Spec Ops: The Line is one of the biggest sleeper hits for me. I never thought of picking up the game until a friend of mine heavily recommended the title. A true avid gamer himself, I couldn’t say no to his recommendations and decided to get the game and see what all the fuss was all about.
Released back in June 26, 2012, the game got a lot of praise for the story, but the negatives focused on the lack of a great multiplayer component (unfair, but they got to review everything right?) and the stale gameplay. I never had the chance to play the multiplayer components, so I’ll leave that out of my review, but everything else is fair game.
Let’s start off with the story and…wow. Just wow. The story is one of the most intense I have ever played through. It felt more cinematic for a game and presented a lot of controversial themes. Spec Ops: The Line tackles a heavy topic on the horrifying views of war and what it can do to a soldier. There are serious plot twists and turns and the morals and the heavy themes really got me thinking past the game. It’s beautifully written and no war-based games never brought out a story like Spec Ops: The Line did. I give props to the writers. I admit, Call of Duty had some interesting ideas, but it was more Michael Bay than a Ridley Scott. The storybook-like structure really grabbed my attention and I mainly played the game to see how it all pans out.
I just got a rush of memories playing this game, I almost forgot to tell you about the base of the story. Dubai gets hit by one of the worst sandstorms in history and tears the city apart and leaves it in ruins, all the while refugees are scrambling to survive from the catastrophe. Colonel John Konrad and his “Damned 33rd” brigade were coming home from their tour at Afghanistan, but decided to help with the relief efforts to help the refugees still stuck in Dubai. Then news stopped coming from the brigade and the military branded them as traitors. However, a looped message was sent out and a three-man Delta team were sent to check it out. Captain Martin Walker leads Lieutenant Alphonse Adams and Staff Sergeant John Lugo to investigate what happened to Konrad and his men. Then. All. Hell. Breaks. Loose.
Graphics wowed the crap out of me as well. You would think the game world would look bland and tedious thanks to the desert setting, but the depth and insane details of the city’s crumbling surroundings really set the tone. Some of the environments you fight through really shows how diverse the world of Dubai really is and the art direction perfectly portrayed the disaster and beauty of the city. The death and destruction made the game look and feel real, yet surreal at the same time.
Voice acting was superb and really brought each character and the overall story to life. Nolan North convinced me to believe Captain Martin Walker was a real human being. Actually, the whole voice acting crew were simply amazing. They brought the story and the game together. The writing also brought it all together and developed one of the most intense games even for today (especially reading the loading screens with “tips” written at the bottom). Music set the tone for the cut scenes and fit the whole war-movie feel like Platoon and Apocalypse Now vibe. The whole sound department definitely did their jobs.
Gameplay was your typical 3rd person “cover and shoot” mechanic. The game brought some challenging gun fights and also placed in you some turret-styled battles. But like the majority of the gaming review crew said, the gameplay was nothing new. I didn’t think it was stale, but there was nothing new either. Overall, the game was solid with a some variety to change the pace of the game.
Spec Ops: The Line is a story-driven game. I haven’t played a game with a story quite like this since my gamer years started back during the NES days. The overall package of this game should be played for the single-player experience only. Who cares about the crappy multiplayer mode, the story is the main reason is why you should play this game. Spec Ops: The Line brought a true sense of realism to the game through its story and that was the one factor that it needed for a game to stand out like this. Games like Fallout 3, Final Fantasy VII, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and many more had their eventful moments, but not like this. Not even close. Welcome to Dubai.
Rating: 9.1 out of 10