spec ops the line review

‘Spec Ops The Line’ Review


I remember telling myself about ten minutes into Spec Ops The Line, you have played this game before. In this world of IOS cloning of concepts you have to keep an open mind about these things. So I did and Spec Ops The Line rewards you the further you play, the more you are gripped by a compelling story which comes across as something new or at least rarely tried in the genre of video games.

Spec Ops The Line is a  third-person shooter set in a hollowed out and destroyed Dubai. The perpetrator, a series of massive sand storms. Colonel John Konrad and his squad were sent into protect and help those who were unable to escape. It appears as if that mission had failed and so  Captain Walker, a member of Delta force is sent in to investigate what happened. What he and his two squad mates find is something so horrible that it can only suck them into the madness that they discover.

What I Liked:

  • Some neat little gameplay tricks. The use of sand seems like a kind of obvious thing to use considering the setting of Dubai but Yager do some interesting things with it. There are at least three distinct uses here, the first of which is shooting out glass to cover your enemies in sand. Secondly, the use of grenades often have the bonus effect of blowing up a spray of sand and finally the use of the stand storm which disorientates both your enemies and you taking away your ability to issue squad commands. It’s all minor tweaks but very clever indeed.
  • The Story, The Story, The Story. When we play games that involve shooting there is little thought behind that action rather it’s a kill or be killed mentality. This a mantra that is repeated over and over again through the game justifying Marlowe’s action. It begins to sound hollow and as the mounting death toll (soldier and civilian alike) it looses all meaning. Spec Ops must be one of the only games that examine the horror of war as openly as it does. Take for example there is a sequence where you use a remote controlled phosphorus attack to wipe out dozens of enemies and it is not until you walk through the corpses of your attack do you begin to way up the answers.
  • Multiple endings that work. Often multiple endings are trivial here is the good ending and here is the bad ending but Spec Ops endings are meaningful. Each is valid in how and there is no lesser option. Of course, it would be horrible to talk about it here but know that when you get there it is important

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Broken AI on teammates is a constant problem. Your squadmates who all seem content to wrestle with complexities and the horror of war,yet often suffer from a complete inability of what to do in a gun fight. They run out into the open fire in a cover based third person shooter often meaning certain death when you try to heal them. This is just plain broken.
  • You can’t help but escape the I have seen this before. Third person shooters often feel the same or at least have very similar mechanics and while this is perfectly competent in it’s execution I really don’t feel the need to run into cover and fire at my enemies in bursts.
  • Needless multiplayer.
  • Short for a full priced game.

What I Missed:

I confess that I suck at most multiplayer games. I try to Battlefield 3 on my PC and no matter what amount of practice I just get killed by snipers. All that to say for me to try multiplayer on Spec Ops and then write about it would have been a waste of time for everyone involved.  I have put in a video so if you are interested you can get a sense of it


Should I Buy It?

Spec Ops: The Line doesn’t make a great first impression. It comes off as generic with only a few new tricks to show but the further you get into the game you will be rewarded. It deals with serious subject matter in a thoughtful way, a rare treat in a video game, let alone ones involving shooting. That said it is a shorter game and may not be worth parting with your hard earned cash at full-price. If you can find it on special do not hesitate!!!

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