“There is a line men like us have to cross.”
Well you might as well trip over it during this…
Clean Shaven and Hoorah
The Spec Ops franchise is one either you’ve heard of it, haven’t heard of it, or you don’t think you have heard of it and it sounds familiar. Back in early 98’, Spec Ops: Rangers Lead the Way was released as was intended to be a realistic two-man squad tactical game play. Mind you, this was in the early PC, PS1, and Dreamcast gaming era and tactical meant cover, shoot, and move squad. After that time, I don’t know what happened there weren’t any more Wikipedia pages on the other ones, until this one! After ten years since the latest release in 2002, Spec Ops: The Line uncovers itself.
The developer, Yager Development took a number on trying to update a “tactical” shooter by adding, a bit conventions that games have contained, like story-line choices and usable hazardous environments. Many of these choices lead to events that can either help or hurt the rest of the game’s direction and characters much like in games as basic and large as the Eder Scrolls to complex and closed like Mass Effect. In this game a decisions digs a hole, it either hurts, bleeds, or prolongs an event in the game. A main point in this game is this story that is a mask of deep, deep sand of truth and lie.
Scraped and Dirty
When dropped in Dubai for some reason, you’ll immediately feel as though you have actually entered the Uncharted games. The game world looks real open, really real, and really frickin hot. Is this really modeled after Dubai? Who knows, but the thing is it looks fantastic. Unfortunately, the game’s dated graphics can shortly take some of the atmosphere away and its textures do lag a bit during very elaborate scenes in both gameplay and cut sequences. Even the bright orange coloring can get a bit annoying, but that is true feel the game wants to give, and I say annoy the crap out of me with organyness. I want to be in the desert; even when it is 99 degrees out here!
The game’s scenery leaves and lasting impression of what the world looks after humans are gone and a very hateful impression of not wanting to look at sand ever again. The Art style in this game goes from typical action end-of-the-world to insane throughout the beginning to end and soon takes on a spin-off life of the acclaimed film, Apocalypse Now. Each loading screen is another representation of this games movement toward finding truth, with moving sprites to keep a bit attention a lot like the ones in Mortal Kombat in 2011. Over all it gives a great, gritty, dark, and loss of life in a grand, not perfect, but effective style in post apocalyptic Dubai.
Flat on your Face
When one hears the words “tactical shooter”, they think of Battlefield and Ghost Recon. Then point fingers and laugh at Call of Duty. The gameplay is not as tactile as one may think. It is a third person cover-based, tell the guys with you to shoot this guy and stun these guys. The game does not even allow the player to direct an area for your squad mates to go. Instead you may find them running up to the enemies and getting themselves knocked down and bleeding out. The cover system is also needed of improvement, causing the player to die when either trying to get in cover or while in it. The AI can be very unpredictable, which is hard to determine if that is even a bad thing or not. After all those, there is not much new except the fun use of sand. The sand can be used to kill, stun, and distract those crazy enemies. Grenades can kick up a lot of sand. Shooting certain weak points can break open a cause little sand avalanches. Don’t forget the occasional blinding sand storm too!
At the beginning of the game, a whole lot of nothing happens except sarcastically funny dialogue between the characters and then encounters with not so friendly high-caliber locals. Not to mention that they are too easy and pitiful to kill. Well just wait, then the enemies are extremely well trained and physco U.S. soldiers. This game also features more realistic looking "executions" than in Gears of War, but just as brutal. The game’s difficulty will quickly go from boringly easily to god have mercy upon your soul and that’s only on the second difficulty level of the game. Loads of fun! It is a good challenge for typical shooter. Not forgetting about the wonderful choices you got to make. One choice is supposed to make you feel better and these don’t. You think your trying to save people, you must save yourself from yourself. Try playing that…
Battered and Alone
Is what this game should be. Is this another multiplayer game tacked on for more replay value? Yes it is. I wish this façade would just end. Multiplayer is the same as Gears of War, plain as that. You can pack different weapons and certain levels and upgrade your head wear and chest armor that is all you can customize, and that’s lame. The only interesting and unique part of multiplayer is the game mode called Buried, where a team must take out the opposing team’s base by destroying vital points that make the base fill up with sand affectively ending the game. Each match will have at least two sand storms that either prevent or provoke camping. It is still a good waste of time, but only if you want to play something new, but not very different.
Tattered and Torn
Here comes the storm, and I don’t mean sand storm. I mean the storm of a story. It has been said that this basis of Spec Ops: The Line comes from the book, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad with no connection to the John Konrad in the game, with a ‘k’. The story shows what the basic instinct of survival, what horrors it can lead to, and what sometimes our minds trick us into believing what it wants to see fit. The choices in the game just make the story go on a track, not affecting the ending at all. That is until you find out everything a need to make the ultimate choice. I won’t go any further, but it is very interesting at the end.
Is that Nathan Drake? No, it’s just Nolan North and he is awesome as always. He plays Martin Walker, the main protagonist of Spec Ops: The Line and well, he is good. His character and the other characters are very well developed and act very real, almost too real. This game being a shooter makes for a lot of yelling and close calls. They just get lucky sometimes and then just argue profusely, but that is to be expected. Each character transforms during the course of the game, and they make it very prevalent by their battle scaring bodies. They become tattered and torn both inside and out. This game makes anyone glad they are where they are while playing it. Be thankful; that at this time you can at least read (watch) this review or play this game; someone has it way worse off. This game sets a standard for story-line in typical looking shooters. Let’s hope that this is another step toward the next generation of gaming.
(Memory Imprints) Never End
Will there ever be an end?Max Payne 3 and Spec Ops: The Line are games that may be the end of this very long generation of gaming. Sure Halo 4, Borderlands 2, Assassins Creed 3, Black Ops 2, and ect need to come out, but even they are showing promise of a next gen experience now, but it is prevalent more than ever that a truly recycled game is not going to fly soon. Yes, MW3 was not that great. We can’t have games like that anymore, times a changing, time to go big or go home.
How deep I descend?
Spec Ops: The Line takes everything we thought we knew about a typical any kind of game, and turned it around and messes with your head in many ways. Teaching you to think for yourself and help yourself survive this world until you can help others and do so help others. This game is worth a rent to experience and play for a really different story and style. If you’re a sucker for a good shoot-em-up and a really great story, get it. Or at least wait until it hits a 20 and 30 dollar mark. Playing this game just gives you chills because you know everything; like watching LOST after seeing the last season. 5 dusty eggs out of 6.
Careful not to breath in the sand!
The horror... the horror..