Spec Ops: The Line is one of the best shooters I’ve played this console generation. And I’m sick of shooters to be quite frank. Every other game that comes out is a shooter these days.
Spec Ops: The Line is a thought-provoking game that deserves to recognized, backed by some fantastic voice-work, a gorgeous setting within the Arabian Desert, and a satisfying, gritty outlook on what war can do to the mind.
Expect the worse, anticipate death
The game starts with a rescue mission that swiftly unravels in a downward spiral that only consistently gets worse for our “hero” Captain Martin Walker, with many elements reminiscent of those found in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.
If death and mental, moral disruption to literally every character in the game is your idea of a good, brutal, yet surprisingly believable story, then this is a game you can’t miss. Six months before the game, the worst series of sandstorms ever recorded began to strike the luxurious city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The game begins with you and your team crashing landing in a sandstorm out side Dubai six months after the storms first hit, attempting to rescue Konrad, the man in charge of the United States Army relief efforts tasked with evacuating the city.
As you approach the city, you are attacked by an insurgent group, who have captured and killed a group of U.S. soldiers apart of Konrad’s 33rd battalion. Confused, you are forced into killing the very people you were sent to save.
As your journey progresses, you and your team are frantically trying to figure out why the hell everyone in the city is trying to kill you. Konrad’s battalion has split into two groups and are in the midst of a civil war, while the CIA is secretly working in the midst to take them both down.
Throughout the story, you and your team are presented with choices, that no matter the outcome, are bad. And they only get worse from there. And worked within the midst are countless conspiracies, betrayals, and mysteries waiting for you and your team, deeming predicting what happens next near impossible.
Intuitive third-person combat
Spec Ops: The Line is a third-person shooter with a clear emphasis on squad based tactics and cover. If you’ve played any of the Socom games the past, you’ll feel right at home here. Though they do feel a bit stiff at times when the action gets to be too hectic.
One of the things I loved about The Line however is how the game incorporates numerous variables into each fight, keeping you constantly on your feet and jumping from cover to cover, not knowing what may happen next.
The cover you may be hunkered down behind might quickly get blown to bits by gunfire, forcing you to stay mobile and move from one place to the next, or a quick-moving melee specialist might charge your place resulting in a quick and painful death if you didn’t deal with him fast enough.
But the sandstorms that will sporadically pop in and out of fights will joggle your mind into a quick decision about what to do or where to hide. Sandstorms significantly cut your vision and make squad tactics useless.
Although the loss of squad tactics may not be such a big deal since they were so poorly used in the game. The few tactics you can use allow you to direct your squad-mates to attack a specific target, clear a room, or stun a group of enemies, but unless there was a sniper outside the range of my preferred P90 sub-machine gun, I never once thought of using them.
The multiplayer isn’t that bad…
Apart from the standard unlocking new weapons, gear, perks, and cosmetic apparel that you can find in pretty much any other online shooter game out there, and the rehashed multiplayer modes you’ll play in-game, The Line presents a solid, polished experience that I found to be surprisingly fun since I’m not a big fan of playing third-person shooters. Nor am I very good at them.
What is really the only thing that can separate The Line from its competition though is the objective-based Buried mode. Players are split into two teams of four, tasked with sabotaging the enemy HQ while defending their own. And with the worked in sandstorm mechanic, the action can get escalate out of control in the blink of an eye.
Spec Ops: The Line brings one of the best single player stories I’ve ever gotten the chance of playing that presents the player with multiple choices that not only have a large impact on the game, but in your head as well. Who would you kill if forced to? The man who killed soldiers for some water for his family, or the friend of one of those killed who murdered the thief’s family?
The Line is a psychological twister from beginning to end, with a fun, yet unnecessary multiplier mode tacked on if you’re looking for some more fun once you’ve beaten the campaign.
Replay Value: Moderate