Published on July 2nd, 2012 | by Daniel
Review: Spec Ops: The Line
Summary: Daniel takes a look at Spec Ops: The Line on Xbox 360, is it any good? read the review to find out!
Spec Ops: The Line, is, on the surface, a third-person shooter. It has many of the staples found in third-person shooters such as military men that shout obscenities when they kill an enemy, a post-apocalyptic setting and of course, guns.
So why should you play Spec Ops: The Line? Because it’s another FPS that could pass the time between sessions of Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3? No. Because underneath the surface Spec Ops: The Line hides a brilliant story that is dark, twisted, desperate and probably most importantly bleak.
In Spec Ops: The Line you are thrust into the wasteland city of Dubai to search for a missing military outfit. This is the first little gem that Spec Ops throws up. Dubai is drowned in sand. Buildings have fallen, others are about to under the weight of the sand; and this leads to interesting gameplay opportunities. For example, you could shoot out a few vents to have sand fall and crush a soldier below or shoot out a giant window to cause sand to cascade through it, burying everyone in the process. Most of the time, these moments are left to the player’s imagination and creativity, but at one moment in the campaign, when you’re encouraged to do it I was left astounded at how unique it was.
The aforementioned story is also extremely unique. It’s surprisingly deep and emotional for an FPS, a genre in which usually you shoot first and ask questions later, or often never. In Spec Ops: The Line you’re faced with a multitude of difficult choices throughout your quest through Dubai, some tougher than others but all making you think none the less. The various options in the story are something that Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is hoping to strike gold with in November, but Spec Ops has implemented it beautifully. The desolate and hopeless vistas of Dubai provide a perfect setting for the desperate decision making and fighting taking place within the city walls.
In Spec Ops: The Line you often get a sense of a revolution. A revolution that has come and gone, or that has been since neutralised by the powers that be in the city, which makes it even more interesting, and throughout Spec Ops: The Line you will never once be bored of the decisions you make, the revolutions you discover or the shocking things you have to do; which all makes for a brilliant story.
Luckily for Spec Ops, it’s not just a game to play for the story. Spec Ops is an accomplished shooter too. The shooting mechanics are very tight and responsive, bar a few niggling gripes getting in and out of cover and the game is very well paced. You’ll go from fighting an overwhelming number of enemies in one section, to being slowed to a walking pace and forced to listen and think about the decisions you’ve made in another, which is great for the player. If you don’t mind talking to yourself over the path you took.
The only real downsides to the game are the patchy graphics and the short length of what is otherwise an extremely good campaign. The graphics can look great at times; vistas of Dubai look really nice, and occasionally things will really stand out and pop, but otherwise the graphics aren’t that good, which could draw you out of the game’s world a little. The campaign length is probably around 4 hours tops, which may leave fans clamoring for more.
Aside from the campaign, there is of course a multiplayer element. Spec Ops’ multiplayer is surprisingly slow and sluggish compared to the quick, snappy singleplayer campaign, which is a great shame. There’s nothing greatly innovative that allows the multiplayer to stand out on it’s own; the sandstorms that take place periodically have been seen before in games like Gears of War and without the innovation it’s simply just another standard multiplayer offering, one that doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary and can only challenge the likes of CoD in it’s wildest dreams. It may serve you well for a few hours entertainment after you finish the campaign, but really you’d be better served cranking up the difficulty and going back through the campaign choosing opposite decisions to the ones you made first time round.
Spec Ops: The Line will be remembered as a thought-provoking TPS. One which challenges the player to really think about who they are killing, who they could kill and their reasons for doing so. The multiplayer is very forgettable, but with a single player campaign that encourages re-playability with the branching story, it doesn’t matter. Buy this game for the single player campaign, and you’ll get sucked into the sandy storm of Dubai quicker than business moguls all over the world.