Zero Punctuation: Spec Ops: The Line

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In Search of Username:

SickBritKid:
Yahtzee, is there just something about your limeys and your inability to appreciate the military putting their asses on the line so that you don't have to? Y'know, protecting your freedoms, preventing your own slaughter at the hands of those who despise you and want you to eat the soles of their boots?

Look, I'm a conservative and I dislike the shit we've gotten into with our wars and our expended blood and treasure.

I still love and support my military, however, as those men and women are out there defending my freedoms.

I'm not proud of what's been committed in the name of god and country, but as one legendary general once said: "War is hell." And there comes a time when war is needed to ensure that the decent folk of this world don't wind up getting shat upon by that flaky bitch, Fate.

That said, this is easily one of your best reviews, Yahtzee, and excellent job on that.

*farting noise*

The fact you keep saying someone's 'protecting our freedoms' doesn't make it true. And even if they are it's at the expense of the freedoms of people from other countries, so I understand people finding it hard to respect soldiers as much as the media assumes they should.

So I'm guessing you're one of those morons who think that 9/11 was an inside job and that our military should be ashamed for a proper response to a wanton slaughter of innocents?

That's what our military's doing. America and the West stood by and let the world turn itself pre-9/11, and it was that day that showed us the true threat terrorism poses to us.

Those men and women are out there risking their lives so you don't have to. That, at least, warrants some sort of respect.

A very good review, I'm glad that there are still some games out there that understand the importance of a good story!

Some interesting behind-the-scenes info about the game (don't know if it's been mentioned or not):

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/20/the-story-secrets-of-spec-ops-the-line

I can say that I really liked the game. I can't remember the last time a video game made me think about it for more than a week after I finished it. The likely cause (at least for me) are the cynical 4'th wall breaking loading screens in the latter half of the game. I didn't get them immediately - I originally thought they're meant for Walker, but they're actually meant for you: the creature of flesh and bone that routinely kills pixels for fun.

"To kill for yourself is murder. To kill for your government is heroic. To kill for entertainment is harmless."

I can understand that some people will claim pretentiousness and it's true, the line is thin. While the game may or may not fail in other departments, I believe that the message works. If something can make you question your day-to-day pass time, even for a minute, it should be lauded.

As C. Wright Mills said, we spend out lives as cheerful robots. For stimulus A you get response B: character X kicks the dog - you hate character X, character Y says a tired joke - you must laugh, everybody laughs. It's good to take a step back and observe the situation from outside, you might gain some insight, you might learn something about yourself.

Granted, I'm not talking entirely about Spec Ops, I don't believe it's a masterpiece since it doesn't truly innovate gaming, but it does challenge established expectations. When that happens some people will like it, some won't this thread proves it. All I can say is that I laud developer Yager Development and publisher 2K Games for making this game a reality.

I don't generally post a lot because I'm lazy and I tend to ramble. The fact that I took my time to write this is my personal testament to the quality of Spec Ops: The Line.

Edit:

This is a really interesting angle: http://i.imgur.com/cLtJN.png (obvious spoilers)
Makes sense since there are two different factions in the multiplayer.

Dutch 924:

Anyone else find this phrase fitting not only for Walker, but for almost every FPS gamer out there?

.
That was the point. It reminded me of Cabin in the Woods in relation to the genre its supposed to represent.

SickBritKid:

In Search of Username:
The fact you keep saying someone's 'protecting our freedoms' doesn't make it true. And even if they are it's at the expense of the freedoms of people from other countries, so I understand people finding it hard to respect soldiers as much as the media assumes they should.

So I'm guessing you're one of those morons who think that 9/11 was an inside job and that our military should be ashamed for a proper response to a wanton slaughter of innocents?

That's got to be the least subtle and most ridiculous strawman I've seen in hours.

A refreshing change from killing Russians and Arabs, it was nice to shave heads off of US soldiers. I can't remember the last time when I last heard American battle chatter like this coming from the enemy.

For what that's worth though, it's not an enjoyable ride overall.

The storyline is excellent yet flawed. The game fails to make the player truly responsible for their actions. The grand moment in the game comes when the player unwittingly shells a bunch of civilians - yet there's no choice to do otherwise. That makes this critical point of the game much less relevant - it's not a bad decision that forces you to accept the consequences, it's a stop on a linear path which you must complete.

The other critical moment you're faced with the decision of gunning down civilians. I gleefully took the opportunity the moment the cutscene ended but was disappointed to see only a passing mention to it later on.

The whole force of the storyline is therefore linear, with meaningless illusions of choice. That creates a dissonance between the player and the player character.

The storyline goes beyond a classic narrative though and you can hear the character's voices get increasingly unhinged as the game goes on. Their gear progressively turns from brand new into tatters and even the way they move shows their progressive mental and physical exhaustion. Even the loading screens and tips get more and more surreal and disturbing. The game manages to build a great, strong and dense atmosphere.

Yet despite my strong anti-american sentiment the game manages to make killing US soldiers not fun. The implementation of everything in the game stands in stark contrast to the storyline. Combat is not fun (though I've never been a fan of 3rd person cover-based shooting) - and that's the greatest problem with the game. It neither makes killing Americans fun in the satisfying arcade-y way nor does it even make an attempt at being a tactical game. Stuck in the generic easy grayzone the combat just made me want to get it over with and get to the next cutscene faster.

