Spec Ops: The Line Review

‘The Line’ may borrow the title ‘Spec Ops’ but when looking at its predecessors, they bear no semblance of similarity, and that’s a good thing. ‘

The Line’ is a third-person shooter set in post-catastrophe Dubai. You play as Captain Walker, the man sent in along with an elite delta force team, to aid the ‘evacuation’. Obviously, things aren’t going to be that simple. As the game progresses, you and your squad are going to be placed under increasingly desperate circumstances. Choices such as having to decide which man hanging from a bridge to kill, may not have a direct impact on the end of the game, but it does go a long way in defining your character and his squad-mates. Lugo, a soldier who at the start of the game, is your typical fun-loving guy, becomes more and more serious as the story develops. Conflicts on the battlefield, lead to conflicts between squad-mates and the overall tone of the game is directly impacted by the severity of the circumstances your squad is placed under.

This is not your typical third-person shooter. If your a fan of Michael Bay-esque games like Call of Duty, this probably isn’t for you. In Spec Ops, the narrative takes precedence, and what you are presented with, is a wonderfully told story.

The gameplay itself, isn’t the most enjoyable. It uses tried and tested methods, that are possibly ten years out of date with a fairly clunky cover system, that can be infuriating at times. But there are aspects which extract some pleasure. The one gameplay feature that seperates Spec Ops from it’s counter-parts, is the use of the environment. Destructible environments are prevalent, with the sand itself playing a major role. If you see a group of enemies underneath a roof covered in sand, you can shoot at that roof, so that the sand engulfs your enemies. The sand itself, also adds unpredictability to the gameplay, as at any point, during the campaign, your mission may be halted by an inadvertent sandstorm. This completely changes the dynamic of the gameplay, as soldiers become silhouettes and your vision is distorted.

Along with that, your squad members WILL ACTUALLY KILL PEOPLE! Yes it is pretty unbelievable that this is a plus point in a next-gen title, but still to this day, I play far too many games where your squad members do essentially nothing on the battlefield. But in Spec Ops, you are able to order your squad members to take out certain targets, it may not be on the level of Operation Flashpoint, but it still provides a different perspective on the battlefield.

The AI itself, can be quite challenging, but gameplay feels stagnant and repetitive. The main ‘boss’ on every mission will be the same ‘heavy’ that takes about twice as many bullets to kill. You do get the odd variation, with enemies running at you, knife in hand, providing you with a different type of enemy to worry about, but essentially, every single Spec Ops mission consists of the same formula; Soldiers, tons of grenades, heavies and Turrets. That’s it. But as I referred to earlier, if your playing Spec Ops, it’s not going to be because of the gameplay.

As for the multiplayer, I think limited would be the best way to define it, with four fairly standard game modes, that whilst enjoyable, don’t really do much to enhance the game’s lasting appeal. If that wasn’t bad enough, people seem to have already deserted the servers, as it is virtually impossible to find a game with more than 4 people online at once… That’s a problem.

Overall, this a fantastic game. The gameplay? Average at best. The Multiplayer? Virtually, non-existent. But the story, the story is what sets this game apart. This is, as compelling a narrative as I have ever played in a video game, and with multiple endings, you can decide the way you want YOUR character to end the game. Spec Ops: The Line, is worth the wait.

Story 10/10

Gameplay 7/10

Presentation 9.5/10

Total Value 7/10

OVERALL : 8.5