Generally favorable reviews - based on 59 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 59
  2. Negative: 0 out of 59
Buy On
  1. Hyper Magazine
    Aug 8, 2012
    From around the halfway mark onwards, The Line is a gripping, at time harrowing, and unforgettable experience. [Sept 2012, p.66]
  2. Jun 26, 2012
    One of those rare games where the story nearly eclipses the gameplay. There is some powerful imagery throughout the game that will stay with you long after you've played it, and the choices throughout add to the replay factor because you'll want to go in and see what would have happened if you had made a different decision.
  3. Machinima
    Jun 26, 2012
    If you just want to click your brain off and shoot some guys, Spec Ops is not for you. That's ok though, gamers looking for that can find it in, well, almost every other game ever made. Spec Ops is unique in its intelligent treatment of adult themes. If you want a different take on the war game, I can't recommend Spec Ops enough.
  4. Games Master UK
    Jul 24, 2012
    Equal parts shooty and thinky, this is a deeply involving action game with a brain. [Sept 2012, p.96]
  5. Aug 6, 2012
    It may not be winning any awards, that's not to say that this is one of the most captivating shooters currently available to Xbox 360 users. The morality of your choices has never been so well presented as they are in Spec Ops: The Line and for that reason alone it's a game that everyone should experience, if only for a few short hours.
  6. Jul 10, 2012
    As a complete package, Spec Ops: The Line is highly recommended.
  7. Jun 27, 2012
    Spec Ops The Line is a good TPS whose lack of originality regarding its gameplay mechanics can be easliy criticized. And yet, the title offers a great experience, depicting a bright and apocalyptic vision of Dubaï, just as if players were there. The mise-en-scène of Spec Ops The Line also manages to share, both psychologically and physically, the craziness experienced by our heroes. Finally, the classic multiplayer modes make us forget the short time needed to finish the main campaign.
  8. 85
    Even by military-shooter standards, Spec Ops: The Line is an uncompromisingly bleak journey into the mouth of madness. Sharing almost nothing with its predecessors except the Spec Ops moniker, this squad-based shooter tries to make you think - sometimes successfully, sometimes not - about the lines you're willing to cross in battle.
  9. Jun 26, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line may seem like a standard third-person military shooter on the surface, but once you dig a little more, you discover its dark side. War is hell, and no game has delivered that point better than The Line. The decisions you are forced to make and the outcomes they deliver are incredibly gritty and representative of the things soldiers likely deal with in battle. The mind is a powerful tool, and having never served, I have massive respect for people who have had to deal with things like this. If you are looking for an emotionally charged military shooter, Spec Ops: The Line is a must-play.
  10. Jun 28, 2012
    It's kind of like having some philosophical chewing gum to go with your war. You feel like there's something to think about, but it's not going to bother you as you go about your business.
  11. Jun 26, 2012
    They say war is hell; Spec Ops: The Line, however, is not. Oh, it is no doubt for Martin Walker, John Konrad, and the poor people of Dubai, but for the player, Spec Ops: The Line just puts the fun back into the word fundamental with a solidly written and acted story, well-constructed gameplay, and perfectly adequate multiplayer.
  12. Jun 27, 2012
    Although its gameplay is conservative, it achieves to be very entertaining, and above all it is a diffferent game. Its atmosphere and story are exotic and thrilling, and it is also one of the first attempts on telling a mature story in videogames.
  13. Jun 27, 2012
    With epic moments and a megalomaniac scope, Spec Ops is a solid game with an amazing context and some really great gameplay moments.
  14. Jul 26, 2012
    A surprising game: a dirty, gritty travel through human moral and psyche. An experience worth trying, even if plagued by small technical and gameplay problems.
  15. Jul 10, 2012
    Well, call me utterly surprised. Spec Ops: The Line showed me that it's more than just a generic shooter. Backing up the solid, if somewhat familiar, gameplay is a fantastic and smart story experience that no other shooter has done for some time.
  16. Jul 6, 2012
    The game has rough edges but it can be overlooked with how well the subject matter is handled and how it will make you think about the choices you make. Even if you're generally not too into the war shooter genre, I suggest picking Spec Ops: The Line up simply to be engrossed with its story telling and thought provoking climax.
  17. Jul 6, 2012
    While itʼs not particularly interesting mechanically as a shooter, The Line is a surprisingly bold game – itʼs not here to entertain, but rather to provoke. The story might not be without problems, but the way itʼs told, integrated through gameplay, is a welcome first for the genre; hereʼs hoping more developers learn from it.
  18. Jul 3, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line is a tremendous example of how much effect great writing can have on a game. Without it, this is a title that would be heading to the bargain bins within weeks, as another brown cover shooter. What we have here though is something that deserves to be played by all, thought provoking and an emotion roller-coaster than even some movies can't quite get right.
