Crossing Spec Ops: The Line

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sebashepin:

SpiderJerusalem:

I honestly think you're right. Even though i enjoyed the scene, it was fairly easy to see it coming. Anyone who considers that moment anything but railroaded is terribly confused.

However, i don't find linear storytelling that bad of a thing. It worked for me because i single-mindedly fired at everything that moved, and by the time i realized there was no way those white dots were soldiers i had already let loose the round.

Oh, I agree, I have absolutely no problem with linear storytelling. I'm a big fan of it. The Uncharted games are amongst my favorites of the current generation and they've got nothing to them in terms of choice.

But what really gets me about that Spec Ops is that it somehow believes its own bullcrap about how deep it is. I tried last night, and even if you decidedly don't fire at the civilians, it still triggers the same cut scene! The game is so hellbent on going for the "look what you did!" angle that it totally shoots itself in the foot doing so.

From an interview with the designers"
"During the 'White Phosphorus' scene, Walker buries his guilt and casts blame on Konrad and the 33rd, all in an attempt to keep going. Our hope was that the player would do the same-cast the blame on us, the designers"

Whelp, judging by this thread, slam dunk, fellas.

inb4 'it's just an excuse for bad design'

I shouldn't, but reading this whole comments thread makes me think,

"oh.

It's Bioshock."

Dolfboy:
From an interview with the designers"
"During the 'White Phosphorus' scene, Walker buries his guilt and casts blame on Konrad and the 33rd, all in an attempt to keep going. Our hope was that the player would do the same-cast the blame on us, the designers"

Whelp, judging by this thread, slam dunk, fellas.

inb4 'it's just an excuse for bad design'

Umm, yeah? It is. Force the player to do something and then scold them for doing it and pretend that it's some kind of artistic statement? That's bad design right there.

SpiderJerusalem:

Dolfboy:
From an interview with the designers"
"During the 'White Phosphorus' scene, Walker buries his guilt and casts blame on Konrad and the 33rd, all in an attempt to keep going. Our hope was that the player would do the same-cast the blame on us, the designers"

Whelp, judging by this thread, slam dunk, fellas.

inb4 'it's just an excuse for bad design'

Umm, yeah? It is. Force the player to do something and then scold them for doing it and pretend that it's some kind of artistic statement? That's bad design right there.

Getting people like you so butthurt that you post furiously about how other people should "Stop liking what I don't like!" while most others who've played the game got something out of it?

I'd say that counts for excellent design.

So much weird butthurt in here...

draythefingerless:

so you wanted a winning option?

3 guys vs entire base, complete with snipers, explosives, and armored vehicles. yeah no, youre not rambo.

furthermore, it would debunk the whole white phospherous thing, by giving it a polar opposite. basically you would only use the phospherous if youre an evil bastard, and youre a white knight if you attack the base. whats the fucking point then? it becomes a jedi vs sith situation.

Damn straight i wanted a winning option.

Because Walker *is* Rambo. You go through the game killing bases worth of troops before that scene, and bases worth of troops after that scene. What makes that particular base so special that it pulls the infinite respawn, you cant win trick? Even if it was hard as hell to win it conventionally I would still make it satisfying to do it.

I died 4 times that scene. Three from the infinite respawning snipers. Once from that last humvee because i realized there was that bunch of civilians nearby and wasted time trying to splash the humvee to death without hitting the civies. On the 5th time i sighed, and hit the humvee square in the center, watching the phosphorous round explode in a radius at least twice as large as all the ones before it.

There were too many changes of the rules for that scene to have the effect of making me feel guilty.

The one decision i made i somewhat regretted later was playing along with "Konrad" and shooting one of the prisoners(I chose the murderous soldier). I thought refusing would lead to another unwinnable situation like the phosphorous scene.

SpiderJerusalem:

sebashepin:

SpiderJerusalem:

I honestly think you're right. Even though i enjoyed the scene, it was fairly easy to see it coming. Anyone who considers that moment anything but railroaded is terribly confused.

