Published on June 28th, 2012 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Spec Ops: The Line Review
Developer: Yager Development
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed]
Release Date: June 26, 2012
It seems that now a days every company is wanting to try their hands at a modern day military shooter. Whether it is a first person or third person point of view another military shooter has been released. 2K Games has finally put much delayed project from Yager in Spec Ops: The Line.
You are Captain Martin Walker and you lead a three-man squad sent into the city of Dubai after a horrific dust storm buried it under tons of sand. American forces were sent into Dubai to help with evacuation attempts, but they were unsuccessful. A mysterious radio signal from the troop’s captain has been picked up and was coming from the ruins of Dubai, and now you lead the Delta Team into the ruins to locate any survivors and evac them to safety.
Spec Ops: The Line does a few things right that many modern day shooters fall flat on. Each encounter that you engage in, seems meaningful to the story line and actually makes you feel for the characters as your progress. Many shooters give you a protagonist that you play as through the story line and tend to forget about later. In Spec Ops, you are given a three man team, which you command, and feel connected with. From not just the main character but your partners as well.
Unlike some other modern day shooters you will have to make some tough decisions that do not necessarily affect the outcome of the rescue mission, but will in turn effect how your character acts and in-game actions. There is no “Yes/No” scenario; all decisions are made by the actions you perform throughout. The city of Dubai is in ruins and there are a lot of refugee groups all fighting to survive, and while going through the game’s gorgeous settings you feel like people fighting for survival as well, instead of it being a standard military rescue mission.
With the complicated mission structure, Spec Ops doesn’t feel like your typical run and gun or stop and pop shooter. There is a strong strategy concept in play that makes every decision made, even in combat, vital. Ammo is at a minimum and you will have to switch between weapons a lot. Sure there are ammo crates around the wasteland, but unless you use your ammo wisely you will run out frequently. Plan your shots and make sure to cover your teammates because they can go down and will need reviving.
The environments in Spec Ops are gorgeous. Yager Development made solid use of the Unreal Tech, successfully turning the city of Dubai into a character with a troubling story all in itself. It has that post-apocalyptic appearance, but manages to feel completely reasonable. The environment will break around you as the gun fights intensify.
The AI in Spec Ops is something to brag about when it comes to your teammates: they know when to take cover, shoot, and flashbang a room, giving you a clear shot at your targets. However, the enemy AI is not as smart. There were a few instances that the enemy was firing in the opposite direction than the one that I was attacking them from. I even saw an enemy take cover on a wall and aim at another enemy AI.
Some of Spec Ops‘ gameplay mechanics are a bit of a disappointment. The team made an adjustment to the run button so when you trigger the “run” action it toggles and your character will still run until you let off of the thumbstick. Leaping over objects is also a pain especially when you are in cover. The “vault over” button is mapped to the melee button, so when you try to leap over an obstacle your character will melee the wall.
Spec Ops‘ multiplayer was very disappointing. It feels to me that it have been an easy process to support up to three-player co-op in the campaign but instead we are left wondering, “what if?” The competitive multiplayer seems to take what the single player game got right and do the complete opposite, this may be attributed to the fact that the multiplayer mode was developed by an outside company (Darkside Game Studios). The competitive modes put players in a deathmatch in large maps that features a lot of obstructions. You earn rewards based on how you level up, but the rewards are simply guns, protective gear, and perks that will help out your stats per match.
The games other multiplayer mode, Buried, features something like a two-team tug of war match. Each two-man team has to infiltrate an enemy HQ, while at the same time defending their own base. This game mode requires a lot of team participation and planning.
Spec Ops: The Line brought me to a place I have not been in military shooters to date. I grew attached to the games characters, and with an intriguing decision making system that alters your character directives makes Spec Ops a game that you will want to play through a second time to see the differences. This is a game that is about the characters that you play as and the morality of war.
The decisions you make leave an impact not just in the game but on your own personal feelings. This alone is reason enough to give Spec Ops the time it deserves, however, with the exception of Buried, the multiplayer experience is a complete waste of time. Spec Ops offers something different than many other shooters and will give you moments to talk about with your friends, but only when you both have finished and got to the very awesome ending.
+ Great story mode
+ Great setting
+ Stunning Visuals
+ Morality choices
– some game play mechanics