  19. Jun 29, 2012
    The gamer in me hated much of Spec Ops: The Line. The critic in me loves it. Like anyone else of two minds, I'm forced to decide which side of the line I stand on.
  20. Jun 28, 2012
    With the only real drawback of the length, Spec Ops: The Line manages to establish itself as a well made videogame, offering a couple of enjoyable hours.
  21. Jun 27, 2012
    It's involving, and while not everything may be prepared for that, it provides an experience that very few games can these days.
  22. 80
    Spec Ops: The Line is a solid shooter that may not do anything particularly new from a pure gameplay perspective, but it's wrapped up in an engaging story that will keep you glued to the screen.
  23. Jun 26, 2012
    With a shift away from clear-cut good and bad, Spec Ops challenges the sympathetic grey-matter with highlighted gaps between 'killing machine' and morality lessened as you tread "the line".
  24. Jun 26, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line lacks innovation or polish in its gameplay, but makes up for it with a story that genuinely has impact and meaning. Whilst the ending is a bit limp, the overall narrative raises serious questions about the duty of a soldier, and how far that goes. Whilst the multiplayer does not quite hit the same heights, this is still a shooter that stands on its own and is not afraid to show the ugly side of the Call of Duty dream.
  25. Jun 26, 2012
    It's not particularly new or innovative in its core mechanics, but it marries the dependable and familiar with the not-so to create one of the year's most interesting titles. At its heart it's still a shooter, but at least it's also one with the brains to ask you to shoot something different.
  26. Jun 26, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line is an original take on the shooter's standard. Even with some flaws and derivative solutions in terms of gameplay, its original story and setting make it one of the most interesting TPS of this year.
  27. Jun 26, 2012
    The sum of Spec Ops' unexpected story is an army shooter that makes killing people mean something. This, along with its thoughtful aesthetic and intelligent enemy encounters, defies the standard established by low-aiming action games.
  28. 80
    A third-person shooter packed with thrilling set-pieces that tries to make you think about why you are doing the shooting. It's utterly bleak, occasionally gruelling and falls just short of the thought-provoking masterpiece it was aiming for, but it's still a relentlessly compelling experience if you've got the stomach for it.
  29. Jun 26, 2012
    There are such a lot of shooters these days, and so many tend to blur into each other if you're not careful. This one won't, however - and that's quite an achievement.
  30. Jun 26, 2012
    The power-fantasy catharsis behind other shooters buckles under the weight of Spec Ops: The Line's story of mistakes made and the consequences of intentions. And against very steep odds, Spec Ops: The Line succeeds in what it's trying to do.
  31. Jun 26, 2012
    I can't think of another game where I replayed chapters, after beating it, for the sole purpose of fully understanding the gravity of key story moments.
  32. Jun 26, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line has its issues, but they're overshadowed by a brave, compelling narrative that treats the medium with respect, and calls you a son of a bitch for playing it.
  33. Jun 26, 2012
    In a season where game releases generally slow down, gamers should take a close look at Spec Ops: The Line as it has some great qualities that most should enjoy, but the ride may be over a little too quickly for those who those who invest the money and don't play online.
  34. Jun 26, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line is a cut above the usual generic military shooter with solid gameplay backed up by a story that pulls you in and doesn't let go. And it makes you think. It's a grim day at the beach for sure, but then war is hell.
  35. Jul 7, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line uses a tried and tested shooter formula to deliver a powerful and thought-provoking story.
  36. Jun 26, 2012
    While the story remains riveting up to its questionable conclusion, the minute-to-minute gameplay is uneven.
  37. Jul 2, 2012
    German developers Yager put the horror of war on the screen – brutal, ruthless and depressing at times. In its' quiet moments it generates a fantastic atmosphere set in the Dubai desert. But this is still a shooter and regarding action and especially AI it falls short.
  38. Jul 2, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line is a decent third-person shooter that doesn't bring much original features to the table. The amazing and brutal narrative, however, will keep you ploughing through this sandy shooter.
  39. Jun 30, 2012
    Spec Ops: The Line tries to take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride to try and distinguish itself from other 'Hollywood-ish' competitors. It makes you doubt your morality and who your enemy is. These moments usually work well, but don't always tug at the right strings. The complete experience can be seen as a very decent one and a nice surprise at that.
