[Brutuxan here, at the moment I’m still trying to figure out how I want to do reviews. So when you read this, keep in mind my format could change within several weeks or so. I normally stick to topics that get me a lot of leverage out of them, but with this game specifically I feel like I need to talk about it (even though it came out like 4 – 5 months ago). Also keep in mind, I may do a second part which features heavy spoilers simply because there’s a lot that can be said about this game.
But until then, enjoy the review folks.]
“We’re trying to tell a good story,” how often do you hear that nowadays? Whether it be from smaller indie developers trying to create a well-grounded world with only a limited set of tools, to a big time developer who’s utilizing a big budget to tell the best story they can with a lot of spectacle thrown in. And most of the time, at least to me, they do not hold up to their promises. Usually the dialogue feels clunky, the story is too convoluted, or the characters are one-dimensional (which I get on people’s cases when I tell them to focus on the gameplay, rather than something you have no experience or knowledge of doing).
Then comes along 2K Games (developed by Yager Development and Darkside Game Studios) ‘Spec Ops: The Line’. A game in which the developers were harping on it’s story more than it’s gameplay (which is a ballsy move to me). So I was like, “Oh great another minuscule developer studio trying to turn a piece of coal into gold. Pft, I’ll just wait until August for the BIG games.” Granted, my attitude at the time was pretty understandable…actually I take that back, I was literally talking smack about this development team here. Because of the fact that I don’t trust game developers/publishers when it comes to telling me that they have a good story!
“They told me Cooking Mama had a great story, so where the f**k is it?!“
I feel like a magazine publisher who keeps getting sent 100+ page epics rather than simple articles. However you people aren’t here for my ranting, you’re here to know if ‘Spec Ops: The Line‘ is a good game? Well let me tell you something…it is.
‘Spec Ops: The Line‘ is one of those gems that only comes once or twice a year. I’m not talking about the gameplay specifically, I’m talking about the actual story here. Let me tell you what it’s about, ‘Spec Ops: The Line‘ is about these Delta Force operators named Adams, Lugo, and Walker (who you play as) who are sent to investigate Dubai (which got hit by these immense sandstorms). If you look at the cover of the game and just played the first half hour or so, you’d think you would just be playing another generic third-person military shooter? Correct?
Well allow me to tell you how wrong you are, like you are so ridiculously wrong you have no idea. First off let me just say that this game is really dark, it’s probably the most depressing game I’ve played since ‘Mass Effect 3‘ (for specific reasons). It’s hard to give out plot details without spoiling anything, but let me just say that you’re going to be making a few insanely screwed-up decisions. And either way, you’re gonna be losing large chunks of your sanity.
The gameplay itself is solid, nothing too memorable or outgoing about it. Basically if you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5-10 years, this whole health regeneration mechanic may come off as very new to you. For everyone else though, you ever played a third-person shooter before? You’ll get the hang of this.
I will say though that there were certain times when the button mapping felt a little unnatural, but I think that’s mostly due to me being used to a specific layout in third-person shooters. The AI in this game is decent enough, I guess, however the enemies in this game can get a little frustrating at times. Your squadmates in the game are pretty responsive, although they are not the brightest when it comes to selecting cover.
“Hey buddy, I would greatly appreciate if you would get into cover goddammit!“
Although all of the gameplay is here to serve the story, and it does it well. The way certain plot points and character flaws are inserted into certain segments are done naturally. Writing-wise, I have not found one ‘dumb’ or ‘poorly’ written moment (which is absolutely shocking to me). There is one character in the game that was a bit too outrageous in terms of his character, but luckily he’s in the game for only a minimal amount of time.
There’s a lot I could say about ‘Spec Ops: The Line‘ in regards to it’s story, but it’s one of those games that you definitely need to experience for yourself. Specifically if you’re a big fan of sand.
“See, this is why we should have vacationed to Morocco. “