This is a discussion on Spec Ops: The Line Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; I can't say I agree with the final score. I would give this game at least 8. Of course it ...
Can't agree one bit with the review. I know it's from 2012 but I acquired the game recently (for less than 10€) and want to add my two cents. First of all I'm not someone who reviews games and English is not my native language so if my post is incomplete or ambiguous don't harp on me.
When I first put in the game I expected something mediocre that I'll play from time to time a little while I'm working on my other recently purchased games (being Remember Me, Sly 3, Thief and some others). After the first ten minutes I noticed that the game was something special and definitely not what I expected. I found the setting to be deeply amazing, having never played a game set in a sort of post apocalyptic Dubai before. The whole concept progressing through a deserted town with its decadent luxurious interior and the tactics that emerge from it being half buried in sand impressed me a lot and the game play felt intuitive and responsive enough not to accidently put me in stupid situations (I've played a lot of HD collections and the controls are definitely better than in most of them). Then there was this whole fucked up psychedelic atmosphere with this DJ (outstanding music btw), things growing more weird and weird, friends turning to enemies and vice versa, subtle decision points and decisions that are done with good intention but always worsen the scenario while things turn out weirder and weirder until you can't be sure anymore what is even real.
The story is the best side of the whole game in my opinion and that's exactly how I was enjoying it, like an interactive movie that just gets better and better with every chapter. It felt like an Uncharted induced with some Modern Warfare and while this sort of game does not provide endless fun I thought it was just long enough. After playing through all 15 chapters I couldn't mention anything that I was missing. I do actually prefer this to overly long games where I'm already looking forward to get to the end when I'm not even half way through. A very positive point for me was that this game felt pretty authentic and I didn't notice any recurring things I remember from other games. Now of course there are enemies and almost every area but in Uncharted I always came to a new area and saw plenty of obvious cover and just once when I was close enough all the enemies emerged. It felt so predictable and so do some things in other games that make me say 'omfg, that again'. Best recent example is Thief where almost all areas are connected through a stack of boxes you have to move through always doing the same stupid animation moving a beam aside. Then there are those games where every door you can open, every lock you can pick or in general certain things you can interact with always look the same. Spec Ops was nothing like that and I didn't remember anything I saw multiple times looking exactly the same. Buildings, cars and areas in general all looked pretty unique and that's one reason I never got tired of the game.
Cover is a thing I haven't seen implemented perfectly in any game so far. There are games where it's unusable, like in Killzone. In this game I found it pretty okay and you can hardly do something wrong if you just keep X pressed while running towards a cover. There were few occasions where I unintendently left cover while moving to the sides but not as often as I'd say it's a severe problem with the controls. This game is the first where I used blind fire effectively and shooting from cover was even reliable on Fubar. There is always a mark showing you the approximate position of the cross hair while you're in cover and it isn't any trouble to pop out for a second to perform a headshot and immediately go back to cover again.
The AI was not very clever but unlike in other games it was actually worth something. I killed half the enemies in the game giving instructions to either snipe someone far away or shooting/grenading someone in cover nearby. The trick is to know what the AI will do and when to better not set them on the enemies as they'd run out of cover into the bullet storm like idiots. That isn't really realistic but it's still fun and effective. I had only one situation in Fubar where Adams would die multiple times due to doing something stupid I hadn't instructed him to do. Also there are games with worse AI, every played Killzone? Given that nobody is forced to play on Fubar I'd say both controls and AI are nice enough to go through Suicide without many frustrating moments and without the need to play perfect.
While I admit the AI is not the best, I found a perfect approach for every situation in Fubar that got me through the area without depending on luck.
Want an example? Chapter 13 Adams injured scene: Stay in front of Adams behind cover, take the 417 and the ammo bag. Stay on the very left and shoot of out cover to the left (not above the cover so you won't get hit too often), aim for headshots and go back to cover if you get hit once and at the latest after one second. Evade grenades by moving to the right and then immediately move back to the very left of the right cover. If you can't evade a grenade (has been aimed too far right) swap to next cover to the right. Stay there till an unfortunate grenade comes that you can't evade then move over the cover (circle button) and run towards the cover in front of you. By then you should be more or less finished killing everyone (the ones that flank you will be killed by Adams). Once the juggernaut appears move back to the left, grab the grenades and go behind the building on the left. If you can, carefully kill his two companions. Let the juggernaut hunt you around the building and hit him with all your grenades and blindfire. Done.
Another example? Chapter 14 turret section: Shoot the mortar with the launcher. Checkpoint. You should still have to rockets, at least if reloading the checkpoint. Kill the 5-6 soldiers to the left by throwing stickies from cover, you should have two from previous area. Adam will kill off the rest if necessary. Move back to the right and stay behind high cover. Kill the three soldiers in the distance peaking carefully to the left of the cover (but not from cover this time). Run over to Adams. Carefully headshot the soldiers on the right next to the turret from cover but never stay longer than a second out of cover. When they're dead sprint towards the tank car in front of you. Rocket shoot the turret to the left first and then the turret to the right. Immediately sprint towards the tank car further in the front in the middle. Wait for Adams to come and cross over to the right. Now use either grenades if you still have or the SCAR grenade launcher to cause some distraction and run further to the right hiding behind the cover in front of the turret. Carefully take out the enemies but as quick as possible as some grenades can cause you to leave the cover. Run over to the turret and kill of the remaining enemies. Focus and it shouldn't be a problem to kill them all off, if you take too much damage hide behind the turret.
Random, frustrating and controller breaking - really? I'd say if you can finish Uncharted 1 without frustration, you won't have much frustration here. Otherwise just don't play on Fubar. RE5 in contrast was frustrating because it really had some sections that were purely luck based (talking about the Jill/Wesker fight for instance, one random bullet and you're in dying state).
Now the graphics, I read the review thrice to make sure I was reading correctly. Bad?? I'm not a graphic whore so each their own opinions, but bad?? This is definitely one of the nicest looking graphics I've seen in PS3 games utilizing the Unreal engine and it should be mentioned also that I didn't experience any technical troubles (slow downs, graphic errors etc.). The voice work is very authentic, the animations and video interactions kept me feeling like it is an interactive movie.
Altogether your review sounded like you don't like cover based shooters and always expect perfect controls and graphics or you have a personal grudge against this game. Spec Ops definitely has its weaknesses but that can be said about any game and it's not half as bad as you make it out.
Btw I don't like multiplayer in most instances so I haven't even tried it but many great games manage to ruin it completely (take Tomb Raider e.g.) so it's not a big deal for me. Also while it was probably done after your review has been posted a limited coop mode has been added for free and I find it very noble to add free content later especially if it's not a game that is so much based on longevity (as for example GTA5).
I'd give this game a 8 or 8.5 probably. The biggest drawback is its length but then again not every game is made for being played 50+ hours and I didn't spend more time on Uncharted 1/2/3 than on this game either (they're still great games).