However, i don't find linear storytelling that bad of a thing. It worked for me because i single-mindedly fired at everything that moved, and by the time i realized there was no way those white dots were soldiers i had already let loose the round.

Oh, I agree, I have absolutely no problem with linear storytelling. I'm a big fan of it. The Uncharted games are amongst my favorites of the current generation and they've got nothing to them in terms of choice.

But what really gets me about that Spec Ops is that it somehow believes its own bullcrap about how deep it is. I tried last night, and even if you decidedly don't fire at the civilians, it still triggers the same cut scene! The game is so hellbent on going for the "look what you did!" angle that it totally shoots itself in the foot doing so.

Why is everyone so fixated on the white phosphorus scene? Pretty much the entire game consists of nothing but Walker doing the opposite of what I would do in any given situation. Why is it so terrible that he does it there?

I felt no personal guilt for what happened, but that doesn't mean I can't understand and identify with Walker's guilt, and I think that scene and really the entire game work quite well that way. Maybe it helps that this is the first modern-day shooter I've ever played, since I find the general concept quite distasteful, but yeah, this game really, really got to me.

I think it is important to make the distinction between player and protagonist agency, especially in games like Spec Ops. I never felt as if I was making the choice to fire the white phosphorous, but I rather considered it a decision on the part of the protagonist. Then I fired away with it gleefully (even though I did catch on once I saw the huge blob unarmed, unmoving people by the end of the bombing run) and accepted the resulting slow walk of guilt scene as something that was affecting the protagonist, not me as the player. Meanwhile, I also thought it had a second layer of "meaning" as a deconstruction of similar scenes in other military FPS-games where the resulting horror is rarely, if ever, shown and the whole use of WP/AC-130/Artillery/Whatever is meant to make the player go "wow, this is awesome".

To me it would seem as if most of the critique against Spec Ops in this thread stems from a confusion of player and protagonist agency. For this sort of game to work, one need to keep them very distinct and I honestly think that Spec Ops did make it clear that it was Walker's fault that the civilians got slaughtered, not the players. After all the main plot of the game is about Walker's descent into madness due to his own guilt, while the subtext is a deconstruction of modern FPS-games and their gung-ho approach to war. I think the game handles both quite well.

SpiderJerusalem:

matrix3509:

SpiderJerusalem:
But in a game, attempting to try and pull the "war makes villains of us all" angle and then try and spin that with the whole "you, the player, are responsible" when no choice is ever given - even if there's a clear distinct possibility for it - is disingenuous.

I am about to get a concussion from head-desking on account of how hard you are missing the point. Do you know what a videogame is?

I thought game designers made this point clear decades ago: You as a player, by the mere fact that you are playing the game, are, on account of the nature of videogames being interactive, complicit in any activities taking place in said game.

To then bitch about how the game didn't give you a choice, when indeed, that is the ENTIRE DRIVING FORCE behide the protagonist's decisions, is just ludicrous.

I think all the head banging is making you spectacularly miss the point.

Just because you are pressing forward on the controller doesn't make it you who is making the choices. Especially if there are none. You might as well claim that film is an interactive medium then, because you as a viewer decided to sit down and watch it.

But when the game forces your hand at doing something, and then pretends to be able to turn it around and say "AHA! This was your choice!" it is nothing but a poor manipulation and lousy game design.

I posted earlier that had the developers truly wanted to take this path and keep the message intact, they would have allowed the player options to play as they saw fit and calculated that towards the ending. But no, instead you are forced to take the cheapest, most obvious possible choice and then sit through meandering and poorly handled melodrama when the game tries to rub it in your face that you - well, did what it forced you to do.

That's not interactivity.