SickBritKid:

So I'm guessing you're one of those morons who think that 9/11 was an inside job and that our military should be ashamed for a proper response to a wanton slaughter of innocents?

Bwahaha what?! It's been 11 years, your strawman is slightly dated.

Reginald:

SickBritKid:

In Search of Username:
The fact you keep saying someone's 'protecting our freedoms' doesn't make it true. And even if they are it's at the expense of the freedoms of people from other countries, so I understand people finding it hard to respect soldiers as much as the media assumes they should.

So I'm guessing you're one of those morons who think that 9/11 was an inside job and that our military should be ashamed for a proper response to a wanton slaughter of innocents?

That's got to be the least subtle and most ridiculous strawman I've seen in hours.

It's a strawman that I often find to be accurate amongst those who bash on our military and scoff at the notion that their service to our country's servicemen deserves respect.

Spec Ops still has an excellent story, don't get me wrong. Fog of war is one thing that needs to be addressed at times in regards to war.

carnege4:
So it's a First person Heavy Rain with the part you kill the drug dealer over and over again?

It's a third-person tactical shooter. Didn't you play the demo?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Spec Ops: The Line

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Spec Ops: The Line.

Watch Video

Well, fuck me sideways. I had some interest in the game when I first saw the trailer, but I honestly wouldn't have gotten the game if not for this review. And Christ, am I glad that I did.

I'm coming into the endgame, and I've never seen a game that so amazingly shows a party's fall from grace like Spec Ops does. The attention to detail is astonishing: I first noticed it when I realized that so much of the 'Kill the guy with the X by the Y' dialogue was ludicrously accurate and often times exclusive to one area. In other words, combat dialogue was recorded individually for most firefights. You'll never heard 'Take that guy out' because the main characters are supposed to be professional soldiers and that would be vague and unhelpful.

Similarly, the wear and tear on each man is so gradual and well-rendered that you could make a flipbook of the battledamage as the game goes on and there would never be a point where it was abruptly tacked on without reason. It even extends beyond the character models themselves: the protagonists sound like they're getting worn down as you go along. At the start of the game, an order exchange might sound like this:

"Lugo! Take out that sniper!"

"Understood!" *gunshot* "Target's down, captain!"

By three-quarters of the way through, it sounds more like this:

"Kill that fucking sniper already!"

"Fine!" *gunshot* "He's dead!"

These guys started off with an amazing group dynamic. They functioned as a team, and they interacted when not in combat as friends. But as the game goes on, that friendship is increasingly strained. There are even a few moments where it seems like it's at its breaking point, but the third member acts as a voice of reason and they keep moving. It's those moments becoming increasingly rare (when someone manages to diffuse the situation without requiring enemy troops arriving) that makes the group's downfall so tragic.

And Jesus tapdancing Christ, if you've played the game, you know what scene Yahtzee is talking about when he mentions the one that made him feel awful. If you only think you know, then keep playing. You probably haven't gotten to the scene yet. The dev team even said that it was supposed to be reminiscent of the memorable AC-130 sequence from Modern Warfare. Think about that if you've played it.

SickBritKid:
Yahtzee, is there just something about your limeys and your inability to appreciate the military putting their asses on the line so that you don't have to? Y'know, protecting your freedoms, preventing your own slaughter at the hands of those who despise you and want you to eat the soles of their boots?

I'm worried already because you've kicked things off with a racial slur within ten words of the start of your post. Yes, 'limey' is a racial slur. White people just aren't allowed to be upset by white-slurs, I guess.

SickBritKid:
Look, I'm a conservative and I dislike the shit we've gotten into with our wars and our expended blood and treasure.

I still love and support my military, however, as those men and women are out there defending my freedoms.

I'm not really sure where he shat on the military during his review. He said he didn't like the whole buddy-cop feeling that a lot of squad-based war shooters do when trying to evoke a 'realistic' feeling in warfare.

SickBritKid:
I'm not proud of what's been committed in the name of god and country, but as one legendary general once said: "War is hell." And there comes a time when war is needed to ensure that the decent folk of this world don't wind up getting shat upon by that flaky bitch, Fate.

Alright, rather than going more in-depth than I'd normally, I'm going to ask a simple question:

Have you played the game?

Char-Nobyl:

I'm worried already because you've kicked things off with a racial slur within ten words of the start of your post. Yes, 'limey' is a racial slur. White people just aren't allowed to be upset by white-slurs, I guess.

I'm not really sure where he shat on the military during his review. He said he didn't like the whole buddy-cop feeling that a lot of squad-based war shooters do when trying to evoke a 'realistic' feeling in warfare.

Have you played the game?

For one, I use "limey" affectionately, and not at all derogatorily toward Brits. I'm descended from Britain(specifically Scotland and Wales as well as Ireland, though that's a different country) and I love the country.

And it's not him directly shitting on the military in this one so much as how he's done so in past reviews of similar shooters.

And yes, I've play Spec Ops. It's narrative is beautiful, in a very macabre way. The Fog of War and other such things, however, I tend to find being blamed upon military men and women more often than not, despite it being call "The Fog of War" for a reason.

SickBritKid:
For one, I use "limey" affectionately, and not at all derogatorily toward Brits.

Then it's unfortunate that this is text-based medium, and thus I have no way of being able to tell that. It's also a bit feeble to assert that you're using an ethnic slur "affectionately." I don't think many people do that.

