play Spec Ops. Winner chosen randomly on July 6th at 9 PM Eastern.
  14. Harrison Lee

    Review: Spec Ops: The Line

    Developer: Yager Studios Publisher: 2K Games Release Date: June 26, 2012 (out now) Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC ESRB: M for Mature This review is based on the PC version of the game "War is hell," said General William Tecumseh Sherman. It's a quote that modern shooters often toss about, but one which no video game has ever embraced the meaning of. Most developers glorify tearing hands, feet, and other limbs off of generic enemy soldiers with as much gore as humanly possible. Through the glorification of war in gaming, the meaning of life is cheapened with half a magazine of 5.56 ammo. In these war games, there are only heroes and villains, with the most morally-grey aspects of war reduced to cheap marketing tactics like Call of Duty's "No Russian" mission. Spec Ops: The Line has taken all of these tropes of the modern shooter and thrown them in my face with disturbing clarity. After playing, nay experiencing, Spec Ops, I may never play a shooter with the same mindless power fantasies ever again. The premise behind Yager's cover-based third-person shooter is almost mind-boggling simple and generic. A US Army commander by the name of Colonel John Konrad has led the Damned 33rd Infantry Battalion into Dubai to evacuate the populace from history's largest sandstorm. Players, taking the role of Captain Martin Walker, are to investigate Konrad's whereabouts and, if necessary, save the Colonel and his men. Spec Ops even leads you to believe that this generic premise is indicative of the entire experience with the opening helicopter pursuit sequence. The sense of deja vu is undeniable; I've been here, shot helicopters down with a minigun, and done this turret sequence so many times before. Once you get to the ground, however, Spec Ops mutates into one of this generation's most morally, mentally, and emotionally taxing shooters. At the games conclusion, I was left battered and bewildered by everything I had seen. The conclusion only serves to make the games unsettling events that much more horrific. As much as it may have impacted me, Spec Ops is first and foremost a game, so is it any fun to play? To say Spec Ops is fun belies the game's contradictory, complicated nature. At every point during the campaign, I felt the juxtaposition of a shooter framework with a strong anti-war sentiment. In everything from the shooting to the graphic dialogue and horrific war crimes committed, I felt uncomfortable. Yager clearly intended this game to disturb and unsettle. Enjoyment and fun are not the words I would use to describe my experience with Spec Ops. I would describe my five-hour trip through hell as uncensored and raw, striking nerves the whole way through. Whether I was gunning down rogue American soldiers or deciding the fate of a CIA agent and a group of civilians, Spec Ops made it tough for me to want to continue playing. But I had to see it through. I had to see what shade of monster Walker was becoming. While all of this may sound like I'm rambling, these thoughts are the predominant reason for my constant pursuit of Konrad and the truth. I had a hard time stomaching the thought of killing civilians and murdering countless US soldiers. While this may sound trite in lieu of "No Russian", believe me when I say the dead will haunt you throughout the campaign...and perhaps beyond. For every enemy you kill, you constantly ask yourself why you're shooting dozens of people. In all the chaos, Walker can only defend himself with vague notions of wanting to be the hero, of trying to be Dubai's savior. But what of us players? Why are we massacring virtual meatbags that scream for mercy, drag themselves on the ground missing limbs, meatbags that have casual conversations about sharing gum? Are we truly the desensitized monsters that men like Konrad have become? I wish I knew the answer. By the time the credits roll, you'll wonder yourself whether Konrad was ever the true antagonist. No matter what choices you make, Walker still becomes a savage, ruthless killer. If you've seen Apocalypse Now, you understand just how insane war is. That madness is not lost on Walker or the two men he fights alongside with, Lugo and Adams. All three men experience the conflict differently, and all three will change from the people they began as. Does Spec Ops change the player as well? In these reflective moments, the jarring reality that this is just a game readily becomes apparent. There is a constant barrage of achievements that applaud me for the decisions I did or didn't make. While it may not bother some, I felt like it broke the immersion when a pop-up announced I had 'crossed a line' or 'aimed high' on targets. Isn't this game supposed to be more than just a game? In some ways, being a shooter has ensured the full impact of Spec Ops will never be realized. Since we are simply playing a game, it only leaves lingering doubts in our minds once we put the controllers down. For many gamers, Spec Ops may never resonate with them in the same way that it struck my nerves. I sincerely hope, however, that they at least have an open mind to the horrors that await them beneath the sands of Dubai. If you can walk away unmoved by what takes place, you may already be more of a monster than any