  40. Jun 28, 2012
    There is certainly room for a thoughtful shooter or fifty among the brain-dead gorillas that currently populate the genre, and what is on offer here in that regard is encouraging, even if it's not executed to the highest standards. The Line's dramatic punches would have landed with a lot more force had the in-game macho quotient been dialled back a few notches and had all involved not made the choice to speak through clenched teeth, but it does represent a welcome step in the right direction.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 347 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 347
  1. Jun 26, 2012
    "Spec Ops: The Line" is the ninth game of the franchise dating back to PC, 98, and is produced by 2K Games, using the Unreal Engine 3. The"Spec Ops: The Line" is the ninth game of the franchise dating back to PC, 98, and is produced by 2K Games, using the Unreal Engine 3. The story is set in a Dubai devastated by a sandstorm, 6 months ago: some of the city's population escaped, but many were left behind in this chaotic and anarchic city; among those who stayed behind, there is a US Army Colonel, who contrary to orders, he decided to stay to help - all thought he was dead, until a weak broadcast is capted, and now, you and your squad enter this anarchic scenary to rescue him, and find several things toward this goal.The graphics are good but not excellent, being comparable to other games like Rainbrow 6 Vegas II or Operation Flashpoint 2 - the textures of characters have a good detail, but nothing to go to minimal skin texture. The same applies to other details such as footprints in the sand, which does not always appear, and the destruction effect, with large pieces - the details of the scenarios in the campaign are very good, and detailed.The colors of the game, that passes in a desert, have many strong colors that are heavy on a color theme, depending on the stage, and abuses of yellows and oranges, and you can opt for three tonal variations when starting the game (Vintage, Exaggerated and Normal) - obviously, the graphics are obscured a greater distance, by sand and wind, or the darkness that spread through the city without electricity.The game has a mixed musical background mixed, the main part orchestrated, with the typical style of action games. The acting is mixed, usually dialogues are good, but the acting is not perfect, and the voices are very constant in volume, whereas the general sound effects are good, especially in the climate of the place.You notice another similarity with Vegas II in relation to the enemies: it is always easy to know if there is any hidden in the stage, they scream incessantly, even when they are alone.The gameplay is of a great shooter in the 3rd person, strategic, but tending much action: there are 4 difficulties, and the most difficult (FUBAR) shall be released only after finishing the game on Hard (Suicide). The highlight is that the controls are intuitive and smooth, with no difficulty to play and enjoy the game.The stages are linear and with physical borders, having a goal, displayed on the screen, with its distance, and generally among them are facing waves of enemies to reach them - and the enemies are plentiful in the game, and are varied among survivors, and other military forces.The importance of the cover system is higher here, two or three shots from enemies kill you - and allied to it, the choice of weapons and the use of certain commands to your squad to ensure that you live longer. The grenades are throw with LB, and you can see the trajectory and possible deviations that they may have hiting objetcs.The life has regeneration, when in cover, and the damage is shown by taking a shade screen over white and black with blood around it - here, the damage in the higher difficulties is higher than in other games, but nothing too extreme.The enemy AI is mixed: generally do not have much strategy, just attack and use some cover, but every once in a while you, being the primary target of them do strange things like running behind our team, not caring that they are there, to kill you. The same applies to your Team AI: in general has a good performance, but are not extremely well-aimed and sometimes make suicidal decisions too, but do not die so much, by what I said above the enemy AI.The highlight if the gameplay is the destruction of certain structures in the game, which can fall or break in the case of glass, and the presence of climatic factors relating to sand in the game, and that much influence on the strategy used (many enemies attack from skylights high above), from the point of obscuring the vision enemy with storms of sand to break the structures of Cover / support of opponents.The variety of weapons is very good, and despite ammunition goes away fast in the action, you can get any weapons of the enemy, and re-supply points are abundant. The game's collectibles are items in the form of intelligence that give greater insight into story and do not always have the same look, with different objects each time.The game has Multiplayer, which can be played on Live or via System Link, and from what I read it is a competitive mode, based on the struggle between teams, in which changes in the scenarios by sand avalanches / storms or destruction of scenery. Seeing the trailer, seemed very similar to the MP of Vegas II .Summary: I found a great 3rd person shooter, being among my favorites: it has good graphics, with great weather effects and destruction, coupled with a strategic gameplay with more action, and well polished gameplay and controls (a detail that many other recent shooters do not have). If you like shooters with lots of action, this certainly deserves to be in your collection. Full Review »
  2. Jun 26, 2012
    When there are already hundreds of shooters like this already available, Spec Ops: The Line manages to offer a whole new experience. AWhen there are already hundreds of shooters like this already available, Spec Ops: The Line manages to offer a whole new experience. A mysterious and unpredictable plot, brand new game mechanics and a decent enough multiplayer, Spec Ops: The Line should manage to keep you busy this summer. Full Review »
  3. Jun 26, 2012
    Great 3rd person action game and deep dark story. I really enjoyed the original Spec Ops games and the new one combines great story telling,Great 3rd person action game and deep dark story. I really enjoyed the original Spec Ops games and the new one combines great story telling, seamless level transition into the game I've been waiting for. Complete with environment effects, environment kill options, and morality choices, this is a sure sleeper hit. Multiplayer was mediocre and felt tacked on but its a solid single player game. Full Review »