The Good: Shocking choices to be made, fun sand elements when they are there, lots of real world weapons, some epic set pieces, interesting characters
The Bad: Sand elements are rarely used, monotonous shooting, boring environments, story doesn't really ever make sense, boring and average multiplayer
I have to admit that I expected this game to be an absolute abomination like most of the past games in the series. I'm surprised that the game looks good, feels good, and has some shocking moments with an actual interesting story. This is something you wouldn't expect from a military shooter set in Dubai, but it's here to prove you wrong. The game has you following a team of three through Dubai trying to track down a man named Konrad who has led the 33rd battalion to go rogue. The story doesn't really ever make a lot of sense, but the shocking moments throughout are entertaining and memorable.
The game has a lot of real world weapons to shoot and they feel good, but not as good as other shooters you have grown to love. Some weapons have some sort of alternate mode like burst fire, laser sight, grenade launcher, or a scope, but other than that the weapons are standard affair. The game tries to use environment as a weapon, but doesn't really pull through. You can shoot glass out glass that has a bunch of trapped sand behind it to bury enemies, but there's only a few spots in the whole to do this. There are some epic set pieces throughout the game like hanging onto a gas truck while firing a grenade launcher, using a mini-gun in a helicopter, and a few moral choice points in the game.
These moral choices are pretty disturbing like seeing two men hanging from a freeway sign. You have to choose one or the other to survive. Another section has you firing white phosphorous down on soldiers, but you end up killing tons of civilians in the process. The cut scenes that lead up to, and after these moments are pretty shocking and gruesome. This is something I would not expect from a military shooter, and I hope others follow suit. In between these moments is just monotonous shooting and boring brown deserts to look at which really bring the great moments down. The characters are at least interesting as their mental state deteriorates as the game progresses and you start to feel for them which is also rare in military shooters full of cookie cutter one-man-armies.
I constantly wanted more of those shocking moments, but they were far and few between. It was just bad guy after bad guy and they all look the same after a while. You can wander around and pick up intelligence items, but how many of us are tired of doing this in shooters? The cover system at least works pretty well and is similar to Gears of War, but not as fluid. Then there's the multiplayer that is standard affair and won't keep you coming back for very long.
Overall, Spec Ops has some shocking story moments that give you choice and question your moral standards. In between these moments are monotonous shooting segments through boring and brown environments. Even the sand elements are not put to good use and are almost forgotten half-way through the game. This is a fun weekend rental, but don't expect any miracles.
(Based on PC version)