2K Games just sent us word that the demo for Spec Ops: The Line is now available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox Live. Xbox Live Gold members get early access with things opening to all on May 15, 2012.

A few of us here at RipTen have had the chance to get hands on time with the game. You can read Chris Carlson’s stirring account in his February preview here. I also had the chance to put the title through its paces at PAX East. I was impressed by the grittiness of the action, with authentic feeling characters and unflinchingly brutal animations. Watching an enemy’s head disappear because of a bullet fired from my gun was something that stuck with me.

I spoke with Cory Davis, YAGER’s Lead Designer on the game, who was up front about the influence Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness had on the narrative. Throughout the game, you’ll see familiar elements to that classic story and Apocalypse Now, considered by many to be a theatrical retelling of the tale. You’ll also run into situations requiring choices, but these aren’t the traditional dichotomous branches. The outcomes of your decisions won’t immediately be clear and, regardless of the path you take, the characters will be forced to live and react to the decisions.

As the story progresses, cracks begin to form in the psyches of your team members, adding a new layer of tension. The game is as much about the gun play as it is about representing the mental toll that war takes on its participants. You’ll be able to get your hands on the full version when it arrives for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on June 26, 2012.