I can't tell whether you're being serious or just professionally trolling everyone. You do have the choice to take on an entire platoon of armed soldiers that are in the most regarded battalion with three men and some ammunition, but are you honestly going to take that chance? What you call choice is nothing more than a cheap shot to find fault in an otherwise superb game. And unlike what you said before, it isn't badly written. Not by a long shot.

Lastly, how is something not interactive when it's forced on you? What do you even mean by that? How is the game suppose to get you to care for its story if it dosen't force it on you in some shape or form, be it through its characters, design or set pieces?

It's so obvious that you knew about this scene before you actually played it, because no one, NO ONE could have known that those few white blimps at the gate were civilians. The game isn't at fault here; you are.

RapeisGenocide:

It's so obvious that you knew about this scene before you actually played it, because no one, NO ONE could have known that those few white blimps at the gate were civilians.

You are wrong.

If you take your hands off the trigger finger for a second you realize that large group of people, which are the civilians, are just wandering aimlessly about and NOT moving in anywhere near the same frantic, aggressive fashion that the troops you are attacking are. Their movement(or lack of) gave them away as non-combatants.

RapeisGenocide:
You do have the choice to take on an entire platoon of armed soldiers that are in the most regarded battalion with three men and some ammunition, but are you honestly going to take that chance?

No, you don't have that option. I started shooting at the enemy and all I got was an endless wave of spawning troops and my teammates shouting at me that we need to deploy the mortar.

Even when I chose NOT to fire the mortar at the civilians, the game decided that nope, this needs to happen like this. Would the realization that you have just killed innocent troops that were on your side have been any less of a shock to the main character? It was the same kind of lazy shocks-for-shocks-sake writing that people deride the MW games for.

What you call choice is nothing more than a cheap shot to find fault in an otherwise superb game. And unlike what you said before, it isn't badly written. Not by a long shot.

Superb game? You mean the game that has nothing original in it? The one with faulty shooting mechanics, barely there group tactics, mediocre graphics and an entirely linear and scripted gameplay mechanic that falls flat before the first play through is done? Yeah, nope, sorry. Nothing superb about Spec Ops, and I'd wager that if it wasn't for the phosphorous scene it wouldn't even have attracted this much attention.

It was also poorly written. It masquerades as a smart, deep game about the horrors of war because it name drops Joseph Conrad, rips off Apocalypse Now and poses around like it's trying to be on the same level as Three Kings. Pfft.

Lastly, how is something not interactive when it's forced on you?

Think real hard about what you just wrote. If you still don't get it, I'm sorry, you can't be helped.

What do you even mean by that? How is the game suppose to get you to care for its story if it dosen't force it on you in some shape or form, be it through its characters, design or set pieces?

By being a game? How about that for starters. There have been many, many games that have managed to tell linear stories but allowed the player to affect the way it's been told in small, but important ways without making a big deal out of it. One of the most recent ones that comes to mind is the brilliant Metro 2033.

It's so obvious that you knew about this scene before you actually played it, because no one, NO ONE could have known that those few white blimps at the gate were civilians. The game isn't at fault here; you are.

I'm glad you can speak with such certainty that NO ONE could ever have known what was going on. Here's a piece of advice: when you get older, and when you watch and read more stuff, you tend to notice certain patterns in how things are going to play out. There's nothing new under the sun (and that's FINE!), but the way that Spec Ops so heavy handedly telegraphed it's next move ("there's no other way!" "but you saw with it did to others, noo!"), one could easily tell that whatever was happening next was going to be some ridiculous twist towards the melodramatic.

Also, as the other poster before me pointed out, none of the civilian dots were moving. They just stood there. While everyone else on the base were running and shooting, these dots barely moved closer to each other. So the first time that I played it? I figured that the game is going to start doing the whole "you killed innocent people!" angle at that moment.

And it did.

So I reloaded, tried again. Didn't shoot at them. Still the same result.

