More Reviews
REVIEWS Read Only Memories Review
The Kickstarter-funded text-based adventure game blows away most AAA titles with smart writing, engaging characters, and more style than you can fit on an NES cartridge.

Rock Band 4 Review
It's been awhile since we were able to say this, but it's time to rock on!
More Previews
PREVIEWS Total War: Warhammer Preview
Total War: Warhammer is exactly what you expect, so if you like Creative Assembly's games or Games Workshop's sprawling setting, there's a lot to be excited about.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
Release date: Out Now

Just Dance: Disney Party 2
Release date: 10/20/15

Just Dance 2016
Release date: 10/20/15

Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations
Release date: 11/01/15

Read More Member Blogs
Windows 10 Review for Dummies
By Ivory_Soul
Posted on 08/11/15
After all these years, and growing up with Windows 3.1, I have seen an entire evolution of computers and software. Touch screens and large resolutions were a pipe dream just 15 years ago. Now it's the norm. Going from a Packard Bell (yes, before HP) that couldn't run 3D Ultra Mini...

Spec Ops: The Line Review

danielrbischoff By:
GENRE Action 
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
  • 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