Spec Ops: The Line – PC
Developer: Yager Development
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date (NA): June 26th, 2012
Genre: Third-person Shooter
Nerd Rating: 8 out of 10!
I recently picked up Spec Ops: The Line on Steam due to its reputation as a very controversial game with a moral-questioning story, and it definitely lived up to to it’s reputation. Developed by Yager Development and published by 2K Games in June of 2012, Spec Ops: The Line is a third-person shooter with a focus on the story as opposed to the gameplay, much like the Mass Effect series (minus the RPG elements.)
Straight off upon pressing single player you are put into a turret section, which many people hate in shooters. Spec Ops: The Line has a LOT of turret sections, as well as open-area turrets that you are able to (and often forced to) control. However, while generally a negative, the turret sections in Spec Ops: The Line simply work well. The turret sections weren’t rushed and thrown in to improve the game or make it longer, they were well thought out and actually make sense in the game as well as being pretty fun overall.
The story of Spec Ops: The Line is incredible, and tells an amazing tale of a soldier who is sent into a hostile area without any forms of communication with his superiors or the other operatives in the area (besides his two men that he commands.) This soldier is of course Captain Martin Walker of the United States Army’s Delta Force, an elite secretive squad of soldiers dedicated to counter-terrorism and special missions. Alongside Delta Force operatives Staff Sergeant John Lugo and First Lieutenant Alphanso Adams, Captain Walker must search for any survivors left in the country of Dubai.
Spec Ops: The Line tackles many important and controversial subjects in the story including war crimes, mental instability, and disastrous mistakes made in the heat of combat that would result in extreme mission failure in real life, possibly even jail time. When I played Spec Ops: The Line on my YouTube channel, I got a little hate from this one viewer who was dissatisfied how the game shows no repercussions for the main character’s actions. I disagree. I believe that the game did a very well job explaining that Captain Walker wasn’t losing his mental stability during his time in Dubai and wasn’t aware of what he was doing.
One of the strongest aspects of the Spec Ops: The Line story is how the game depicts the enemies as actual people, not just an evil entity you have to defeat to save the world. The game does a great job of having an emotional toll on the player by making sure you know that to the enemy, they are the good guys just like you are, a much more accurate depiction of war then most games are willing to give. This is by far one of my favorite parts of the game.
The gameplay of Spec Ops: The Line definitely isn’t the strongest aspect of the game, but that isn’t to say it is necessarily bad in any way. The game got extremely difficult at times and even lowered my difficulty without my permission due to the fact I was dying so many times, which I don’t believe is a choice the game should be able to make on your behalf. The majority of gamers enjoy a challenge and want to beat the game fairly, not by lowering the difficulty. However, I understand the developer’s focus was on story and they most likely implemented this to keep the story going.
While Spec Ops: The Line attempted to introduce a little control over your squad’s actions, it was an overall pretty weak feature. The majority of what you can do to your squad is make them throw certain kinds of grenades or make them target a specific individual. The latter was the most useful feature of your squad due to the fact that they would take out potentially dangerous or hard-to-reach characters. I would’ve preferred they took a more RPG companion technique and allowed you to choose what guns your squad used and such, or simply didn’t add this feature at all.
Spec Ops: The Line was a very pretty game at times, usually when in the more open areas of the game. There is something about a sandstorm-filled warzone that somehow has an appeal in this game and still manages to be pretty. The soundtrack of Spec Ops: The Line is a pretty decent rock-type soundtrack, though I had to have the music off for most of the game due to YouTube copyright reasons. However, I did enjoy the starting screen menu music especially.
The multiplayer aspect of Spec Ops: The Line was your average third-person shooter experience, and the only thing I found interesting was that certain maps had a sandstorm which made it hard to see and move efficiently. If the only thing you are interested in is multiplayer, this is not the game for you and I highly encourage you stay away. That being said however, the multiplayer is still pretty active for as little as it offers.
Over the years, I have lost my interest in shooter games of nearly every varient with the exception of RPGs, but I really enjoyed Spec Ops: The Line. The story in this game is simply superb and I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants a good story with decent gameplay. The only times that I really didn’t want to play anymore were the spots that I got stuck in and felt were impossible, but I eventually made it through them (probably after the game kept lowering my difficulty.) Yager Development did a truly spectacular job at making a modern shooter feel original and different, as well as actually getting a great story across that focused on more then just “kill all the bad guys and don’t die!”
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