I never followed the Spec Ops series. I dont know why but I was just not interested in going through random missions or killing nameless soldiers just for the sake of it. Hey If I wanted something like that I’d rather play a sandbox game to let some steam off. And btw I like Call Of Duty coz there is a plot. Both developers and publishers had been juggling the Spec Ops franchise. Even a Rockstar developed Spec Ops was in the making and later cancelled. When I read about Spec Ops The Line it didn’t ignite any interest in me whatsoever. But guess what…the preview did the trick.
I wont spoil a bit of the story here. NOT A BIT. Suffice to say its a story about a rescue mission gone terribly wrong. The story sequences come into play after each firefight via ingame cutscenes and its something to be experienced first hand. The firefights themselves are action packed though it gets a wee bit monotonous as the game lets you kill waves upon waves of enemies though its not without a consequence and not at all without a reason too. There are set-piece moments and some of will give you goosebumps. ‘Sand’ comes into play as a gameplay mechanic though not very often to my disappointment. You can shoot down the glass that’s just above the enemies and let them be buried under the sand and all. It felt more like a me-too feature than anything else. My complaint regarding the cover system is inevitable. Spec Ops The Line like any other third person shooter uses a cover system, yes its a nifty addition but the problem comes when both the melee and leap outta cover buttons are mapped into one. And so many times instead of coming outta a cover I kept meleeing the concrete wall or when I needed to bash an enemy in the face I went into the nearest cover. The enemy AI is top notch; they will flank you from the sides, they grenade you outta your cover and even send melee specialists running your way. But fear not your teammates are well coded as well. They will help you out in a myriad of ways. The enemies look like clones and there are only 4 to 5 enemy types ranging from sand rats to a heavy gun specialist.
Despite some texture loading issues the visuals seems fine. Powered by the Unreal 3 engine, it shows the decade old engine’s last breath of visual power and it still manages to amaze. A sandstorm engulfed Dubai is almost believably rendered without stutters and promises varied locales with bright as well brilliant architecture and level designs. The main character models are crisp and believable with distinct facial animations especially that of Capt Walker.
Walker, Conrad are 2 names that you are not likely to forget anytime soon. The narrative just grabs you by your throat and immerses you in. Its something that makes you feel bad about killing people. You feel the emotions that the progagonist goes through after every gunfight. He questions himself, He questions his moral values, He questions his own intentions. Heated arguments are frequent between himself and his teamates. And the good thing is you feel every single one of em.
Depending on the choices you make towards the end you’d be greeted or un-greeted with one of the 4 endings. And there’s no chance that you could miss out on the rest of the three. Just load the last checkpoint and make different choices instead. I cant decide on which one I liked more, each one is progressively better and question the over-all narrative and the choices you made throughout the game.
Only few games these days authentically gives you a reason for a play-through again. I am glad to say Spec Ops The Line is one among them. A blend of excellent narrative and mind blowing action at the cost of making you feel bad…in a good way of course. You as Capt Player set in motion the events leading to the multiple endings…you are to be blamed if something happens not the protagonist. Helluva feeling that is. Sequences were absent from what was shown in the E3 and debut trailers and I am selfish enough to ask for those in a DLC because its just that good (I suspect there’d be one though for the campaign).