Now, this isn't the only point in the game that this same bullshit logic comes into play. Apart from the endings, none of your choices really matter anyway and are even further stripped of their low level importance by the ridiculous ending twist. But the phosphorous moment stands out because it's so over the top, so painfully manipulative and poorly handled that it stands right on the same level as the (equally bad) MW3 cut scene - with one difference: at least MW3 didn't try and pretend to be deep or eloquent on any level.

SpiderJerusalem:

erttheking:

SpiderJerusalem:
Except it's NOT the player that makes the decision, it's the game. The entire sequence was so poorly written and played out that I knew that the "oh god, what have you done?!" moment was only seconds away. So I did nothing. I refused to start shooting.

The game went nowhere. It just sat there.

"this is a bad idea" my friends repeated. I agreed and kept waiting.

Nothing.

Pfft. Fine, Spec Ops, if that's how you wanna play it. Bang.

OH GOD WHAT DID YOU WHY DID YOU DO THAT OH THE HUMANITY WAR IS AWFUL!

Yeah, real smooth and profound storytelling there. Not to even mention that Shyamalan twist at the end that attempts to be deep and startling, but just reads like a bad episode of Dallas.

Ah but you see, you DID make the choice...you made it when you popped the disk in. You started playing to game the kill people...and you got your wish. You could have just turned the game off and walked away...but you didn't.

Well, that's one interpretation of what they were going for anyway. Some can say that this is a massive deconstruction of military war games. I get the feeling that you knew about the bad thing that he was going to do before you started playing the game, which pretty much counts as a spoiler. I myself knew about it and the second I pressed the button to bomb the trench, my mind put two and two together. So yeah, it kind of does act like a spoiler.

Yes, how dare you buy our action game. How DARE you? Wanting an action game, pfft, what is the matter with you? Repent!

It's poorly written moralizing on a level that first year grad students would write. "Haha, see, you thought you were reading a romantic story, but it's all about how you should be judged for wanting to love!"

Basically, it gives poor choices, or none at all, and tries to be profound about them when in truth it never really gives the player any choice at all.

You're playing as Walker, not a 'you' substitute.

The game is telling his story, not yours. Any sorrow your supposed to feel is an extension of his sorrow.

In war, decisions get made. And they all have consequences. Walker and Adams said it themselves as Lugo objected to the idea. They didn't have a choice.

You as an omniscient and immortal puppet master with unlimited attempts to get through that section of the game would have had a choice, but a mortal and vulnerable soldier faced with what he perceived as insurmountable odds would not.

That's the point.

The game gives you the illusion of control whilst as the story progresses, it's taking more and more of it away from you.

That's the point with the ending. The choices you thought you had made that came after this lasting constant were Walkers way of convincing himself that he had control, after realising he didn't. And in convincing himself he convinced you, the player.

You're not being insightful when you point out that you didn't have a choice. That was the games entire purpose. The fact that you noticed this is a reflection of how well the story telling worked.

Abandon4093:

You're playing as Walker, not a 'you' substitute.

The game is telling his story, not yours. Any sorrow your supposed to feel is an extension of his sorrow.

In war, decisions get made. And they all have consequences. Walker and Adams said it themselves as Lugo objected to the idea. They didn't have a choice.

You as an omniscient and immortal puppet master with unlimited attempts to get through that section of the game would have had a choice, but a mortal and vulnerable soldier faced with what he perceived as insurmountable odds would not.

That's the point.

The game gives you the illusion of control whilst as the game progresses it's taking more and more of it away from you.

That's the point with the ending. The choices you thought you had made that came after this lasting constant were Walkers way of convincing himself that he had control, after realising he didn't. And in convincing himself he convinced you, the player.

You're not being insightful when you point out that you didn't have a choice. That was the games entire purpose. The fact that you noticed this is a reflection of how well the story telling worked.

Except that this kind of pseudo-intellectualism can be applied to any game out there (even MW) and make it sound like it's smart, deep and well designed.

