Publisher: 2K Games
Rating Guide: How I Review Games
Spec Ops: The Line does what most third person adventures fail to do and that’s give you solid gameplay with a compelling story. Should I say more or would you be okay if I left the review at just that? Okay, let me continue.
When you first start your journey through Spec Ops: The Line you’ll notice that it’s about to be serious. With the upside down flag and the wasteland look of Dubai, you don’t get the sense that you’re in for a vacation. And you weren’t. You take on the role of Captain Martin Walker who finds himself on a mission of discovery alongside his Delta Force buddies, Lugo and Adams.
Those of you accustomed to the pop and shoot mechanics of recent shooters should feel right at home with the controls. You slide into cover, vault over objects and even blind shoot from cover. The difference with Spec Ops: The Line and all other third person shooters is that The Line actually gets it right. The controls were fluid, the vaulting was natural and the gunplay was intense. You had a few squad commands at your disposal as well. You could instruct your team to “stun” a group if pinned down or you could give attack orders to specific targets.
The one thing I both enjoyed and was frustrated by was the ammo. Be careful with the weapons and make your shots count is all I’m going to say. You very easily end up with no ammo at times and no enemy weapon to run over and pick up.
Now, back to the meat of the game. You’re following Walker and Delta Force as they try to figure out why the 33rd Battalion has gone rogue in Dubai. What the hell happened to Walker’s friend, Colonel John Konrad, and his crew? One of the most gripping things about Spec Ops is that you’ll find yourself fighting and killing your own. I’ve never played a game that put you against your fellow American soldiers. It was an intense moment when I first ran into a squad and I heard Walker scream out “they’re some of ours”. You really feel that it’s not your typical firefight and you sense the hesitation by the crew to even engage their brethren.
However, you’re there to save lives and find out what’s going on in Dubai. You’ll have to make some tough decisions and that’s the strength of Spec Ops. It’s one of the few shooters that make the story relevant.
A very cool thing about Spec Ops: The Line was that the environment mimics a torn wasteland quite well. Trying to fight through the first sandstorm was awesome. You’re blinded by the huge sandstorm yet you still have to fight. It was a pretty cool experience. Shooting windows above a small team of enemies and watching a wave of sand pile over them was priceless. The environment and scale was very well done.
And a good thing about having to engage in so many different elements is that your team is actually competent. Lugo and Adams hold their own quite well in firefights so you’re not constantly having to run and kill everyone yourself. Their humor and dialogue is also something to enjoy.
Xbox Live Extras
For all of you multiplayer fanatics out there, you’ll be able to play Spec Ops: The Line in some online action. If you’re expecting the fast paced “run, run, shoot, run, shoot” of most games, then look elsewhere. Games are much slower in The Line. In fact, if you attempt to run and gun you’ll likely be killed very quickly by someone who has managed to carefully position himself to watch you running like an idiot. You can’t run and shoot at the same time ya know.
Although you can find some decent fun, the multiplayer isn’t as engaging as the single player experience. I loved the sandstorms that occur sometimes but that doesn’t save it from being a mediocre time online. There’s a really cool Buried mode which pits two teams of four against each other. Your goal is to sabotage the other’s HQ while defending your own. It’s a good mode albeit it’s still inside the basic shortcomings of the multiplayer.
One bit of advice though, which I’m sure is a no-brainer, is to choose your classes and weapons wisely. Each class has its own type of match attributes so be mindful of which you choose.
Spec Ops: The Line is an experience worth having. It’s the first game that manages to make it about you and how you’re dealing with the struggle of your decisions. The story is just very well done and one that managed to tug on some personal strings of mine.