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  1. #1
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    [PC] Spec Ops: The Line




    Honestly, this was not a game I wasn't going to pick up or even try. Just by luck I gave this game a try and I was pretty surprised by it. Spec Ops is a third person shooter that emphasizes a cover system and squad tactics. I had a blast playing through the game on PC, but you can pick it up on PS3 and Xbox 360.


    Story:

    Spec Ops starts out with a band of three Delta force members on a recon mission after a failed attempt of evacuation in Dubai by the 33rd battalion. The 33rd battalion is a group of American soldiers led by a John Konrad, whose unit was set to return home from Afghanistan when the sand storms kept them trapped in Dubai.

    The 33rd under Konrad had volunteered to lead relief efforts for the citizens of Dubai, but the U.S. government ordered them to leave. Instead, Konrad's unit goes rogue, taking over the city of Dubai to maintain order amidst giant sandstorms, little resources and local forces causing destruction. Dubai is then declared a no-man's land, cut off from the rest of the world. After months of chaos, Delta force is sent in to find survivors and the whereabouts of John Konrad.





    This small Delta team, led by Martin Walker, flies in by helicopter only to be attacked by other air units and eventually crash due to the intense sandstorms. Their mission changes quickly once inside Dubai after they learn the horrors of what has gone on for the past few months.

    Spec Ops actually tells an interesting narrative, one that at least make you think about what is going on within the story. The game attempts to display graphic images of war, but goes about it in a believable way that's not too preachy or cliché. The game directs you through the city of Dubai, where you will see many different places of interest. Each area is reached in a believable way, nothing feels like they just threw in some different environment to make the level design varied in appearance.





    Martin Walker, voiced by Nolan North (Nathan Drake, Uncharted series), is a believable Captain that starts off calm and collected but starts to lose it as he and his team experience more and more evil within the city of Dubai. The voice acting in general is very solid, something that doesn't take away from the experience, but definitely helps make the characters feel more real. Watching the conversations between Walker and his two teammates, Lugo and Adams, are a nice experience as you watch them being tested to their limit. As far as shooters go, Spec Ops is no slouch in story, nothing too light or too deep.


    Graphics:

    Powered by the unreal engine, it isn't the best looking game ever. The game looks ok, my only major gripes are some of the lighting can be a little over the top for a "realistic" setting. It definitely was an attempt to try and add more color to the palette of grays and browns. Special effects are pretty standard, nothing you haven't seen before. Some of the areas of the game can look really nice, and sometimes the lighting does make areas look beautiful.





    The HUD is basic, but it works well. Never did I feel that there was too much clutter on screen, or it was too hard to read or pick something up. Waypoints are clearly labeled and you won't have to look hard to know how much ammo or what gun is being used.


    Sound:

    Once again, an area that the game doesn't excel in, but something that doesn't take away from it. The guns sound fine, nothing spectacular. The one thing that really jumps out is when you enter a big room where you have to fight numerous enemies, there are times when big classic rock hits are blared through the speakers. I thought it was kind of cool and set a different vibe for the game. It almost sets a cheery vibe as you gun down the local opposition forces.


    Gameplay:

    If you have played Gears of War, you have played Spec Ops: The Line. Being that it is the unreal engine, the game looks and plays exactly like any Gears game. Personally, I don't see that as a negative because I enjoy all the Gears games. The way you shoot, take cover, throw grenades and perform executions, are just like in Gears of War.

    Where the game may feel like Gears, there are some differences. I played on the hardest available difficulty, so if I was out of cover, it wouldn't take many shots from an enemy to completely kill me. Likewise, a few well placed machine gun rounds make any enemy fall. You can also issue commands to your squadmates. For example, Lugo is the team sniper. If there's a far away turret gunner shooting at your position, he's the best bet to issue a kill command. Numerous enemies assaulting your position? Issue a flashbang command to stun them all.





    There is another gameplay component that shows up often, dust storms. Since these sands get all over the city, many times you can shoot windows out to have sand engulf entire areas or squads trying to gun you down. There are also times when you're outside during a sandstorm and you can barely see where the enemies are firing. I found the dust storms to add a bit of fun to the game, something that makes Spec Ops a little unique.

    As for guns, there's a good variety to go around and most offer some kind of alternative fire. The AK-47 can fire in three round bursts instead of fully automatic, some rifles have 4x scopes, and some guns can attach silencers. There's some variety that will change up the feel as you go and fight the enemy forces. The guns do feel pretty good, especially the M4 at range or up close. You can also collect intel that is found scattered throughout the levels that further explain background details of the story.





    There are even different enemy types that show up and emphasize different attack strategies to mix it up. This way you're not stuck fighting the same enemies for the entire game. However, there were a few parts in the game where they wanted to switch up the action and it just translated into an annoyance on the harder difficulty. Parts that didn't add to the experience but instead detract from it.

    As for controls, on PC I did not like using a keyboard and mouse. For a third person shooter, it was funky to sprint to cover or try and hurdle over the cover or try to quickly melee a close target. The game offers gamepad settings, so I hooked up my PS3 controller and emulated 360 settings. Then it felt right at home. This is a game I would recommend to be played with a controller, and I would imagine it works well on Xbox 360 and PS3.





    Multiplayer:

    Unfortunately, it just didn't really appeal to me. I played a few games of Team Deathmatch and didn't like it. The max number per team is low, emphasizing teamwork to win the match. You rank up similar to Call of Duty, there's different classes with different weapons and abilities to unlock. There is seven different maps to play with a few different game modes. The community felt pretty dead, doesn't seem like a lot are playing this one online. They added a free cooperative mode spanning four different levels for all the consoles. I didn't get to try it, but it looked interesting to do with a buddy.





