Review: Spec Ops: The Line


Moral choices in games are not a new thing. We’ve all played games that give us choices that affect the outcome of a game either for the good or the bad. Spec Ops: The Line takes those black and white morality conundrums and smears the line with a new shade of grey where there is no right and wrong, just bad and worse.

You play as Martin Walker, a captain in the Delta Force Squad. You and two strike team officers, Adams and Lugo, drop down into Dubai to search for a missing colonel. But this Dubai is not the sprawling Arabian city that we all know. This Dubai has been decimated by a massive sandstorm that has left the city in shambles and the number of survivors unclear.

As you and your men delve into the city you quickly realize that not everything is as it appears to be. The man you are looking for, Colonel Konrad, who vanished trying to evacuate the city, may be the man that has taken over the city with the remains of his unit, the 33rd. Here is where some of your moral dilemma begins when the 33rd begins attacking you and you and your men are forced to kill American soldiers to stay alive. And believe me when I say that this is an easy decision to make when compared to the actions you are forced to take later on.

That is where this game really sets itself apart. Even with all my playthroughs of the Mass Effect trilogy or Knights of the Old Republic I knew pretty much which direction I was heading in with my decisions. With Spec Ops I was truly sitting there thinking about not just how my decisions affected Walker or his team but also the refugees left in the city. It’s a lot of weight on one’s shoulders….and it’s just a game.

A game this heavy would not be near as good if the writing was not up to snuff and I have no problem in saying that head writer Walt Williams has crafted and solid script that resonates even now that the game is done. I can only imagine how hard it must be to write for a game and try to get players to truly connect with your character hoping that nothing gets lost from the page to the screen.

While the gameplay won’t win any awards for innovation, it is a serviceable cover based shooter. Cover doesn’t feel as tight as Gear of War but it gets the job done. There are instances of taking cover on the wrong side of a corner leaving yourself open for a backside full of enemy ammo or not being able to vault over things when you absolutely need to in the middle of a firefight but none of these things make the game unplayable. It is good, not great. The shooting mechanics feel right and the selection of weapons is a good size without being too much to grasp.

Of course, with almost all games now, there is multiplayer but it is not anything to write home about. You have your basic class and faction selection and weapon loadout. I wish there was more to say about it honestly. It is a bit bug filled and has a few problems. This is a single player game at its heart and I can’t help but feel that multiplayer has been tacked on.

I did have a lot of fun with Spec Ops: The Line. It is a game that kind of snuck up  and surprised me in a good way especially with its balls to tell a story that is more about what can go wrong with our decisions, not what goes right.




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