SickBritKid:
I'm descended from Britain(specifically Scotland and Wales as well as Ireland, though that's a different country) and I love the country.

...so you're descended from people who are stereotypically notorious for hating the English? I'm not sure how that helps your argument.

SickBritKid:
And it's not him directly shitting on the military in this one so much as how he's done so in past reviews of similar shooters.

Then wouldn't it be more pertinent to address the issue...well, on those videos?

SickBritKid:
And yes, I've play Spec Ops. It's narrative is beautiful, in a very macabre way. The Fog of War and other such things, however, I tend to find being blamed upon military men and women more often than not, despite it being call "The Fog of War" for a reason.

And yet, Spec Ops contains relatively little to that point. It isn't supposed to be looking at "necessary" wars, nor is it trying to excuse or condemn soldiers for events beyond their control. The entire story centers around multiple factions trying to achieve radically different goals, but none of them being able to do so without bloodying their hands.

Not only that, but each group shares the notion that they need to do more because of what they've already done. As the adage goes, it's "Throwing good money after bad." There are countless points where any of the groups could have simply called it quits and hightailed it out of Dubai, but they continued to pile up atrocities in the name of finishing what they started, no matter how twisted their original mission had become.

So no. Just because war is hell doesn't justify burying your hands in it simply because you can. That quotation was meant as a lamentation of war, not a justification of wartime atrocities.

Char-Nobyl:

Then it's unfortunate that this is text-based medium, and thus I have no way of being able to tell that. It's also a bit feeble to assert that you're using an ethnic slur "affectionately." I don't think many people do that.

I'm surprised you took it to heart like that. Limey's an old term, IIRC, and has fallen out of slang in terms of being derogatory, much like "cracker" has become for white folks, though I still get rankled if a black person uses it to my face like that.

Char-Nobyl:

...so you're descended from people who are stereotypically notorious for hating the English? I'm not sure how that helps your argument.

Why? While I'm proud of my heritage, I don't hold the past against the present, like some do. And, at the same time, Wales and Scotland are apart of the UK as a whole, as well as a chunk of Ireland, so...

Char-Nobyl:

Then wouldn't it be more pertinent to address the issue...well, on those videos?

I have. Doesn't change Yahtzee's general "Fuck America and fuck her servicemen and women" tone whenever the subject comes up. Oftentimes, I ponder whether or not he's got a streak of xenophobia toward the States.

Char-Nobyl:

And yet, Spec Ops contains relatively little to that point. It isn't supposed to be looking at "necessary" wars, nor is it trying to excuse or condemn soldiers for events beyond their control. The entire story centers around multiple factions trying to achieve radically different goals, but none of them being able to do so without bloodying their hands.

Yet it still does contain a good bit to that point: The protagonist's later-game insanity is fueled by that instant where he unknowingly torches a whole crowd of civilians. The fact that a member of the squad is saying during that sequence "We need to be sure", in addition to the railroading of the protagonist, shows that there's more at play during that entire clusterfuck than just the protagonist.

Char-Nobyl:
Not only that, but each group shares the notion that they need to do more because of what they've already done. As the adage goes, it's "Throwing good money after bad." There are countless points where any of the groups could have simply called it quits and hightailed it out of Dubai, but they continued to pile up atrocities in the name of finishing what they started, no matter how twisted their original mission had become.

"Downwards is the only way forwards", they say.

After all, remember how the game can end: If Walker survives, he can call in the evacuation that his squad was originally sent to do, which could save a lot of innocents from the whole mess. So the ending can get somewhat bittersweet, though more-or-less Pyrrhic in nature, so even though Walker's gone through the grinder and emerged on the other side embittered, self-loathing, and damn near suicidal, the objectives were accomplished in the end, though at a shit ton of cost.

Char-Nobyl:
So no. Just because war is hell doesn't justify burying your hands in it simply because you can. That quotation was meant as a lamentation of war, not a justification of wartime atrocities.

Remember where "War is Hell" came from: William Tecumseh Sherman of the Northern Army during the American Civil War. The man was notorious for being rather brutal during his conquest of the South during the ending days, as he was basically destroying and dismantling the South's economy to prevent further longevity in the war. He wound up incurring civilian casualties in the process, but his efforts helped bring about a quick end to the war and the reunification of the United States.

So for me, "War is hell" is not just a lamentation of war, but it's also a lamentation of what sometimes must be done in order to win one, because those acts may not be the prettiest thing in the world but they got the job done(case in point: Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

I bought the game yesterday and just finished it an hour ago.

Jebus Christ. If there's a game I ever played that can give me PTSD, it's this. It may not have the most original gameplay and the controls are erratic, but this is the most human shooter-game I've ever played in a long time. I thought I was going to have nightmares after going through the "really bad thing" that Yahtzee mentioned.

I don't think I can play another shooter for awhile.

So

Ldude893:
I thought I was going to have nightmares after going through the "really bad thing" that Yahtzee mentioned.

Can someone tell me what this "really bad thing" is? I'm on Chapter 11 and haven't come across anything except

which wasn't even a choice, since I tried to kill them using guns and they just kept respawning. I shot a guy on the roof and another guy just popped out of nowhere back into his position, 8 or 9 times.

SickBritKid:
I'm surprised you took it to heart like that. Limey's an old term, IIRC, and has fallen out of slang in terms of being derogatory, much like "cracker" has become for white folks, though I still get rankled if a black person uses it to my face like that.

