Spec Ops: The Line Review
The Good:Gripping and at times shocking storyline
The Bad:Cant decide what it wants to be
STORY Tragic Sandstorms have hit the city of Dubai, the wealthy and powerful politicians of Dubai played down the severity of the Sandstorms and without a moment’s notice, they evacuated in secret, leaving behind millions of families and children to die and perish. Until a war hero known as Colonel John Konrad volunteered himself and [...]
Tragic Sandstorms have hit the city of Dubai, the wealthy and powerful politicians of Dubai played down the severity of the Sandstorms and without a moment’s notice, they evacuated in secret, leaving behind millions of families and children to die and perish. Until a war hero known as Colonel John Konrad volunteered himself and his 33rd Battalion unit to help the victims of the Dubai sandstorms, but then uncharacteristically he abandoned his unit on the commands of the U.S Government. Since then Colonel John Konrad and the 33rd Battalion have mysteriously disappeared off the radar and nothing has been heard of them since.
You control Captain Walker who is the leader of a Delta Operative team and you are accompanied by Lieutenant Adams and Sergeant Lugo. What started as a simple Recon- get to Dubai, locate and confirm the status of Colonel John Konrad and any survivors of his team, then radio in for extraction- soon takes a drastic turn for the worst as Walker and his squad start to uncover some very dark and disturbing truths and things are far from what they seem. On top of that, a mysterious DJ appears to be calling the shots. Why is a DJ airing across tannoys in a ghost city, has he got anything to do with the disappearance of the 33rd Battalion and what happened to Colonel John Konrad? Whether they want to or not, Captain Walker and his squad are on a one way mission to a living hell, unknowing to what dark secrets they are about to uncover.
From recent memory I cannot think of too many games that have the same look as Spec Ops: The Line, maybe the Fallout games are the closet you can get. But don’t let this comparison fool you, as the Dubai setting is a unique setting in its own right. Following the tragic Sandstorms, Dubai is in ruins and has a Ghost town feel to it that puts the movie ‘I am Legend’ to shame. Here you will see a city that has been brought to its knees and has literally sunk to new lows. As you wander through Dubai, you have a very eerie feeling, wondering what awaits you round the next corner and gives you that uncomfortable ‘It’s too quiet feeling’.
But with this all being said, Dubai with its new makeover, still looks absolutely stunning, just not in the way that many would expect. You will at times witness some stunning visuals, especially when you are perched on top of a towering Skyscraper looking down upon the fallen city. It’s also worth mentioning the attention to detail for each of the main characters, their mannerisms and facial expressions are all of a high standard and you can see that the developers have gone to great attention to details. Spec Ops: The Line tries to offer something new in the third personal genre and the games visuals and settings certainly offer something new and are on many occasions a joy to behold.
It’s easy to mistake Spec Ops: The Line as a run of the mill third person shooter, I was one of those people, but there is a great need to be strategic to how you approach the enemy. The gameplay to Spec Ops is very smooth and gives you the strong urge to run in guns blazing and go all ‘John McClane on their asses! But if you take this approach, you will be seeing the ‘Loading’ screen alot more then you feel you should be, as you will be gunned down quicker then Sackboy facing the firing squad.
Though at the same time, even though the gameplay encourages some strategy, things will not get as complicated as the superb ‘Ghost Recon Future Soldier’. There will be many occasions when you need to use the stealth approach, so to slip in all Ghost Recon like, you can issue your fellow squadies to take out the enemy by selecting the cursor over then chosen victims and simply hit the ‘RB’ button, then the hostiles will drop down silently like flies.
As you can die ever so easily, you will find yourself using and moving from cover to cover alot and this all feels very fluid, especially when you squad mates give you ‘cover fire’ and you move into flank your enemies. Another cool feature to Spec Ops gameplay is via the destructible environments, here you can crush your unsuspecting enemies with a heavy structure or shoot the glass to allow tons of sand to come crashing through, destroying and killing everything in its path. This is particularly handy when you are running low on ammo (this will happen a lot) and you can use a few bullets to take out of whole bunch of bad guys. But not everything is a bed of roses, as enjoyable as the game is; the A.I is among the simplest that I’ve seen in a while. So many times have a wondered around the corner to find a bunch of enemies all grouped up together just waiting to be gunned down or a hand grenade to be thrown in their general direction.
A few simple, but yet so handy gameplay features have also made their way into the game. Like the ‘Epic’ Gears of War franchise, when you want to sprint, you have to hold down the ‘A’ button. But Spec Ops have also used this formula, but instead of having to hold down the ‘A’ button, you only have to press it once from now on. This makes it a little easier switching to and from other commands during your sprint and again like Gears of War; there is an ‘execution’ command that can be performed on your crawling victim by hitting the ‘B’ button. Spec Ops: The Line has taken a few ideas from other games, but then again how doesn’t? After all, no idea in the video game industry is truly original. Taking from other games is fine, as long as you add your own spin on it and the developers of Spec Ops have just done that.
Spec Ops: The Line tells a story as well as any other I can think of, it’s the classic tales of embarking on a seemingly simple missions and then things are not what they seem. The story is very well scripted and has you sucked in from the word go and if you want a top performance with a lead character in the video game industry then you cannot go wrong with Nolan North (notably know as Desmond Miles from the Assassins Creed series), who has been casted as the voice of Captain Walker. But the excellent voice acting doesn’t stop with Nolan North, but the support acting is also of a high standard, especially from the mysterious and eerie DJ. Spec Ops: The Line is that well scripted and acted, you could easily see this story adapted over to a blockbuster movie. The game is also supported by a very harrowing soundtrack with seemingly innocent songs, sound so unnerving when used in the right manner and scene. Whether it’s from the well scripted and excellent voice acting or the harrowing soundtrack, Spec Ops: The Line literally tells one hell of an unforgettable tale.
Spec Ops: The Line is at times a brutal and memorable storyline, that may encourage you for a second playthrough, especially when you know the reasons why things are the way they are. But other than that I can’t really think of a good reason you’d want to playthrough it again, unless you want to clear up those achievements. But you if you really loved the game, then you do have the multiplayer. It’s ok, nothing special, but if you want to get more out of the game, then the multiplayer is there if you need it. I just think as enjoyable as the campaign was, it seems to be missing that something that special games have, that has you wanting to come back for more.
I’m not going to forget my playthrough of Spec Ops in a hurry, as it was one of the most gripping and well acted storylines in recent memory. But throughout the campaign I got the feeling that it couldn’t decide what type of game it wanted to be, does it want to be a gung ho third person shooter or does it want to be a tactical third person shooter? Spec Ops: The Line was a game that intrigued me when I first heard of it and I always wanted to give it ago, but even before I got to play it, that little voice in my head was telling me that maybe I should rent it first. So I took my own advice and I rented it and I’m glad that I did, don’t get me wrong, despite the games at times dodgy AI and its genre confusion, it was a very enjoyable game.
But once I had finished it, I had no real urge to return, even for the multiplayer and I’m a big multiplayer fan. At the right price, Spec Ops: The Line may be a worthy purchase. But if you are getting that urge to purchase it at full price, then go ahead if that’s what you want to do, but my advice would be to rent it, playthrough it and then see how you feel about the purchase.
Spec Ops: The Line Review,