Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Friday, 29 June 2012 06:00
Spec Ops: The Line first caught gamers attention with a few trailers and a lengthy demo. The question is how does this 3rd person action game stand up to games like it? How well does Dubai work as a setting? Is there enough to keep gamers interested?
Spec Ops: The Line is a good game. Although it felt a little short, I got through everything in around 6 hours, I had fun doing it and Dubai looks great. As part of a stranded American battalion gamers play as Walker, who is one of three Delta Force soldiers who are trying to seek a Colonel Konrad who took his battalion to Dubai against orders to try to save the people there. Gamespot compared this journey to Heart of Darkness in the way Walker is seeking a powerful character - Konrad - who may have gone off the deep end.
A sandstorm has torn through Dubai and wrecked much of the city. Citizens are hiding out in makeshift shelters. Buildings and cars are buried and gutted by the sand. What was once beautiful is pockmarked with destruction and graffiti. This helps create a feeling of desolation. The sandstorm and setting also contribute interesting visual effects, combat elements, and adds to the story.
The action is mostly consisting of duck, cover, and advance. The weapons are military issue pistols, rifles, heavy weapons and grenades. Players can carry two at a time. Gamers can issue commands to the squad, consisting of Adams and Lugo, to stun enemies with flash bangs and to focus fire. This comes in handy in some situations. The enemy AI mostly ducks behind cover and returns fire and provides little challenge.
Throughout the game the most important aspect is the sand and morality. Grenades and bullets can kick up sand clouds to blind you and enemies. On several occasions gamers will have to fight through sandstorms. Sometimes enemies can be taken out by burying them in sand by breaking barriers. Morality comes up a lot. Gamers will be forced to make drastic and mind numbing choices in the game. In an attempt not to spoil the game too much gamers may have to pick between themselves, civilians or other soldiers.
Do you save the friendly operative or the innocent civilians who stole water to survive? No matter what choice you make, squadmates Lugo and Adams will chime in about your choice, debating over right and wrong. The mysterious Radioman will taunt gamers through the game asking about their choices and where to draw the line between right and wrong. Gamers will be forced to look upon the horrors of death, which they may have brought on themselves. All of this contributes to a twisted story that features multiple endings.
I really enjoyed the way Spec Ops: The Line questioned morality and the way Dubai looked. I wished the action and combat had been a little more robust. I have yet to try the multiplayer, so look for a follow up review soon. I'm excited for co-op to be added to the game which is also coming. My final thoughts are I'd give Spec Ops a 8/10 for attempting to take an action game in a different direction.