If you're going to accuse someone of being bigoted, generally it isn't wise to use ethnic slurs while you're at it.

SickBritKid:
Why? While I'm proud of my heritage, I don't hold the past against the present, like some do. And, at the same time, Wales and Scotland are apart of the UK as a whole, as well as a chunk of Ireland, so...

Because you were citing your heritage as a reason for using 'limey' as an endearing term when said heritage would point to the contrary. If anyone is going to be using 'limey' as an endearing term, it isn't people from the countries most notorious for hating England.

SickBritKid:
I have. Doesn't change Yahtzee's general "Fuck America and fuck her servicemen and women" tone whenever the subject comes up. Oftentimes, I ponder whether or not he's got a streak of xenophobia toward the States.

That's because he (often times quite rightly) doesn't see the point in playing as America in a modern war game. Look at the two most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those were, for all intents and purposes, curbstomps. Any games set in similar regions would play out as, "High-tech, well-trained military kicks the crap out of impoverished underdog." Stuff like the AC-130 scene from MW just drives the point home: you're a vastly superior foe that's effectively untouchable to the ants you casually stomp on from your flying artillery-fortress.

SickBritKid:
Yet it still does contain a good bit to that point: The protagonist's later-game insanity is fueled by that instant where he unknowingly torches a whole crowd of civilians. The fact that a member of the squad is saying during that sequence "We need to be sure", in addition to the railroading of the protagonist, shows that there's more at play during that entire clusterfuck than just the protagonist.

You missed the entire point of that sequence, then. The developers have outright said that they wanted players to blame them for not giving them any choice other than using the WP mortar because it reflected Walker's own attempts to blame everything that he did in Dubai on Konrad.

If players really felt so disgusted at what they had to do, they should have turned off their Xbox and returned the game. It's a point that I thought MW2 missed completely by giving half a dozen options for players to skip the airport scene. Your CO said it himself: "You don't want to know what it's cost already to put you next to him. It will cost you a piece of yourself. It will cost nothing compared to everything you'll save." It's a game where you kill hundreds, if not thousands of people. This is no different. None of the missions were ever about killing for fun.

SickBritKid:
"Downwards is the only way forwards", they say.

That's not true at all. They could have called for reinforcements, like they were supposed to, but Walker slowly but surely altered their mission parameters until...

...actually, do you remember that one loading screen towards the end? When even the game outside of actual gameplay was messing with your head? The one that hit me the hardest was, quite simply, "Do you even remember what your mission was?" When I saw that, I realized that I'd forgotten what it actually was. It had nothing to do with Korad or the 33rd. But I'd forgotten that, just like Walker had.

SickBritKid:
After all, remember how the game can end: If Walker survives, he can call in the evacuation that his squad was originally sent to do, which could save a lot of innocents from the whole mess. So the ending can get somewhat bittersweet, though more-or-less Pyrrhic in nature, so even though Walker's gone through the grinder and emerged on the other side embittered, self-loathing, and damn near suicidal, the objectives were accomplished in the end, though at a shit ton of cost.

Erm...I don't think so, man. There was basically no water left in Dubai, thanks to the player/Walker's actions. When the events of the game ended, Walker had mild stubble...when the US rescue team showed up, he had a full beard.

So to be honest? I really don't think that whatever water the civilians were gathering up in jerrycans would be enough for the several weeks it'd take for him to grow a full beard.

SickBritKid:
Remember where "War is Hell" came from: William Tecumseh Sherman of the Northern Army during the American Civil War. The man was notorious for being rather brutal during his conquest of the South during the ending days, as he was basically destroying and dismantling the South's economy to prevent further longevity in the war. He wound up incurring civilian casualties in the process, but his efforts helped bring about a quick end to the war and the reunification of the United States.

So for me, "War is hell" is not just a lamentation of war, but it's also a lamentation of what sometimes must be done in order to win one, because those acts may not be the prettiest thing in the world but they got the job done(case in point: Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

Oh, the Civil War. I'm glad that you brought that up.

Here's the thing about Sherman: he really didn't like what he had to do. He was good at it, to be sure, but here's the full text of from his letter to the mayor of Atlanta. It comes down to a few key lines:

"You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war...[w]e don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and, if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it."

Now contrast that with this (emphasis is mine):

"I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you, you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early success.

But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter."

Sherman didn't consider every person to be a combatant within an enemy nation. Far from it. Atlanta was a valuable industrial and commerce hub for the Confederacy, and Sherman was furious that it somehow thought that it could fuel a war that he'd seen at arm's length for years and then plead for him not to bring that war right back to its doorstep.

He wasn't saying that sometimes civilians have to die because war is hell. He was saying that war is hell, and anyone who actively perpetuates it deserves nothing less. In another letter, he offers the city of Savannah generous terms of surrender. But, if they refused, "...should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army-burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war."

Blood Brain Barrier:
So

Ldude893:
I thought I was going to have nightmares after going through the "really bad thing" that Yahtzee mentioned.

Can someone tell me what this "really bad thing" is? I'm on Chapter 11 and haven't come across anything except

which wasn't even a choice, since I tried to kill them using guns and they just kept respawning. I shot a guy on the roof and another guy just popped out of nowhere back into his position, 8 or 9 times.

