Spec Ops: The Line

9 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

Story | Action | Upgrades | Bury Mode Multiplayer

General Multiplayer Mode | Occasional Glitchy Combat

Game Info

GAME NAME: Spec Ops: The Line

DEVELOPER(S): Yager Development

PUBLISHER(S): 2K Games

PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC

GENRE(S): Action

RELEASE DATE(S): June 26th, 2012

Amplified Conflict in Dubai Tests Your Sanity and Will

Does anything good ever happen to anyone in this game? No, not really, not at all. That’s why this title seems to be refreshing; Spec Ops: The Line is a different type of game. After a crazy sand storm and near destruction of Dubai, it starts off with a quick recon to investigate a distress call and pickup a couple of stranded soldiers. The thing is, it’s a situation that goes from being bad, to worse and just spirals out of control. In the end your character is so physically, mentally and morally drained, they are put in a very different place then they started in. Let’s just say you are put in a position of action and emotion. The line between moral and immoral is put to the test and the lines are starting to gray, or forced to be grayed.

Our lead point man on this adventure is Captain Martin Walker (who is voiced by Nolan North from the Uncharted series). You enter Dubai and are a part of a three-man rescue team as you start your adventure. Walker transforms from a cliché action hero character into someone you actually start to sympathize with, then develops into, well someone awful. How you get to that breaking point is not up to you – however, what it means is entirely in your arena. This is what makes this game so unique, it’s a game that makes you feel and be held accountable for what you do in-game. Instead of being just a mind numbing run-and-gun game with no point, Spec Ops provides you with more substance.

Second Opinion: This game is goddamn brilliant.  From the loading screens to the best story since Bioshock (and the biggest twist, too) to the absolute genius of the multiple endings, this game is brutal, smart, and unapologetic.  Dated graphics and rote shooting be damned, buy this game right now and play it to the end.  James Score: 10

Now, story is this game’s strong point. While sometimes combat and running into cover can be inconsistent and buggy, this game makes up for it in terms of story. Is the gameplay truly awe-inspiring? No, but it’s challenging which makes it extremely fun. This is your third person, shoot and cover game, with fun events, amazing AI and aggressive unpredictable situations that happen. The hop over cover button is the same as the melee button, so occasionally instead of jumping over a box to advance or run to another cover point you are meleeing the box. While this can be annoying, it can be forgiven. Other innovative gameplay features include using your terrain as weapons (for example shooting out glass floors below snipers and unleashing sand on unexpecting soldiers that are looking to take you out). As ammo is limited and bullets hurt you and kill you quickly, strategy is a huge point in this game. I’ve had instances where I’d run out of bullets or got slaughtered and have to restart a level, which I appreciated. Thanks to games like Call of Duty and Battlefield for conditioning us to unreal battle practices, this games helps us deal with that and freshen things up a bit. Spec Ops: The Line does a lot more than most shooters do though, as it makes the violence you are creating meaningful by cut scenes and actions that happen after battle; most of the time your character is regretting what transpired.

You experience a lot in this version of Dubai, there is a lot of variety and color changes in level design so every scene is fresh and has a distinct feeling. You encounter various enemies as well, from rogue American soldiers who have abandoned their duties and attack on sight to insurgents/refugees running amuck. The city is a rough wasteland and requires aggressive self-defense to survive. Your small team provides you help along the way. A great feature is assigning targets to your teammates. Being able to scope out an enemy and assign your team to focus on them while you tear down other enemies helps a lot, especially when you discover all the disturbing and dark things happening behind the scenes. You do come in contact with friendly faces and then you’ll have to make tough decisions that aren’t like other video games.

Unlike L.A. Noire, where you can make yes or no moral choices and move forward as those choices affect your gameplay, morality is not a gameplay feature in Spec Ops: The Line. It should be, however, as that would be an extremely interesting twist. The one thing this game is guilty of though is being too short; 6 hours felt rushed and made you wanting more. Another aspect that’s valued is the gearing up feature. You can get new guns, protective gear, perks to boost stats, and cosmetic apparel. This helps a lot with replay, and makes it more fun for a second time through and believe me, there will be a second time. You tend to pick up on new things the second time around.

Multiplayer is definitely fun.  The saving part of it though is the objective-based Bury mode, which makes it extremely enjoyable. The concept: both teams of four individuals are tasked with sabotaging an enemy HQ while defending your own. It’s extremely intense and will keep you running back for more. Other than that feature, multiplayer is quite lacking; it doesn’t quite hold up to the spirit of the single player campaign.

The music in this game is quite diverse and sounds great. In the beginning you are jamming out to heavy rock while blasting terrorists and refugees in the head. Slowly, however, the music evolves from thumping rock music to somber acoustic melodies to simplistic beats and emotionally driven music. This follows in and out of combat and through emotional points, greatly helping with the games aesthetic. It very much compliments the story and actions, almost becoming a natural ambiance to the chaos and destruction that ensues.

In the end of this rough and hectic encounter, Spec Ops puts players in an interesting position. The endings – whichever one you get because they do vary, and oh how we do love that are open to interpretation and philosophical debate. The more you play through, the more details you notice.  The depth of the characters is striking and it becomes clearer as you progress and see how you are responsible for what you do. It’s  great because you fully understand Walker, which could in fact change the way you play him and make you regret certain actions you took to get there. This is a great experiment that I greatly tip my hat to.

Is this game for everyone? Nope, but if you enjoy third person action mystery shooters and enjoy stories within games, you should check it out as it provides a great deal of entertainment. If you are looking for a Call of Duty or Battlefield-esque run and gun game you will not like this. Spec Ops makes you think and feel, it’s not a mindless first person shooter. It holds thoughtful aesthetic and intelligent AI; if you stand there you will get hunted down and killed. Multiplayer doesn’t cut the cake but provides a certain value of entertainment.  It in no way detracts from the single-player campaign, which should be valued as a great success for action shooter games and changes the way we think about them.

 

 

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Author: getamikeON View all posts by
Managing Partner/Editor-in-chief and owner of GameGravy & NintendoFever – Mike spends most of his time working with the top brands in the Game industry & Advertising. Fun Factoid: he is also a musician and song writer. Google+ Author