When I saw the demo for Spec Ops: The Line, I was all, “Ooo, this looks interesting.” I mean, it played like a generic, over-the-shoulder shooter, but the story caught my attention. A story about a city being evacuated and a Marine battalion being lost within.
So, I felt like I should get it on release day, because y’know, I can. The first day, I played for about an hour-and-a-half and got to where the demo finished - if you haven’t played the demo, it’s Chapter 1 and Chapter 4 - which I felt wasn't particularly good for a ‘modern’ game. An hour-and-a-half and I’m already about a quarter of the way done… I remember playing games for 20-to-30 hours and only being that far through.
I went back to it the next day, played for 5 hours and only managed to get to Chapter 7. Mainly because of the screenshot above - that bit is hard. You have to lone wolf, like, 50 guys with only a Desert Eagle and whatever weapons they drop. It’s at that point I started appreciating the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere and I wasn't going to have much ammo anyway.
Anyway, back to the plot. Myself [Cpt. Martin Walker] and two other [Sgts. Lugo and Adams] - “ruggedly handsome Delta Operators” - are dispatched to Dubai because a distress signal has been received from The 33rd Battalion stating that the evacuation was a complete failure, and Command has sent us three to check it out.
What can go wrong, right? Apparently, a lot. Within the first few minutes, you’re already in combat around the outskirts of this beautifully-destroyed city, with sand flying everywhere! The sand physics are incredibly accurate - grenades will throw sand everywhere when they explode and blind other enemies in addition to making it hard for you to see, as well. Most of the time, it seemed more efficient to throw a frag onto some sand rather than ordering the AI squad to flash out.
The AI partners in this game are actually clever, in the sense that they won’t do anything until either I engage an enemy, I give them an order to engage or they’re engaged by an enemy, themselves. Generally, the latter never happens because they’re pretty good and stay out of sight; most of the time.
Again, I’m refusing to play multiplayer because I’ll just suck at it and I’m perfectly happy playing through single-player so that I can finally have the story make sense in my head.
You see, right at the end of the game, it does what I refer to as a Black Ops - this means that it takes everything that you thought you knew and pulls it right out from under you. Which I thought was pretty cool considering all the morally grey choices you had to make. I won’t spoil them, but a few did make me stop playing for a while and question as to why I’d just done that.
There are some nice parts of the game where dialogue breaks the fourth wall - for people who don’t know what that is, it’s when a game, film or play directly addresses the audience member instead of the characters on-stage, in-game, etc. I think my favorite line is near the end of the game: you have to assault a radio tower, just before you get to the top “Why so much violence? Is it the video games? I bet it’s the video games.” comes across the Tannoy system [--ed: read: PA system ---Mr. Creeper] set-up around the city. It made me laugh when I heard it.
I think I managed to finish the game in about 12 hours. That isn't bad for a modern game, but it’s not worth the $60 - about £30, for people who use a real currency. I’d recommend to try and pick this up when it’s on sale somewhere, because then you’ll actually get some value for your money out of the single-player experience.