Why would they use the white phosphorous if they thought they could just shoot their way through? They had just seen its use on a group of insurgents, and they knew exactly what it would do to its targets.

So you tried shooting your way through? Alright, and let me guess how that went: you either died, or ran out of ammo and then died. Exactly what the team of Delta Operators thought would happen.

Char-Nobyl:

Blood Brain Barrier:
So

Ldude893:
I thought I was going to have nightmares after going through the "really bad thing" that Yahtzee mentioned.

Can someone tell me what this "really bad thing" is? I'm on Chapter 11 and haven't come across anything except

which wasn't even a choice, since I tried to kill them using guns and they just kept respawning. I shot a guy on the roof and another guy just popped out of nowhere back into his position, 8 or 9 times.

Why would they use the white phosphorous if they thought they could just shoot their way through? They had just seen its use on a group of insurgents, and they knew exactly what it would do to its targets.

So you tried shooting your way through? Alright, and let me guess how that went: you either died, or ran out of ammo and then died. Exactly what the team of Delta Operators thought would happen.

No, I just told you what happened: the game cheated. It respawned enemies making it impossible to choose any other option than using white phosphorus, an option which I would have not taken in real life. I would have sooner run away and hide. And then the ending blamed me for not doing exactly that.

If you're going to accuse someone of being bigoted, generally it isn't wise to use ethnic slurs while you're at it.

It's an outdated and antiquated insult and carries next to no weight anymore. You're taking it way too seriously.

Because you were citing your heritage as a reason for using 'limey' as an endearing term when said heritage would point to the contrary. If anyone is going to be using 'limey' as an endearing term, it isn't people from the countries most notorious for hating England.

Well, I'm not FROM Scotland or Ireland or Wales and, if anything, I hold descent from the UK, considering that Scotland, parts of Ireland, and Wales are apart of it.

That's because he (often times quite rightly) doesn't see the point in playing as America in a modern war game. Look at the two most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those were, for all intents and purposes, curbstomps. Any games set in similar regions would play out as, "High-tech, well-trained military kicks the crap out of impoverished underdog." Stuff like the AC-130 scene from MW just drives the point home: you're a vastly superior foe that's effectively untouchable to the ants you casually stomp on from your flying artillery-fortress.

And that's a reason to hate on the military because...?

You missed the entire point of that sequence, then. The developers have outright said that they wanted players to blame them for not giving them any choice other than using the WP mortar because it reflected Walker's own attempts to blame everything that he did in Dubai on Konrad.

Uh, no I didn't. As I said, "having to be sure" implies fog of war to at least some extent in terms of having to use the white phosphorous mortar. The railroading, though I disliked it, helped get the point across.

If players really felt so disgusted at what they had to do, they should have turned off their Xbox and returned the game. It's a point that I thought MW2 missed completely by giving half a dozen options for players to skip the airport scene. Your CO said it himself: "You don't want to know what it's cost already to put you next to him. It will cost you a piece of yourself. It will cost nothing compared to everything you'll save." It's a game where you kill hundreds, if not thousands of people. This is no different. None of the missions were ever about killing for fun.

And yet Yahtzee expressed extreme distaste and hatred for those games because he saw them as "jingoistic dick-waving American games."

That's not true at all. They could have called for reinforcements, like they were supposed to, but Walker slowly but surely altered their mission parameters until...

...actually, do you remember that one loading screen towards the end? When even the game outside of actual gameplay was messing with your head? The one that hit me the hardest was, quite simply, "Do you even remember what your mission was?" When I saw that, I realized that I'd forgotten what it actually was. It had nothing to do with Korad or the 33rd. But I'd forgotten that, just like Walker had.

Actually, no I don't, but you make a good point. Yeah, I enjoyed the way the developers were delivering the subtle "What the Hell, Player?" in a way that Hideo Kojima*cough*MGS2*cough* could only dream of.

Erm...I don't think so, man. There was basically no water left in Dubai, thanks to the player/Walker's actions. When the events of the game ended, Walker had mild stubble...when the US rescue team showed up, he had a full beard.

So to be honest? I really don't think that whatever water the civilians were gathering up in jerrycans would be enough for the several weeks it'd take for him to grow a full beard.

I don't know about you, but it doesn't take me "several weeks" to grow a full beard. Hell, if I don't shave for a solid week, then my stubble is halfway there as it is.

Still, even though the water was gone, you can still have Walker call in the evac, as was the original mission, and get the people of Dubai out of there.

Here's the thing about Sherman: he really didn't like what he had to do. He was good at it, to be sure, but here's the full text of from his letter to the mayor of Atlanta. It comes down to a few key lines:

"You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war...[w]e don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and, if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it."

So you just proved my point: Even those who do what they have to do to win a war(though mortaring a civilian group isn't really "what they have to do") still find distaste and hatred for their actions, in the end.

Sherman didn't consider every person to be a combatant within an enemy nation. Far from it. Atlanta was a valuable industrial and commerce hub for the Confederacy, and Sherman was furious that it somehow thought that it could fuel a war that he'd seen at arm's length for years and then plead for him not to bring that war right back to its doorstep.

And in the process, Sherman did wind up killing a good bit of civilians during his March to the Sea. The fact of the matter is, in war there are always moments where civilians are caught in the crosshairs between you and your objective. And there comes a time where one has to make that decision to pull the trigger or risk victory.

