More Reviews
REVIEWS Astro A38 Wireless Headset Review
With the launch of the A38s, Astro has clearly shown that they can rock our eardrums off even if we aren’t sitting in our living rooms.

Destiny Review
With Bungie's leap to next-generation platforms and interstellar space closer to home, I wonder if E.T. is out there somewhere.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Skylanders Trap Team Preview
While younger gamers have flocked to the brand, more mature consumers remain reluctant to jump on board. Skylanders move forward with trappable enemies, though I doubt it’ll turn stubborn heads.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14

Alien: Isolation
Release date: 10/07/14

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Release date: 10/14/14

The Evil Within
Release date: 10/14/14


LATEST FEATURES Assassin's Creed Unity Interview: Ubisoft Talks Multplayer, Next-Gen Development, More
Ubisoft's first "truly" next-gen entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise takes the fight to France. Here's what you can expect.

PlayStation Download September 2014 - Updating Each Week
Sony's platforms always get plenty of new digital software and we'll bring you the list each week with the rest.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
A Letter to the Big “N"
By shandog137
Posted on 09/12/14
I have and will continue to have a place in my heart for Nintendo. In fact, my first console was a Super Nintendo. The video game market has changed drastically since the early '90s and it seems like what once was platinum is more so along the lines of silver now. Nintendo has always been...

Spec Ops: The Line Review

danielrbischoff By:
danielrbischoff
06/29/12
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 8 
PUBLISHER 2K Games 
DEVELOPER YAGER 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

Heart of Darkness meets Call of Duty.


In high school, I read Joseph Conrad's long trek up the river and hated every second of it. I thought to myself "Why do they make us read this? What's the point?"

It's odd that I echoed those same sentiments in the first two-thirds of Spec Ops: The Line, a game by Jager and published by 2K that draws heavily from Conrad's novel and the film it inspired, Apocalypse Now. Why did I have to play this game? Why does it keep going on and on? What's the point?


The Line deals with the realities (and un-realities) of war and conflict heavy-handedly, appropriately, seeking to impart some knowledge on the gamer that you are not a hero. No, you are a violent, murderous individual with a penchant for death and destruction. Somewhere in there, you're a soldier.

Too often, military first-person shooters glorify the actions that only seem "good" because of their label. The loading screens in Spec Ops make direct reference to this. Late in the game, after you've lost all sense of your humanity and seen the atrocities of war first-hand, the game asks you point-blank: "Do you feel like a hero?"

Another loading screen asked me something to the effect of "The US Military does not condone the killing of unarmed combatants, but this isn't real so does it even matter?" I may have never noticed these subtle prods if it weren't for the impossible difficulty spikes towards the end of the game.


One section required myself and another squadmate to fight off three separate waves of difficult enemies on a sand dune. In addition to five high-level opponents, an armored car dropped a knife-wielding psychopath and a heavily armored AA-12-toting bullet sponge. Needless to say, I got a little frustrated at a challenge I wasn't really prepared for.

The best games give you a set of tools and slowly teach you how to use them. The Line gives you cover mechanics, a selection of firearms, and a pair of commandable squadmates. In the beginning, you'll need none of these. It felt as if my bare hands would suffice.

By the end I was banging my head against a wall in frustration. At first I refused to lower the difficulty despite the fact that the game offered. I walked away, but when I came back the next day and ran into the same wall, I dropped it down a notch and waltzed through to the end.


Difficulty spikes aren't the only problem. In eight hours of gameplay, six of it is spent almost entirely in sand. The oppresive nature of the desert probably affected me as much as the fog did Charles Marlow. There were times I'd enter a building and sigh in relief at the blues and greens and nuanced lighting, only to be directed to shoot out the roof so a bucket of sand could be dumped on the enemies within.

Despite this, The Line is certainly competent enough, and set pieces make for entertaining fodder between narrative sequences that inspired a critical eye, of which my junior year english class required of me.

On more than one occasion, Jager presents the player with "choices" but leaves only one option available. In one such sequence, players have to use White Phosphorous to wipe out an army of soldiers in their way. This also results in the killing of hundreds of civilians.


Not only is the player character's mind being ripped apart, but the squadmates argue and fight under the duress too. "He made us into killers," one screams. In another section, the other squadmate shoots an unarmed opponent and argues against protests with "What did you think was going to happen? He sent every armed man in Dubai at us!"

I wasn't prepared for what Spec Ops: The Line was selling, and hated every second of the experience at first. Slowly, I started to "get" the narrative. I started to understand why I was playing the game at all.

US Soldiers don't shit and fight and DIE in the desert to be heroes. They do it because their country and commanding officers ask it of them. And when they come home? What happens then? They're forced to swallow the disillusions and insults Call of Duty lobs at them. They're belittled in nearly all forms of media that make light of their dark struggle. [And they don't get the healthcare they need... ~Ed. Nick]

The gamer in me hated much of Spec Ops: The Line. The critic in me loves it. Like anyone else of two minds, I'm forced to decide which side of the line I stand on.
Spec Ops: The Line
fullfullfullfullempty
  • Conrad inspiring Konrad
  • Strong narrative
  • Multiple endings
  • Choice? In war?
  • Difficulty spikes
  • Monotonous environments
  • Late-game visuals and set pieces
  • Little bits of absurdity
  • Competent mechanics and multiplayer
Reviews by other members

Tags:   2K Games, Spec Ops

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Spec Ops: The Line


More On GameRevolution