Spec Ops: The Line Review

I’ll be honest, the only attention I ever gave this game pre-release was to watch some developer video interviews. It sounded interesting based on those. I downloaded the demo on Steam a while back and played it, it seemed pretty cool.

So I’ve just finished the game, the campaign more specifically, on regular difficulty. To be honest I torrented this game, as I do not drop money on games unless I know they are worth it – except for games that are 2 dollars or whatever like Perfect Dark Zero because – it’s two dollars, bfd. So as I could not play multiplayer, I have no interest in it and I hear it’s just generic like most 3ps.Overall I think it’s one of the better third person shooters available on the market. I stay away from them because third person shooters are pretty much complete garbage, and I can’t even remember a single one that has proven me wrong (including Gears).

The graphics on PC are great, though it’s not as if they are so fantastic that it distracts you from anything else. I never experienced any issues whatsoever with performance on ultra high graphics, though I will definitely say the graphical options you are given are very cookie cutter and very obvious signs that this multiplat was developed for console first and PC last. I did not notice any bad shadows or anything like that, though I did notice the sweat on Adams’s head has a little bit too strong of a specular channel and it just looks white, rather than like sweat. Regardless of what angle the sun hits your body,  your sweat will never look like someone came on you,

As far as the gameplay goes, it is fairly realistic on normal difficulty. I say fairly because enemy heads will frequently explode when sniped – when shot with a simple Steyr Scout, which is a .308 – not a round so big that it would blow your head up. There are increasingly frequent exceptions to this, as the game goes on. For example, you will fight “heavys” who are basically jugerrnauts from CoDMW and they will take absurd amounts of punishment before dying. That isn’t realistic at all. No existing armor in the world can stop large caliber rounds, over and over. Even if it did, you’re going to be out for a while. Here’s an extreme example: I literally hit a heavy in the upper chest with an RPG-7. He shrugged it off and kept going. That’s just bad programming. There are obviously other exceptions to it being realistic, such as hitting a soldier five or so times before they die. It’s nothing surprising though, nearly every shooter sheds realism in favor of difficulty.

I am kind of disappointed in the array of available weapons. You’ve got the Beretta M9, the Desert Eagle, about two seconds worth of using some sort of Colt magnum, the UMP45, Colt M4A1, the HK416 which is called the 417 in this game – and for some reason confined to single fire only, a mini-Uzi, RPG-7, Grenade Launcher, Steyr Scout Tactical, the AA12 auto-shotgun, Benelli M4 (XM1014 is the same thing), some sort of pump shot, the SCAR, the SAW, P90, and the Barrett. And like every game, the Barrett is misrepresented . That may sound like a lot of gun variety but it really isn’t, especially because of the ridiculous amount of people you have to kill. You will run out of ammo quick as there isn’t a lot of ammo laying around – you’ll pretty much be forced to scavenge weapons from dead guys and more often than not, it ends up being something shitty. Which is why I nearly raged and quit the game in the last two chapters – the P90 and SCAR just don’t cut it, at all, and you are increasingly forced into harder situations, culminating in a hellhole with at least 4 .50 machine gun emplacements that are pretty much impossible to take out, even with an RPG or grenade launcher – because the sheer number of enemies that will just replace anyone you kill.

The music is great, in my opinion. A lot of it sounds like Tool, specifically 10,000 days – there’s a section in the game where you’ll think you’re listening to Lost Keys. It doesn’t interrupt the action too much (other than the actual songs which come out of nowhere over the radio station) – even those only underscore the action in a few sparse places.

Story is the major component of this game, and is the sole reason you should ever try playing it. The story is very good for a third person shooter – obviously not something you ever expect, as no shooter has a well-written or even worthwhile story. It’s written in a Damon Lindelof/Quintin Tarintino style, because they invented story-telling. You know, where you start near the end and then go back. I don’t really understand the story myself, not completely, but I’m told via YouTube by BrokenGamezHD that you’ll understand it more the second time. Like if you watch The Sixth Sense again and pay attention.

There are some annoyances, the same kind that occur in every third person shooter – so while I can’t blame it too much from suffering from it’s nature, I can blame it for not trying to overcome it. Cover doesn’t always work, melee doesn’t always work, and vaulting over cover doesn’t always work. There’s also a max range for your grenade throws that is not at all affected by angle – which pisses me off, Uncharted pretty much does the same thing. Sometimes you’ll try to take cover and end up running, if you don’t do it right. Sometimes you’ll try to vault and instead punch the air. Occasionally you’ll hit a dude in the face over 100 times with a machine gun (heavies) before they die. Really that’s only the last heavy in the game where that happens though.

The more you think about it, the more similarities you will notice between the mechanics not working in this game and Raccoon City. Raccoon City, though, is still infinitely more broken than this game is, and so it would be unfair to make that comparison without a disclaimer. This seems as good a place as any to discuss the “Accolades”. As you kill people and do things, you work towards accolades. Except these accolades do nothing for you. You’ll be like “Sweet I’m a rifle marksman what do I get? Jack shit, eh? I was hoping for maybe a permanent recoil reduction or something but I guess not.” They have no purpose at all, they are just superficial boring pseudo-achievements that so many modern games have, really telling you how many people you’ve shot rather than meaning anything.

I feel that could have been done better – as much as it pains me to say, kind of like the way MW3 does it. Shudder.

Overall I think the game is one of the better 3ps on the market, but I would not suggest anyone spend $60 on it, ever. I wouldn’t suggest you spend $60 on any game, including Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, because those prices are ridiculous. The only game I would ever suggest you spend 60 dollars on is if you manage to find an original copy of Chrono Trigger somehow – which was over $60 when it came out in 1995 and stayed that way for a long time. And I would only have you do that as a collectors item, never to be opened. You can buy the PSX or DS version if you want to play it, or do the intelligent thing and use a ROM.

Steal it or wait until its like 10 – 20 dollars before you own this game. My score would make it seem otherwise but the game simply doesn’t have that much replay value, and replay value is what you have to consider when you drop that much money on a piece of plastic. Otherwise you paid all that money for a long movie. You may as well buy a shitty game with no replay value [like FF13] if you’re going to waste money because at that point, what difference does it make.

My Score: 8 out of 10


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