of the Damned 33rd or the Delta soldiers. Mechanically speaking, Spec Ops is a fairly competent shooter. It plays a lot like Gears of War, where players take cover behind sturdy objects and use big guns against enemy targets. Where Spec Ops differs is in the flow of combat. There's a relentless push forward, a constant thrust urging players onward. That's carried over into the relatively quick kills and brutal executions that emphasize and reward speed. I found myself stressed and overwhelmed by constantly having to progress forward, fearing I would be quickly overrun if I cowered behind cover. I never felt like camping behind objects was safe as the enemy AI, however basic it can appear, always outflanked me and tore me to shreds. If I have one complaint, it's the quirky control scheme. Some of the buttons are mapped to more than one function, making it possible to sprint into cover when you actually meant to sprint around a target. The cover system, which people have also complained about, didn't really trouble me. Once or twice I was left exposed to enemy fire, but I didn't really feel like it was a major issue. The weapons themselves feel powerful and deadly. When I pulled the trigger, soldiers often crumpled or doubled over, coating the walls in red, messy spatters. It felt awful to gun down people who were likely as desperate as I was to survive. In the end, however, I had to regard the violence as a mercy upon my foes. The way they begged for help or clutched massive wounds didn't make it any easier for me to execute them. Even more disturbing was the fact that I was treated to additional (typically scarce) ammo for finishing them off, forcing me to do the deed. If Yager wants to bother players, this is a great way to do it. The aforementioned squadmates, Lugo and Adams, are great companions on this trip to insanity. They offer constant tactical feedback and aren't bad shots themselves. They can be given a few commands to help alleviate Walker's pressure, but act independently for the most part. The banter between all three soldiers is always interesting, well-written, and appropriately frantic when things get absolutely FUBAR (and they really get bad). Players will likely recognize Nolan North's voice as Walker. I felt North did an admirable job taking on a much more mature character. Though the (sometimes gratuitous) swearing may be off-putting to some, I recommend you grit through it to see the shocking conclusion. There's multiplayer in Spec Ops, but I recommend you skip it. The game works when the servers aren't being slammed, and there are some cheap thrills in modes like Chaos (free-for-all) and Buried. However, it's clear the single player was the focus of development. I felt like the MP didn't carry the same weighty feeling of combat. It also lacked the emotional impact that the narrative hit home. If you purchase Spec Ops, stay for the campaign, not the competitive multiplayer. The technicals behind Spec Ops are fairly strong. The visuals, though lacking when compared to games like Battlefield 3, are suitably gritty and do the job well. Some of the character models look great, and the ruined city of Dubai is beautifully rendered. When the dust kicks up from explosions and gunfire, the air is obscured and a tactical element is layered onto the shooting. The particles aren't just for looks; they can really come in handy when the defecation hits the oscillation. The audio is absolutely fantastic. With a fully-licensed soundtrack and some haunting musical scores, Spec Ops succeeds in mooding you out. Everything here is meant to unsettle you, and the soundtrack does an admirable job fulfilling this roles. As I mentioned earlier, the great dialogue is well acted. The sound effects are also great; they really add to the visceral impact of combat and the narrative. If you're expecting the next generation in A/V though, you'll be disappointed. Then again, if you're coming for that, you're not playing the right shooter. Is Spec Ops the best shooter of 2012? Probably not, but that's for a reason. Spec Ops is a criticism of the modern shooter, taking the fundamental concept of the war game and inverting it. It may seem like a blatant copy of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, but don't be fooled; there are far more horrific things to experience in Spec Ops than you may expect. Prepare to have your moral and ethical codes challenged in this game, and always remember that not everything in Dubai is as it seems. But this you already know. The rest you'll just have to figure out for yourself. Welcome to Dubai, gentleman. Pros: + Incredibly deep story, filled with hidden intel to unravel more of the mystery + Forces players to make a number of difficult choices at any given time + Great audio and a few beautifully rendered scenes set Spec Ops apart + The multiplayer is not the focus of the game this time around Cons: - The multiplayer is also incredibly barebones and lacking - Some odd control bindings can cause trouble in later segments - Occasional bugs and technical glitches here and there Overall: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Spec Ops is a mature third-person shooter that actually makes you regret the choices you make. A deep story is coupled with great dialogue to create an excellent campaign.
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