In a field overly saturated how does one shooter stand out against another? In Spec Ops The Line the addictive story is what makes it stand out above the rest. Too long have I been bombarded with over the top cool ads for the latest Call of Duty Zombie Warfare 10 with extra death on the side, itís all too much. I donít pretend that CoD 4 didnít in some way however small or large revolutionise or more rather galvanise the market, Iíd be a fool to deny that since CoD 4 I have noticed a large increase in the amount of shooterís, which isnít necessarily good for Gaming in general. If we want to be taken as serious people with a love of a hobby we shouldnít turn to behemoths such as CoD where human beings are ripped up with machine gun fire and dismembered with motor fire. Such games are the Fast Food equivalent of the Games industry, sure it may be nice but itís not good for you and it lacks sufficient sustenance.
However as I said Spec Ops The Line manages to keep above the tidal wave of, when you actually think about it, poorly written games or just straight up plain violence for violence sake. For me Spec Ops The Line asked one major question and its one that has been rattling around my brain when it comes to shooterís: How do you live with the actions you take?
Itís interesting, think about most of the games that are sold en mass to the general market, not the people who have a love and passion for games who dig deep to find that one indie game that speaks volumes to them. No, I mean the incredibly popular mainstream titles where, if you dare to go online, you get abused by Broís or a 12 year old with a surprisingly colourful vocabulary. So with those games in mind, Iíve often thought these are characters that are, I imagine in some cases, loved. These are men that shoot and kill vast amounts of people and overcome incredible odds and they just shrug it off. These are meant to be people with real feelings and emotions, not blank, impersonal drones with a gun in hand.
Spec Ops The Line follows 3 men as they are sent into Dubai to find an old friend of the protagonist who was originally sent in to evacuate survivors of a terrible storm that ravaged Dubaiís beautiful landscape and skyline. You play Captain Walker a man with a mysterious past in Kabul where he met your target Konrad, a celebrated War Hero. Through some initially confusing story you begin to discover what happened here in Dubai, all is not well as 2 factionsí war it out against each other (and you) and through it all a crazed DJ plays tracks like its Vietnam 2.
Even in a linear game such as SOTL it offers choices to the player, choices that at the end are reflected upon and for good reason, because of the question it askes. How do these men whose jobs are to kill upon command survive what they encounter, or even do they? The player gets a feel for how maybe the command youíre given isnít the command that you should carry out, this becomes especially clear as you progress through the game and through the actions you make. It is because of the actions you make and how youíre 2 man squad reacts that give the player a true immersion, on a personal note I had to pause the game at several crucial moments to decide what I should do, is there a right and wrong here? Does the easy way ever meet with the right way of doing things?
If like me you get swooped up in the story you may find the loading screens become more eerie. Itís one of the many minor things that I love about this game and that is the game itself askes questions of you and prompts you with things like ďCan you even remember why you came here?Ē ďYou are still a good personĒ ďDo you feel like a hero yet?Ē and also ďThis is all your faultĒ. People have incorrectly called this taunting, but I feel itís supposed to make you think about not necessarily the genre of games that people just seem to buy into but also the real life actions of people who do this and as a result end up with PTSD.
Now Iíve love to say more, itís been a while since Iíve played a game and truly couldnít get enough of it, and with a story that has many layers and possible choices to take, itís definitely worthy of more than one play through, but I feel if I write much more Iíd give away some major points.
A little tip though, if you want the most from the game, unlock the FUBAR setting (never has this acronym felt so appropriate) and play through it, sure itís harder but as I just said, the loading screens can get eerie and give you some sort of insight. Now Iím off to play some more. Cheers for reading.