It's one of the reasons Iraq turned into such a clusterfuck after Baghdad fell: Terrorist combatants hid themselves amongst the innocent and used it to their advantage, and our troops, meanwhile, were tasked with being a police force rather than soldiers.

He wasn't saying that sometimes civilians have to die because war is hell. He was saying that war is hell, and anyone who actively perpetuates it deserves nothing less. In another letter, he offers the city of Savannah generous terms of surrender. But, if they refused, "...should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army-burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war."

But, as I said before, there WERE moments where he had to kill civilians in order to accomplish his objectives, and he still performed his duty despite that.

Blood Brain Barrier:
No, I just told you what happened: the game cheated. It respawned enemies making it impossible to choose any other option than using white phosphorus,

So the whole 'too numerous to kill by conventional means' thing went right over your head, I guess? From the sound of it, you started shooting, and as soon as another soldier filled the place on advantageous highground left vacant by a downed comrade, you threw up your hands and screamed "Impossible!" then quit.

Because otherwise, it wouldn't matter if the game was 'cheating' or not. That wasn't my question. I asked whether or not your encounter ended with A) you running out of ammo and dying or B) dying before that point. And if you were up against infinitely respawning enemies, that would've been the case.

Blood Brain Barrier:
an option which I would have not taken in real life. I would have sooner run away and hide. And then the ending blamed me for not doing exactly that.

So in 'real life,' you would have simply proven yourself to be a terrible soldier undeserving of the prestigious ranks of Delta Force? Okay. I'll accept that.

Char-Nobyl:

Blood Brain Barrier:
No, I just told you what happened: the game cheated. It respawned enemies making it impossible to choose any other option than using white phosphorus,

So the whole 'too numerous to kill by conventional means' thing went right over your head, I guess? From the sound of it, you started shooting, and as soon as another soldier filled the place on advantageous highground left vacant by a downed comrade, you threw up your hands and screamed "Impossible!" then quit.

Because otherwise, it wouldn't matter if the game was 'cheating' or not. That wasn't my question. I asked whether or not your encounter ended with A) you running out of ammo and dying or B) dying before that point. And if you were up against infinitely respawning enemies, that would've been the case.

It's a game. You can tell what options it's giving you. Given that in 99% of the game ammo clips are all over the place and I rarely ran out, it's inconceivable that I wouldn't have enough ammo. But since the game didn't let me run back where I came from to retrieve more, that wasn't possible. I did run out, but by that point I knew that the game had an infinite supply of soldiers to throw at me (infinite, not "too numerous to kill by conventional means").

I still don't believe in real life I would be presented with the choice "use this white phosphorus or die". It's not realistic.

Blood Brain Barrier:
an option which I would have not taken in real life. I would have sooner run away and hide. And then the ending blamed me for not doing exactly that.

So in 'real life,' you would have simply proven yourself to be a terrible soldier undeserving of the prestigious ranks of Delta Force? Okay. I'll accept that.

If those prestigious ranks are obtained by killing a huge number of people to save a select few, I don't need them.

Also, did you ever think what would be the effect of this action would be down the track? Stuff like this is what causes events like 9/11.

Blood Brain Barrier:
It's a game. You can tell what options it's giving you. Given that in 99% of the game ammo clips are all over the place and I rarely ran out, it's inconceivable that I wouldn't have enough ammo. But since the game didn't let me run back where I came from to retrieve more, that wasn't possible.

Despite all the "Ammo is scarce in Dubai" notes during the loading screens, you fully believed that you'd never run across a situation where you'd actually need to do stuff to save bullets?

Blood Brain Barrier:
I did run out, but by that point I knew that the game had an infinite supply of soldiers to throw at me (infinite, not "too numerous to kill by conventional means").

Let's pretend for a moment that you managed to pull off some sort of glitch that let you carry two SAWs, which have the largest magazines in the game. And assuming that on the lowest possible difficulty, you could kill the average enemy soldier with 5-10 rounds, which we'll average for simplicity's sake. And I'll be generous and assume that you're some sort of super soldier, so you'll never miss a shot.

So in your 400 round ammo pool, you'd have enough to kill 53 soldiers. That's not even half a company, and the Damned 33rd was a battalion. You killed at absolute most around 50 guys, and then quit and assumed that 50 was more enemies than there could possibly be in the entire universe. Because, bear in mind, that's what 'infinite' means.

Blood Brain Barrier:
I still don't believe in real life I would be presented with the choice "use this white phosphorus or die". It's not realistic.

How? How is it not realistic? You're facing a large body of enemy soldiers with nothing but small arms and two other allies, and you happen to find a weapon capable of leveling the playing field. In this case, it was a white phosphorous mortar. Time is of the essence, so you don't have the luxury of sitting in a corner and waiting for each individual enemy to come around for you to pick off. You added the stipulation that this is about 'realism,' and 'realistically,' Walker and his men were running on borrowed time to begin with.

Blood Brain Barrier:
If those prestigious ranks are obtained by killing a huge number of people to save a select few, I don't need them.

...what? I'm not even sure who the groups you're alluding to would be. Because it wasn't their plan to kill the civilians, nor was it their plan to start a war with the remnants of the 33rd. They were fired upon, and spent the first several firefights trying to shout them down.

Blood Brain Barrier:
Also, did you ever think what would be the effect of this action would be down the track? Stuff like this is what causes events like 9/11.

