Friday, November 24, 2017

Spec Ops: The Line (PC) Review

Spec Ops: The Line is a 3rd person shooter developed by Yager Development. It was released in 2012. I remember watching a review about how this game was better than most of the military shooters released at the time, so I was interested in playing this game for the longest time. I never got to play it at launch, and having just finished it, I am glad I didn't buy it at the time.

It is not a terrible game. Its functional, and thoroughly boring. There is nothing original about the gameplay. I understand that this is supposed to be a narrative driven game, but that does not prevent the game from being boring because of generic the gameplay. Gears of War is a much better cover shooter, and that came out years ago.

Upside down American Flag is a sign of distress. Here is a link to US Flag Code - http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html
The game is built using Unreal 2 engine, and it handles a lot like Mass Effect. What this means is, the game does not have jump, and shooting involves diving behind cover and peaking out, and taking shots at enemies. Just about every single encounter turns into this. Like most console ports at the time, the controls are not optimized for the PC. Spacebar is used for both sprinting and taking cover. I did not enjoy this in Mass Effect, and I did not enjoy this in Spec Ops.



The gunplay is weak, and the weapon variety doesn't add much to the game because other than ammo capacity, all rifles felt the same. I understand that they cannot stray too much from reality because of the military setting, but that is no excuse of the weak weapon handling. The reason I did not like the weapon handling is probably because I am playing this game in 2017, and as a Battlefield player, I find most other shooters to be not as good as Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4.



The game tries to incorporate squad play, but the system is not very fleshed out, and I felt it was awkward to use. There are few instances where giving orders to your squad is useful, but overall it is possible to play most of the game without ever giving any squad orders. The much talked about environment interaction is basically shooting some objects during combat to take out enemies, such as shooting a window to cause a sand slide etc. Do not expect Red Faction like environment destruction.

The main selling point  of this game was the story. I am playing this game 5 years after its release, and having played other games which attempted something similar, I could see the twist coming well in advance. Like Modern Warfare 2, there is one section in the game that this game is going to be remembered for, and I could see that coming as well. That said, the story itself is not too bad, but I think there are some instances where they left things to interpretation and this doesn't provide closure. Also, the suspension of disbelief required is a little too much for me. The main character and his two friends take on what looks like the entire US army, get thrown off buildings, survive a massive truck crash, and a chopper crash with no broken bones...



It is difficult to achieve the level of engagement they were asking for, because they want to tell a story that is grounded in reality, but the gameplay just does not lend itself to that.

I purchased this game as a part of a Humble Bundle for $1, and for that price, I am not disappointed, but I really would not recommend paying any money for this game because it has no replay value, and there are so many great games out there for cheap.

Conclusion

+ Decent graphics

- Over hyped story
- Extremely linear
- Weak gunplay
- Controls not optimized for PC

Veridct - Not recommended.