REVIEW: Spec Ops The Line
Spec Ops The line doesn’t push the envelope of moral ambiguity, it soaks it in gasoline sets it on fire and pisses on the ashes. No other game that I can think of gives you this much freedom to do what’s right or wrong with only your moral compass to guide you and the only real repercussions are those that weigh heavy on your conscious. The game even offers up a multitude of endings depending on where your conscious takes you. There is a line between doing what is right and what needs to be done, are you willing to cross that line?
Dubai rose up out of the sand to be a playground to the world’s wealthiest of people but Mother Nature has decided to bury it once more under that same sand. After a brutal series of storms hits and all but completely buries the city, only the tops of some the world’s grandest structures remain to be seen. U.S. Army Colonel John Conrad and his squad were sent in to evacuate the city. After months of silence they were assumed dead until a weak distress call is received claiming the evacuations to be a failure. Captain Martin Walker and his small crew are sent in to locate the signal and look for survivors. They find that the city is very much still alive and people are doing what they feel they must to “survive”. The story in Spec Ops The Line is nothing short of a roller coaster, offering up some of the most unique characters and situations I have come across in a game. You will constantly find yourself wondering who the bad guy is when it all becomes evident; there are no clearly drawn lines when it comes to good or bad here in Dubai. No, instead it comes down to what you are comfortable with and what you aren’t!
The gameplay is rather solid here. Offering up a nice third person shooter experience complete with a well rounded cover system, players should feel right at home with the controls. Aiming is solid and the large varieties of guns all feel well connected. In addition to doing all of the work yourself you can also give your squad mates orders as well. From stunning a group of enemies with a flash bang to taking out individual enemies so you can focus your efforts on someone else, using good tactics will prove to be very useful. The city also offers up some unique elements that only a city buried in sand can bring. Being able to destroy a large window behind a group of enemies and bury them in sand can make quick work of foes.
Despite the solid gameplay the real star of Spec Ops The Line is the city itself along with the characters you meet inside. The graphics are more than adequate showing Dubai and its sand covered cityscape makes for some amazing eye candy at times. As you look out over the vista from atop, some of the taller buildings in the game make for a very unique sight. The subtle nuances in the city itself are great and create a unique atmosphere that is different from most other games. The isolation you feel is evident at all times as the city is always on the brink of being completely wiped off of the map by sandstorms. The atmosphere and story both keep the thought that there is nothing else around for miles ever present in the back of your mind. The graffiti on the walls is truly amazing and gives a rather bold contrast at times to the internal conflict as you try to figure out if what you’re doing is truly right or wrong. Characters like the “radioman” and even Walker himself will make for some memorable characters. Like an even more sick and twisted version of Glados from the Portal series, Radioman will constantly assault you both directly and indirectly. The good news is he plays some amazing music for you along the way creating a great soundtrack.
It’s clear that when all is said and done Spec Ops The line is not a “feel good” game. Like many of the greatest war movies before it, Spec Ops The Line tells a gritty story that blurs the lines of conventional good and evil. Players will not remember this game for its gameplay but rather its story and the amazing characters that fill it. There will be numerous occasions where you will feel a strong disdain for the characters within the game.
THE SUMMARY: The nonstop action, solid controls, and amazing music make the gameplay in Spec Ops The Line more than adequate enough to have a place of its own in the market of third person shooters. However, it’s the story and characters here that will envelop you like most other games cannot. With multiple endings based on your actions there is a fair amount of replay value, but most will want to play it a few times solely for the story, I know I will!