While I'm baffled that you're implying 9/11 was directly somebody's fault (besides the perpetrators themselves), I'm not sure what you're getting at, either. Do you mean Walker's actions, or the 33rd's, or what? Because if the latter, that's why the CIA was in Dubai in the first place.

After watching this review, it made me want to pick up this game more than I already did.

Anyway, after playing I came to watch this again and I have to agree. It is such a good, story driven game, and yet hardly any of my friends both online and in real life haven't even heard of it. Such a shame but regardless I am impressed and I'm glad that other people agree that MP and fast paced action is all shooters should be about.

SickBritKid:

That's what our military's doing. America and the West stood by and let the world turn itself pre-9/11, and it was that day that showed us the true threat terrorism poses to us.

Indeed it did, it showed the threats of morons using terrorism as an excuse to do stupid shit. More Americans will die today than have died on 9/11 from the plane crashes. 9/11 shows how much we could overly react and that's it.

Well, I just played through Spec Ops: The Line. And I have to say, it has been a while since a game story gripped me quite like that. Not just because of the bad thing you're told to do by the game itself, but because of how it all feels. It starts out like any shooter available, and give you the time to shoot stuff and hear some smartass dialouge from your comrades.

And then it all goes downhill. You encounter more and more atrocities as you go, even take part in a few of them. Any semblance of happiness is snuffed out by the sheer weight of reality, even the loading screens chastise you for your actions. And soon enough, you realize that Walker may not be as stable as you once thought, leading you to rapidly doubt what is real within the game, until it all comes to a climax that leaves you as emotionally empty as Walker himself.

Overall, I had a good time.

C117:
Well, I just played through Spec Ops: The Line. And I have to say, it has been a while since a game story gripped me quite like that. Not just because of the bad thing you're told to do by the game itself, but because of how it all feels. It starts out like any shooter available, and give you the time to shoot stuff and hear some smartass dialouge from your comrades.

And then it all goes downhill. You encounter more and more atrocities as you go, even take part in a few of them. Any semblance of happiness is snuffed out by the sheer weight of reality, even the loading screens chastise you for your actions. And soon enough, you realize that Walker may not be as stable as you once thought, leading you to rapidly doubt what is real within the game, until it all comes to a climax that leaves you as emotionally empty as Walker himself.

Overall, I had a good time.

mike1921:

SickBritKid:

That's what our military's doing. America and the West stood by and let the world turn itself pre-9/11, and it was that day that showed us the true threat terrorism poses to us.

Indeed it did, it showed the threats of morons using terrorism as an excuse to do stupid shit. More Americans will die today than have died on 9/11 from the plane crashes. 9/11 shows how much we could overly react and that's it.

"Stupid shit" being wiping out the camps that trained the bastards who slaughtered civilians in addition to apprehending or killing the bastards who slaughtered our civilians, eh?

SickBritKid:

C117:
Well, I just played through Spec Ops: The Line. And I have to say, it has been a while since a game story gripped me quite like that. Not just because of the bad thing you're told to do by the game itself, but because of how it all feels. It starts out like any shooter available, and give you the time to shoot stuff and hear some smartass dialouge from your comrades.

And then it all goes downhill. You encounter more and more atrocities as you go, even take part in a few of them. Any semblance of happiness is snuffed out by the sheer weight of reality, even the loading screens chastise you for your actions. And soon enough, you realize that Walker may not be as stable as you once thought, leading you to rapidly doubt what is real within the game, until it all comes to a climax that leaves you as emotionally empty as Walker himself.

Overall, I had a good time.

mike1921:

SickBritKid:

That's what our military's doing. America and the West stood by and let the world turn itself pre-9/11, and it was that day that showed us the true threat terrorism poses to us.

Indeed it did, it showed the threats of morons using terrorism as an excuse to do stupid shit. More Americans will die today than have died on 9/11 from the plane crashes. 9/11 shows how much we could overly react and that's it.

"Stupid shit" being wiping out the camps that trained the bastards who slaughtered civilians in addition to apprehending or killing the bastards who slaughtered our civilians, eh?

No that's a reasonable response, using it as an excuse for a war that we've been in longer than WWII isn't a reasonable response though, using it as an excuse to pass laws that infringe upon your rights isn't a reasonable response, using it to justify torture (making people hate us more, and more likely to attack in the future) isn't a reasonable response, using it to justify a retardedly huge military isn't.

mike1921:

SickBritKid:

C117:
Well, I just played through Spec Ops: The Line. And I have to say, it has been a while since a game story gripped me quite like that. Not just because of the bad thing you're told to do by the game itself, but because of how it all feels. It starts out like any shooter available, and give you the time to shoot stuff and hear some smartass dialouge from your comrades.

And then it all goes downhill. You encounter more and more atrocities as you go, even take part in a few of them. Any semblance of happiness is snuffed out by the sheer weight of reality, even the loading screens chastise you for your actions. And soon enough, you realize that Walker may not be as stable as you once thought, leading you to rapidly doubt what is real within the game, until it all comes to a climax that leaves you as emotionally empty as Walker himself.

Overall, I had a good time.

mike1921:

Indeed it did, it showed the threats of morons using terrorism as an excuse to do stupid shit. More Americans will die today than have died on 9/11 from the plane crashes. 9/11 shows how much we could overly react and that's it.

"Stupid shit" being wiping out the camps that trained the bastards who slaughtered civilians in addition to apprehending or killing the bastards who slaughtered our civilians, eh?

