E3 2012: Spec Ops: The Line’s free DLC co-op missions demonstrate a familiar game’s unique strengths

e3 2012 spec ops the lines free dlc co op missions demonstrate a familiar games unique strengths line 1

Spec Ops: The Line has an uphill battle. There are no fewer than 9 billion different games simulating military operations. That the game is centered on a number of different military, terrorist and refugee factions inside of Dubai doesn’t help distinguish it to the average player. Is the United Arab Emirates noticeably different to the fictional Middle Eastern nation undergoing a coup in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare? Do they know that the indoor ski resort level is really a landmark in Dubai? That the game is dead set of telling a story that attempts to seriously confront the moral quagmire of war while still entertaining also won’t help it either. It’s a beautiful ambition but making people that just want to shoot each other online care is hard to say the least.

Though it’s under the radar compared to other games at E3 2012, Spec Ops: The Line acquits itself well, and it even offers up a little something more for people that still demand a multiplayer experience. Just three weeks before the game comes out, I got to sit down with creative lead Cory Davis to try out two of the game’s four free downloadable co-operative missions. Like the game itself, it seems familiar at first, but Spec Ops’ co-op is more than just another shooter.

What it is: an ass-kickingly difficult co-op shooter. The two missions we tried, Refugee Camp and The Gorge, were short. Start to finish they take maybe twenty minutes to complete, rushes against enemies in a series of three or four contained spaces. We played on Medium difficulty, the second of four difficulty settings, and both Davis and I were repeatedly gunned down at the opening of the Refugee camp, a narrow corridor of stalls and detritus. The difficulty is a testament to the cunning and aggressive artificial intelligence driving the game’s enemies. These guys won’t just stand there waiting for you to pop them off; they’ll flank you and your partner in intelligent, methodical ways, and will stand by necessary ammunition refills waiting for you to go for them.

e3 2012 spec ops the lines free dlc co op missions demonstrate a familiar games unique strengths line 2

We had better luck in The Gorge, a building area that had us pushing forward through two floors, one partner ideally covering the other on upper levels of the stage. Taking out the smart enemies in Spec Ops is a game of slowly gaining ground, pushing forward. While it looks like Gears of War and so many other cover-based shooters, Spec Ops requires patience and careful movement. That movement is frustrated by the game’s randomly appearing sandstorms, which obscure enemies. Another high mark for the AI is that the bad guys can’t automatically find you in the murk. It’s smartly done.

These co-op missions are hardly the main course in Spec Ops: The Line and ultimately they don’t tackle the thorny moral territory that is the single-player campaign’s main selling point. They are however demonstrative of the game’s strengths. Spec Ops may look and sound like so many other shooters but it is its own beast and it’s showing well just before release.

Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ will make Blackout mode free to play this week

Treyarch and Activision are offering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode as a free trial download for a limited time. The mode will be available from January 17 through January 24.
Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.
Emerging Tech

Furrion’s luxurious smart yacht looks like the perfect vessel for a Bond villain

Forget smart watches and the like: when it comes to the biggest smart technology at CES 2019, the literal answer can be nothing other than the 78-foot, high-tech luxury smart yacht, Adonis.
Gaming

It's dangerous to go alone! Have fun with friends in our favorite co-op games

Video games don't always have to be so brutal, dog-eat-dog experiences! Here are some of our all-time favorite co-op games across a range of different platforms, genres, and difficulties.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.