But the logic isn't there. Walker is now suddenly a vulnerable and mortal soldier? After plowing through hundreds and hundreds of soldiers in Dubai? After surviving falls, crashes, explosions and who knows what, now he's a vulnerable soldier?

Also, call it what you want, but taking something away and pretending to give it you isn't some kind of deep, well written game design ideal. It's barely above the level of writing a story that ends with "it was all a dream!"

Well, I'm sorry you kinda ruined the game for yourself, Spidey. Trope catching will do that.

Video games in general, and shooters in particular, don't really stand to close scrutiny and bullshit can be called from any angle on whatever the you like. While you noticed the signs of what's to come(as did i to be honest), the vast majority of players, along for the ride and poppin' dat phosphorous going 'whee', didn't. And that's exactly who the scene was for.

For a game like this, to me, the ultimate question is, was it a good(if not necessarily fun) ride? And I'd say, yes, they certainly did a better job then most of the shooters I can think of.

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:

You're playing as Walker, not a 'you' substitute.

The game is telling his story, not yours. Any sorrow your supposed to feel is an extension of his sorrow.

In war, decisions get made. And they all have consequences. Walker and Adams said it themselves as Lugo objected to the idea. They didn't have a choice.

You as an omniscient and immortal puppet master with unlimited attempts to get through that section of the game would have had a choice, but a mortal and vulnerable soldier faced with what he perceived as insurmountable odds would not.

That's the point.

The game gives you the illusion of control whilst as the game progresses it's taking more and more of it away from you.

That's the point with the ending. The choices you thought you had made that came after this lasting constant were Walkers way of convincing himself that he had control, after realising he didn't. And in convincing himself he convinced you, the player.

You're not being insightful when you point out that you didn't have a choice. That was the games entire purpose. The fact that you noticed this is a reflection of how well the story telling worked.

Except that this kind of pseudo-intellectualism can be applied to any game out there (even MW) and make it sound like it's smart, deep and well designed.

Because after MW[inset number here] makes you make a bad choice, it then gives you fake choices as some sort of coping mechanism the character employs as he loses his marbles after the realisation that he really doesn't have a choice, and is actually just talking to long dead hanging bodies and a battery-less radio?

Thanks, hadn't realised that.

But the logic isn't there. Walker is now suddenly a vulnerable and mortal soldier? After plowing through hundreds and hundreds of soldiers in Dubai? After surviving falls, crashes, explosions and who knows what, now he's a vulnerable soldier?

Ploughing through waves of soldiers =/= shooting at an entire army + plus tanks when there's a game changing weapon sat right next to him.

Also, call it what you want, but taking something away and pretending to give it you isn't some kind of deep, well written game design ideal. It's barely above the level of writing a story that ends with "it was all a dream!"

Sorry, didn't know I was talking to Dostoevsky's ghost.

The game managed to piss you off enough that you come here and flap violently at anyone who dares to like the game and enjoy the ride it gave.

I'd say that it was a success on their part.

And as a side note, in my experience the people who say 'pseudo-intellectualism' with a straight face tend to be... well pseudo-intellectuals.

You will note the irony in that comment... I'm not giving you a choice.

Abandon4093:
Because after MW[inset number here] makes you make a bad choice, it then gives you fake choices as some sort of coping mechanism the character employs as he loses his marbles after the realisation that he really doesn't have a choice, and is actually just talking to long dead hanging bodies and a battery-less radio?

Thanks, hadn't realised that.

Now you're just being thick for the sake of it. Did I say anywhere the they're going to be carbon copies of the plot in Spec Ops? No. Take your pitiful attempts at putting words in my mouth and learn how to argue, one would think they taught you basic skills like that in school.

Ploughing through waves of soldiers =/= fighting an entire army + plus tanks.

Except that he has fought and killed what amounts to an army and continue to do so for the rest of the game. The logic of your argument still fails. Especially when Spec Ops rigs the game with infinitely spawning enemies at that point (also, not an army, a small battalion).

