DM's Spec Ops: The Line Review!

One of the biggest problems most developers possess when trying to break into the industry is how to differentiate themselves from what has become the norm. How does one hope to compete with Triple A games such as Gears of War or Uncharted that have indisputably perfected and forever changed how third-person shooters are played. Instead of trying to re-invent the core mechanics, YAGER Development directs it's focus entirely on story-telling and the results are well deserving of recognition. But how does the game fair as a whole?

At first glance, Spec Ops: The Line appears to be just another generic military shooter boasting a slightly different setting and the more than familiar macho military men capable of taking out entire armies by their lonesome. While part of that remark rings true, thankfully the other doesn't. Spec Ops manages to differentiate itself from other shooters in the same genre by focusing on story progression and character development, constantly treading the line between morality or the lack thereof. It begins on a sane note, strictly adhering to a military code of locating survivors and safely evacuating whoever is left alive, but it quickly becomes a story about discovery and vengeance. You'll constantly find yourself intrigued in regards to what may have happened in the worn down ruins of the once great city of Dubai and the pacing of the story will keep you hooked in until the controversial finale.

Although the story does flow around a levelled amount of pacing, the fashion in which it follows this might become slightly repetitive. For one, the game is strictly a linear with very little to no exploration given. There might some extra corridors or open fighting grounds to explore after a battle in hopes of scrounging up some of the game's bone-chilling collectibles which boast voice narration from the game's main cast, but besides that, don't expect to truck through the sand engulfed skyline of Dubai. It's becomes clear very early on that the developers may have lost out on a valuable opportunity to showcase the strength of the engine they're working with and better utilize their resources for a more enriched world begging to be examined.

As stated before, Spec Ops does very little to differentiate itself from the pack in regards to it's base experience as a cover-based shooter. Sadly, it's here that the game truly does drop in quality. While you won't have too much trouble adhering to the controls, it's still the weakest part that the game provides and one that should arguably be it's strongest suit as a standard third-person shooter. Weapons rarely ever provide a powerful punch when in use and it's hard to tell whenever you land any meaningful shots. On the plus side, YAGER does introduce an interesting and cool feature that slows down time to indicate whenever you land a headshot. Besides that, the weapons are your standard fair that you always see in modern military shooters and nothing here will be engaging outside some missions in the game where you take control of a mounted gun on a helicopter or ride the side of a truck while wielding a grenade launcher.

Spec Ops does make up for it's losses with it's absolutely spectacular visuals and stellar voice acting. Nolan North himself voices the game's lead character; Captain Walker and he provides a fantastic outlook on a man bridging the line between right, wrong and who truly is in possession of sanity. The rest of the voice cast provides the same as friendships are tested and the morality of decisions is constantly questioned in the midst of a devastated warzone with no hope in sight.

One of the most and disappointing additions to the game is it's multiplayer. Not all games require a multiplayer component and it's a fact that becomes painfully evident here with Spec Ops: The Line. It's something that feels unbearably rushed, with little adjustments done to actually make things flow well in regards to the online stability and the same bland gameplay seen in the single-player makes it's way here. It's a mostly infuriating experience as you struggle more often than not to conquer the poor controls than actually defeating your enemies.

Delivering an interesting twist in story-telling with a different setting to boot, Spec Ops: The Line becomes something interesting and easier to recommend to those desiring a fun romp in single player rather than multiplayer. Despite the fact that the multiplayer was a wasted opportunity, the pacing of the story coupled with the brilliant voice work makes Spec Ops worth checking out.

Final Score: 7.0

14 Comments Refresh
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@Deranged Midget: Did you know SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content.
Posted by Deranged Midget

@Jonny_Anonymous: LOL what?

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@Deranged Midget: Yea there was an interview by the guy that wrote the game and he left easter eggs throughout it
Posted by Deranged Midget

@TheAcidSkull: Thanks for reading bro! And yeah, it truly is. Despite being delayed, it still couldn't differentiate itself completely and create an experience of it's own. The potential was there but sadly, it fell flat.

Posted by laflux

@TheAcidSkull said:

great review man ! it's sad that a lot of potential was wasted with this game :(

Yeah I thought it wasn't too bad myself

But great review all the same.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@laflux: Thanks for reading mate! :)

Posted by Deranged Midget

@TheAcidSkull: Oh of course it is! By no means is this a bad game in any right, simply that it falls short in some aspects.

Posted by Samimista

Lol! I'm surprised you consider this to be a short review. I think it's very well detailed. Also; I do recognize it now! I see it every now and then on Steam Sales. Yet again a wonderful review. =D

Posted by RazzaTazz

Good stuff

Posted by TheSheepHerder

Great read DM. Right on the money. Shame they couldn't just refine the gameplay. :(
Interested in what Walt Williams will write next for 2K considering he's also done work on BioShock and The Darkness II. :3

Posted by Deranged Midget

@Samimista: Haha, to me it's pretty short :P Thanks for reading Sami! :D

@RazzaTazz: Why thank you! :)

Posted by Deranged Midget

@TheSheepHerder: Thanks for reading mate! And yeah, it truly is a shame they couldn't do more with the gameplay mechanics. It hindered the overall enjoyment of the game :(

Well, I don't think he'll spending too much time outside of 2K and thus far, they've been pretty stellar games so we'll see!

Posted by Samimista

@Deranged Midget: LOL! I'm curious what is long to you then. xD

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

Actually, when it first came out I dismissed it as just as another CoD carbon copy, I didn't even pay attention to the controversy surrounding it, after all, CoD did the same thing when they had the player performing a terrorista attack in a airport forcing you to gun down innocents. Then I saw a Zero Punctuation episode featuring it and I was left curious, then I decide to look it up. Dude, the stuff that happens here blows CoD out of water.

Not referring to just, the White phosphorous incident, this game is apparently a desconstructive take not just to Call of Duty, but escapist fantasy in general, with an amazing and compelling narrative, forcing the player to revealuate if they should really feel like a hero. I haven't played this game yet... I haven't decided if I should or not... I tend to feel very invested in the storyline, and I would feel terrible playing this game, just because of the things that there.