No that's a reasonable response, using it as an excuse for a war that we've been in longer than WWII isn't a reasonable response though, using it as an excuse to pass laws that infringe upon your rights isn't a reasonable response, using it to justify torture (making people hate us more, and more likely to attack in the future) isn't a reasonable response, using it to justify a retardedly huge military isn't.

My heart goes out the POOR terrorists who are busy receiving above-average healthcare and accommodations in Gitmo despite deserving far more than the "torture" they're receiving.

Also, I love how you're talking about the Iraq war like it's still going on, even though we've been done with it for about a year, now. And it's not nearly as costly toward this country as the ridiculous spending policies and the waste in our government, much of it courtesy of our present administration.

SickBritKid:

mike1921:

SickBritKid:

"Stupid shit" being wiping out the camps that trained the bastards who slaughtered civilians in addition to apprehending or killing the bastards who slaughtered our civilians, eh?

No that's a reasonable response, using it as an excuse for a war that we've been in longer than WWII isn't a reasonable response though, using it as an excuse to pass laws that infringe upon your rights isn't a reasonable response, using it to justify torture (making people hate us more, and more likely to attack in the future) isn't a reasonable response, using it to justify a retardedly huge military isn't.

My heart goes out the POOR terrorists who are busy receiving above-average healthcare and accommodations in Gitmo despite deserving far more than the "torture" they're receiving.

Also, I love how you're talking about the Iraq war like it's still going on, even though we've been done with it for about a year, now. And it's not nearly as costly toward this country as the ridiculous spending policies and the waste in our government, much of it courtesy of our present administration.

Have they had a fucking trial? If no then fuck you for assuming that if the government says you're a terrorist that you are. It amazes me that the conservatives, the ones who claim to hate big government are the first to advocate for a government that they trust so much that they could just label you a terrorist and torture you without a fucking trial.

Because we're not at war in afghanistan or anything, it's not like our military budget is by far the highest in the world or anything.

Great, yes we have problems just blame Obama because why the fuck not. The president is obviously the main force behind policy not the actual ..you know..LEGISLATIVE branch of the fucking government. We are wasting so much fucking money on the military which doesn't fucking help anyone and wasting too much potential revenue with tax loopholes that we refuse to fix.

This game didn't have much impact on me for one specific reason.
The "Bad thing" that you do didn't make me feel bad about myself at all, because unlike Walker and his buddies, you as a player -literally- had no other choice than to do the "Bad thing" if you wanted to move on.
It would have had a massive impact if I had had the option to not do the "Bad thing" yet had done it anyway for the sake of convenience, then found out later the horrible truth of the "Bad thing". But that wasn't the case, it was the only way to finish the game, and if a game company tries to make you feel bad for finishing the game you dropped 60$ on, well.. that's something I would openly and honestly -laugh in their faces- for.

"Do you remember when games were about killing demons from Hell?"
Ironically, I picked up Shadows of the Damned at the same time as I (finally) bought Spec Ops: the Line... I play those games when I'm in very different moods...

I agree that the gameplay was pretty forgettable, but egads the story was genius, I can see why it made Yahtzee's no 1 game of 2012.

I like the cabin in the woods explanation, nothing about the game play is un-remarkable- it plays like the usual [insert shooter] but I thought I'd give it a go.

I can't think of the last time a game made me step back from the action of being enthralled playing it to think of consequences at points this was demoralising as often I had no choice between the wrongs I committed and the character(s) bear the weight of all these decisions. I also liked the fact that the characters aren't simple stereotypes which is pretty rare.

I can't remember the last time a game genuinely impressed me and moved me so much (but then I haven't played the Walking Dead yet) however I might not play it again for a while though, I'm pretty drained now.

My thought process: Hey, Yahtzee said good things about this game... and it's on sale on Steam! I'll buy it!
*One playthrough later* (warning: memetic image below)

I realise I am very late here, but I would like to add my comment anyways. For a long while I forgot about Zero Punctuation, and I spent yesterday catching up on the past year and a half of episodes. On Yahtzee's strong recommendation of Spec Ops, I picked it up. Unfortunately, I found myself extremely disappointed.

Yahtzee never makes the gameplay out to be anything more that just another generic modern FPS, and it isn't. It has no features of any kind to make the gameplay mechanics stand out from the other fifteen modern FPS games released in the past year. The squad command is incredibly half-baked and ultimately useless, as Yahtzee says. Of course, the gameplay is not why Yahtzee recommends the game.

The storyline... did not capture me. At all. I find myself emotionally invested in media quite easily, but Spec Ops was not a video game I found myself invested in. The goal seems to be to make you feel guilty for the horrors of war you've committed, but... you didn't commit any horrible acts. The character you play as did, but you had no choice in the matter. How am I supposed to feel guilty for what another person did? For a video game to invoke guilt, you must be given the choice. You have to be immersed in it, to feel like it's you making the choice, not the avatar you control. Following a linear script doesn't make me feel guilty. Outside of trying to force a guilt trip, the storyline was not special in any way. It was just another generic modern FPS story.

I doubt anyone will read this, but if you do and are thinking about purchasing Spec Ops, I recommend that you don't waste the money. I don't know how this game enamored Yahtzee so, but it was a waste of time and money to me. It had nothing of value to separate it from any other modern FPS game released in the past five years.

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