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Spec Ops: The Line reviews

Restricted 18. Graphic violence and offensive language

PC Games Developer : Yager Development


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2 out of 2 people found this review helpful:
Review by Chris on 9th August, 2012
4 stars "Fantastic story and writing elements, poor gameplay."

Spec Ops: The Line first appears to be another all too typical 3rd person triple A shooter, with little emphasis on narrative or characters and far too much work on making explosions look pretty. And indeed, that's exactly how this game is advertised. What I was unprepared for, however, were the mental challenges you have to overcome in this game.
Taking cues from the well-known book ‘Heart of Darkness’, Spec Ops is a gripping, terrifying descent into the heart of a hellish Dubai and into the minds of the soldiers themselves, forcing you to make painstaking moral decisions and forcing you to deal with the consequences. Be warned, this game is psychologically disturbing; more than once I have physically walked away from my computer based on the outcomes of a decision I had made.
I was thoroughly impressed with Spec Op's mature writing, especially concerning the psychological effects of war and the character arcs within, even when it was causing me to get up and walk away. Perhaps not as open-ended as I would have liked, the narrative culminates in a spectacular fashion and actually made me want to drag myself back through the story to see what I could change.
Dubai makes for a pleasant change of scenery, favouring sand-filled buildings instead of bomb-shelled ruins, and using the environment to your advantage is a welcome feature. Visually, it's quite stunning and is bound to put your gaming rig through the ringer, if you can forgive some facial mo-cap discrepancies.
Where this game disappoints, however, is the gameplay. 3rd-person-low-wall-cover-based-shooter is a bland and overdone style at best, and shoddy gun/movement systems leave you wanting more out of the execution. The sheer lack of ammo keeps the shooting aspect lively at the least, but the ‘tactical shooter’ element, the AI, is unresponsive and just short of useless.
Gameplay forgiven, Spec Ops: The Line is a fantastic, gritty and virtually-unexplored psychological take on the horrors of modern warfare in the gaming industry, and should be congratulated on its narrative and writing. Definitely not for young eyes and minds.