Spec Ops: The Line
Developer: Yager Development, Darkside Game Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
North American Release Date: June 26, 2012
European Release Date: June 29, 2012
Spec Ops: The Line marks the return of the series after its previous entry over 10 years ago on the PSOne, with the game Spec Ops: Airborne Commando. The series was even picked up by Rockstar, but they cancelled the project in 2005. In 2009, it was announced the series will return being made by Yager Development. So after 10 years, is the return as great as it has been made out to be?
Spec Ops is a third person cover based shooter. You get the feel for the controls right away with what seems to be the norm for shooters nowadays with the exception of being the sprint button(seems like many games have been changing to this scheme). The rest of the controls feel comfortable and the game even has a shoulder cam switch between right and left which I was certainly glad to see added.
A serious issue I had within the game was its cover system. Not only was it difficult to get in cover, but it was also difficult to stay in cover at times as well. I can’t tell you how many times I was caught in cover just trying to move over a little and my character would stand out of cover to get shot up by the enemy instead. The cover system was all too loose and caused too much frustration, especially on the harder difficulty as it was almost unforgivable. It was something you felt could have been worked on over the course of the games development that should have been more of a priority due to it being something used constantly.
Your character's movement was fine for the most part, but at times you definitely felt the wonkiness of the movement, especially in the heat of battle. Running was where you seemed to have felt it most. The most comfortable feeling I had when playing the game was just aiming down the sight. I was able to see all I wanted and aim where I wanted perfectly. If I could just move a bit faster I would have played the whole game this way.
Being in good cover... One rarity of the game.
One of the worst aspects that definitely should have been corrected was the melee in the game. When you came up close to an enemy to try and hit him, you missed, either going to the side or not being close enough. After trying to melee a few enemies I said to myself, “That’s it. I’m just going to shoot everyone I see,” after many failed attempts.
The single player portion of the game is where it is all at. Of course, there really is not all that much to see. The game is perhaps 5 hours at best on a normal run through of the game. You could definitely beat the game in 4 hours rushing through it, and that’s getting all collectibles as well.
The biggest highlight of the sp is its story. You will play as Captain Martin Walker with his teammates, Adams and Lugo, as you progress through Dubai’s now treacherous sandy wasteland. No, there is no cooperative mode in this game(for sp now that is), which is quite the disappointment as the game really seemed to have been asking for it. Instead, you will get to follow these characters as they lead on to complete their mission, with much aggravation and more frustration than I had playing it. You will see the characters argue with one another and be in situations bringing much dismay with what seems to be a close similarity to the actions many of us real world people would take as well, or a real soldier in combat. The story may not be a perfect example of the real soldiers in combat, but it certainly does exemplify it well enough for you to see and feel what these soldiers must be going through.
Some decision points go as far as to testing your own morals.
Throughout the game you will ever so often come across decision choices you must make in order to move on. These choices don’t affect the story in anyway (except the ending choices) but definitely gives you more of the sense of humanity or cruelty one must pursue in battle. These decisions may have been pointless at times, but definitely made the game seem more interesting and at times feel more realistic.
The setting of the game made it quite the interesting one. Set in a post-catastrophic Dubai, you see many destroyed buildings along with sand hills at every corner. One great feature that at times changed the tide of the gameplay was dust storms occurring at some of the worst of times. The dust storms made it hard to walk and see, causing not only you but also your enemies to miss the desired target and run into walls or objects. It was actually fun to just run aimlessly around at times to make it through the dust storm.
The multiplayer portion of the game seemed to have been a quick add on with little stolen features from other games. I did enjoy the little dust storms that occurred in some maps, but they actually became more annoying than they were fun. The biggest problem was that everything that was wrong with the sp was even worse in the mp. The cover system was just as difficult, and with people running and gunning it never seemed to matter if you were in cover or not. The movement was also just as bad in the mp, as you always seemed to have to move around due to people running away when you shot them causing you to hit a wall, get stuck, and shot from the corner of your eye.
The customization options were fairly nice, but seemed as though they should have allowed you to start with more stuff to be able to equipped instead of having to rank up to earn most of them. Of course, it never seemed to have changed anything even if you were able to equip a better gun, and obviously nothing changed with the way your outfit looked.
Executing another player in multiplayer is as satisfying as can be.
The graphics in Spec Ops, at their most pleasing, are ugly and still a pain to look at. The texture models of the characters and design of the buildings look fine at first glance, but constant play of the game makes you feel as though you are playing a last generation game. This game looks like it could use an HD-lift, because it certainly looks as though it is out of place with the times of video games.
Another issue in the game is the A.I. of your teammates. Get ready to play with some of the biggest idiots gaming has to offer. These guys do not stay in cover when it’s their life and yours depending on it. When they go down you have to go get them, causing your death over and over again. You’re also able to tell them who to shoot at in the game, which can be handy, but they take so long doing it and stand so far out of cover to shoot their target they end up going down making it not even worth the trouble.
The sound from the game is where it really makes up for it. The guns all sound great, the music matches each setting you step into, and the voice acting is top-notch.
The trophies for Spec Ops are almost as what could be expected from a shooter minus any multiplayer trophies. With a short campaign length you could earn your way to platinum in a little over 10 hours, perhaps 15. You will however have quite the trouble with its Fubar difficulty (the hardest difficulty). This difficulty is unfair and can cause controllers to even be broken. You’re needed to correct 3 mistakes the game has in order to get through it with only a little pain. One is to realize the cover system is against you and will screw you over on purpose just to laugh at your angry face. The second is your allies are complete morons only there to pose as teammates, when they actually work with the enemy. The third and last problem in the game that will screw you over is the enemy grenade spamming. Get ready for W@W all over again (definitely not as bad, but comes close).
The game can be fun at times, but that really becomes a rarity once you go through it. The story is great and is really the only thing that will keep it alive in mine and most people’s memories that play it.
Nothing special with quite a few frustrations that could have been corrected.
Although I did experience trouble throughout my playthroughs of the game, I did enjoy the little action scenes and the overall the story of the game. This game actually had one of the best storylines for a military shooter on today’s market, and I must applaud them for it.
Something that was definitely tacked on. Might be fun for the first round, but gets old all too fast. The community will probably die off soon, with only people sticking around because they feel bad for paying the full price of the game.
The graphics and everything except for the sound effects, music and voice acting is absolutely horrible.