    Unfortunately, the multiplayer doesn't seem to have the community other games have, thus it shouldn't be a selling point for those interested in the game. If you and a buddy both get it, the cooperative will at least provide some entertainment.


    Conclusion:

    I really enjoyed Spec Ops, but I definitely would not have picked it up if I didn't get it in a cheap bundle. It is a surprisingly fun game, but with a single player that won't take you too long and a multiplayer component that is lacking, there isn't too much content for the price. The story is actually pretty decent, it's not too over the top and it's the type of game that will warrant multiple playthroughs. I say pick it up if you can find it cheap.

    + Good story that will keep you entertained while not over the top

    + Solid gameplay with fun squad tactics

    + Good voice work furthering the narrative

    - Multiplayer is lacking, something that won't keep you playing

    - Parts of the game giving an unnecessary difficulty, detracts from the experience

    Score: 7.0/10
    Last edited by Sir_Scud; 01-01-2013 at 01:01.

  2. Likes Admartian , upmagic wishes they had posted this first.
  3. #2
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    [PC] Spec Ops: The Line

    Nice review sir! Well put together!
    Last edited by DeviousOne; 01-01-2013 at 02:34.

    ~~~OLD SKOOL~~~

  4. #3
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    Good review!. The first trailer they showed left a really good impression on me but when I saw how generic it looked during E3 I was disappointed by the whole military aspect(which is probably the reason why many skipped it). But after playing through the campaign, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to experience it!.

    The game is visceral and wrong in so many levels but the developers know the true nature of humanity under desperate times and they orchestrated it all in great detail. I was expecting another feel good game where you're that hero who saves the day but I can honestly say that this game caught me by surprise by the outcome and how you kept spiraling down into chaos.







  5. #4
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    I've heard the multiplayer is pretty lame, yeah. And it probably shouldn't exist for this game.

    I really want to try it though I've been meaning to get it for 360 for a while but waiting for the right price. Mates of mine have said that its good so this just solidifies that.

    Also, added to the index

    PS4/PS3/X360/WiiU/PC/3DS/PSV


  6. #5
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    Thanks guys. As for the multiplayer, I just felt it wasn't worth playing for long. I couldn't get into it and I just felt like it was tacked on.

    As for the single player, it starts off as something you've seen and I kind of dismissed it at first. But the story starts to pick up, and what I liked about it most was the fact that it wasn't the hero globetrotting across the world saving the day from the big bad terrorist guy and everyone happy in the end. It was a welcoming difference in that respect.

  7. #6
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    I concur. If these guys had a better game engine and promoted a single player only experience then it would of been more accepted. For shooters everywhere I highly recommend you try it.







  8. #7
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    This game is getting a lot of attention for its subject matter, but I recently beat it and it didn't exactly hit me as strongly as I hoped it would. Although the way it handled player choice was quite novel, the choices weren't terribly emotional or impacting on me. Maybe I'm super desensitized to violence, but after killing hundreds of grunts the story sort of lost a handle on its underlying message.

    Glad you didn't focus on that topic too much here, I feel a lot of reviewers drivel on about it far more than it deserves to be talked about. It's not the first game to examine these kinds of issues, and others have done it far better.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by upmagic View Post
    This game is getting a lot of attention for its subject matter, but I recently beat it and it didn't exactly hit me as strongly as I hoped it would. Although the way it handled player choice was quite novel, the choices weren't terribly emotional or impacting on me. Maybe I'm super desensitized to violence, but after killing hundreds of grunts the story sort of lost a handle on its underlying message.

    Glad you didn't focus on that topic too much here, I feel a lot of reviewers drivel on about it far more than it deserves to be talked about. It's not the first game to examine these kinds of issues, and others have done it far better.
    What games have actually examined PTSD?


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    PTSD may have been the premise of Spec Ops, but I was referring more to its commentary on violence as depicted through the interactive medium, which is what the game is ultimately about. As for specific, war related games about PTSD, I can't name any others. Metal Gear Solid games dabble in it, but I'm reaching there. I certainly give Spec Ops the salute for addressing a delicate issue, and all in all it's a solid enough game with an interesting twist, but the point of the experience sort of flew over my head.

    But as for games that analyze, criticize, and ask the player to reflect on morally ambiguous and sometimes heinous dilemmas, the list is quite long.

  11. #10
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    I guess one thing to note is the mindset you may have been in when going through the game. I literally knew nothing about the game before I played it. I would see the Spec Ops logo here and there and just thought it was another boring military shooter where you hear military jargon being spewed out by a few jar heads as you take out some big bad guy planning to kill a bunch of people.

    I had no idea the game would deal with issues of PTSD or the graphic nature of war. Since I had no expectations I was amused by a lot of it. I thought they handled it pretty well and seeing Walker and his crew start to dissolve and try to overcome the issues. I like games that try to create good internal struggles. I also didn't want to say too much, since the game is relatively new and don't want to spoil too much of the story. Going into this game with no idea probably made it more enjoyable for me.

  12. #11
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    That's a fair point, my expectations may have been too lofty. Though to some degree the game spoils itself, what with all the nods to Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now in the opening hour. The direction was fairly clear from the onset.

  13. #12
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    It's an interesting analysis of the game, but it seems that it might read into a bit too much some times.


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  14. Likes Sir_Scud wishes they had posted this first.

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