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Spec Ops: The Line review

Review Rating 8.5 Great
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As I said, Spec Ops has fairly standard gameplay. It's your typical third-person squad shooter where you travel through linear corridors, ducking behind cover and popping up to shoot dozens of enemies. Along the way you will pick up several different types of weapons that are all similar to those found in other shooters. It's nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done — for the most part.
There were some questionable gameplay decisions, like the inability to roll or dodge. Oftentimes, I'd be safe behind cover only to have an enemy toss a grenade to where I was. Instead of rolling away, I'd have to get out of cover and sprint to the next one, often leading to me getting gunned down along the way. Another questionable decision was having vault be the same button as the melee attack. If I were to be in full sprint and attempt to vault over the next cover, if I pressed it too early I'd stop completely and attempt a melee attack, even if no one was near me.

Spec Ops: The Line gameplay

These, of course, are just me nitpicking an otherwise solid gameplay experience. Run and cover is smooth for the most part as Walker will effortlessly slide to the next barricade without the need for you to tell him so. Issuing orders to your squadmates is surprisingly easy with just the touch of a button, and they are surprisingly good at what they do. I can't even count the amount of times they saved my ass when I got pinned down or caught in the open in the middle of gunfire. Unlike most games where your squad is just there for look, Lugo and Adams deserve an award for their intelligence and capability.

Gameplay and narrative is aided by a marvelous soundtrack that serves as more than just background music to the game. The rock music of the early game, similar to something you'd hear in Vietnam, quickly fades into somber acoustic melodies as the Delta crew begins to lose control of the situation and their sanity. At times, the vocals are lost to the soundtrack or other background noise, but this is easily fixed with subtitles or adjusting the volumes.

The transformation and digression of your crew is also visible through the very actions you perform throughout the game. Executions performed to enemies get more gory and Walker increasingly violent to the point where he's just shouting obsenities in each encounter.

Last but not least, Spec Ops is a visual spectacle. Despite the desert locale of Dubai, Spec Ops refrains from the traditional "brown military shooter." Instead, the game relies on a vibrant pallete of reds, purples, blues, golds, and greens. The grand architecture of this once magnificent city is a fun setting as you traverse through skyscrapers, sand-submerged buildings, and even open area sandstorms that spring out of no where, severely limiting your visibility. The one setback to Spec Ops beauty is that it makes you want to explore more, which is disheartening given the games major linearity.

Spec Ops: The Line environment

As with all shooters these days, Spec Ops: The Line does have a multiplayer component, but as I said, story is the major draw to this game. That's not to say multiplayer is awful, but it pales in comparison to the compelling campaign. Where as in singleplayer you are fighting for a reason — or so you think — there really is no reason in multiplayer. You are fighting in mulitiplayer to unlock new weapons, perks, and gear. It's there if you enjoy multiplayer, and it's a standard for many of today's shooters, but the real fun is in the campaign.

Spec Ops: The Line won't make you feel like a hero. War is not a fun thing; it's not something that should be celebrated. Spec Ops: The Line addresses that quite well; it's not about defeating some evil being, but about exploring the various aspects of war and the effects it can have on you. The endings, while providing closure, are open to interpretation. What will yours be? Are you just some killing monster or will your actions throughout the game be justified...?

Tags: Spec Ops: The Line, Review, Xbox 360, PS3, PlayStation 3

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