Spec Ops: The Line is a gritty, dark third-person shooter released for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Spec Ops sees you taking control of Captain Martin Walker, accompanied by two other soldiers, through the ruins of Dubai to try and find out what happened to Colonel John Konrad and his Battalion. Featuring third-person squad based gameplay with a driving narrative, how does Spec Ops stack up overall?
The story really shines here, and I found this quite surprising. I went in expecting a frag fest with an attempt at a good story, but this one really delivers. The first couple of chapters aren’t too compelling, but by chapter 3, you’re growing attached to these characters and want to see what happens, where the plot goes. It’s a very immersive, action-packed story with twists and turns galore. Anyone who likes narrative driven shooters, do not pass this up.
The gameplay itself doesn’t shine quite as much as the story, instead falling into the average category, but it works for what it is. The action is fun, intense, and at points, brutal. The shooting feels tight and I don’t have many complaints with the controls, everything was responsive enough. In addition to the strong, pushing narrative, the game often forces you into a dilemma and gives you only a minute or two to decide. These choices are hard, and you often feel overwhelmed, trying to juggle which is the lesser of two evils. These are by far some of the toughest choices in gaming.
The game also comes with a multiplayer mode, complete with ranks, unlocks, and everything you’d come to expect from a multiplayer military shooter. This, unfortunately, falls prey to average gameplay. There’s not much to keep you here. In the single player, you’ve got the narrative and characters driving you forward. Here, you’re just shooting other guys. There’s nothing to set it apart, and there’s no reason to pick this over Gears Of War or Uncharted, both of which have a far better, fleshed out, unique multiplayer experience.
The graphics in Spec Ops are, at times, gorgeous. Namely, the chapters that take place at dusk. The sand gets a cool horizon effect going on. During the first few levels, the dull brown of the sand can give off a bland vibe. Give it a few levels, though. It gets better, I promise.
The sound is great. Voice acting is completely believable, the guns have a consistent and loud bang to them. The bombs and grenades shake the world around you and enemies alert each other of your presence by barking orders at each other. No real complaints on the sound end.
Overall, Spec Ops: The Line is a great game. The decent gameplay, fused with the amazing storyline is reason enough to finish this one. Trust me, you’ll want to find out what happens in the end. Not only that, but the combination of the moral choices and the fact that there’s 4 different endings make replayability a very easy thing. You’ll want to see what you could’ve done differently. The multiplayer is a bit of a dud, but like I said, there’s better options. Get this one if you want a story-driven military shooter with a mature tale, and a gripping narrative. You won’t be disappointed.
Final Score: 4/5