The game managed to piss you off enough that you come here and flap violently at anyone who dares to like the game and enjoy the ride it gave.

This argument, I've noticed, is native to these forums. It's in my understanding that it's mostly because a large number of posters here are young and apparently have no understanding of what an opinion is. Especially not what an opinion that is used in discourse, backed up with arguments and expressed without sniveling or "sorry, but..." semantics.

Debating 101, look into it.

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:
Because after MW[inset number here] makes you make a bad choice, it then gives you fake choices as some sort of coping mechanism the character employs as he loses his marbles after the realisation that he really doesn't have a choice, and is actually just talking to long dead hanging bodies and a battery-less radio?

Thanks, hadn't realised that.

Now you're just being thick for the sake of it. Did I say anywhere the they're going to be carbon copies of the plot in Spec Ops? No. Take your pitiful attempts at putting words in my mouth and learn how to argue, one would think they taught you basic skills like that in school.

Feelings mutual.

The point, my oh so hostile little spider, is that it's not me or anyone else applying 'pseudo-intellectual logic' to it willy-nilly. It was obviously the games intent. So no, you couldn't apply said logic to other games which didn't have the same intent.

Because nothing in their stories suggests that's what they were doing.

Take your own fucking advice.

Ploughing through waves of soldiers =/= fighting an entire army + plus tanks.

Except that he has fought and killed what amounts to an army and continue to do so for the rest of the game. The logic of your argument still fails. Especially when Spec Ops rigs the game with infinitely spawning enemies at that point (also, not an army, a small battalion).

All in one go? With tanks too?

Oh wait no, that's not what happened.

Him and his team fight their way through large amounts of men at staggered points because they're meant to be highly trained.

You yourself attempted to kill the people with weapons, and it didn't work because more of them just kept on coming. Again, intentional. This was supposed to be an amount of people that even a highly trained team such as Walker, Lugo and Adams simply couldn't have rolled through by conventional means.

You'll note that highly trained doesn't mean able to take out tanks with an M4.

The game managed to piss you off enough that you come here and flap violently at anyone who dares to like the game and enjoy the ride it gave.

This argument, I've noticed, is native to these forums. It's in my understanding that it's mostly because a large number of posters here are young and apparently have no understanding of what an opinion is. Especially not what an opinion that is used in discourse, backed up with arguments and expressed without sniveling or "sorry, but..." semantics.

Debating 101, look into it.

You have no room to be lecturing other people on debating tactics when yours flounder at the first hurdle.

And what you have doesn't amount to just an opinion when you begin attacking people who disagree with you.

Plenty of evidence of that throughout your posts.

Ian Kapsthan Frost:

Blueruler182:

The following is the case:

If you try to save Gould instead he still dies before being able to tell you exactly what his plan is, so the game is pretty much the same no matter how you decide at that point.

Essentially the thing that bothered me the most about the white phosphorus scene was that I had decided to save the civilians earlier on, and my mind was constantly asking if this could have been averted if I had only decided to save Gould instead. I ended up constantly regretting that decision while I continued to play.

I felt pretty relieved when I played through the game a second time and realized, as mentioned above, that it could not have been averted, because it made me feel that the eventual outcome had in fact always been out of my hands. I understand that this can cheapen or perhaps ruin the story for some people, but as was already said, it is kind of the point. Bad things happen in wars, and the only way to avoid it is to avoid war itself. If all of the bad things in the game could have simply been avoided by making all the right decisions that overall message would have been greatly cheapened.

I agree entirely. The entirety of the game does send a message of "you're fucked" pretty solidly throughout, but there would have been an interesting moral issue with letting these civilians die and saving more. Hell, the character work could have had fun with it. One of the greatest parts of the game is watching your squad deal with what's happening, seeing them wrestle with the morality of "sacrifice the few for the many" would have been entertaining.

Not that watching them deal with everything else in the game wasn't entertaining enough. Just one of those things that could have made a minor tweak in the game that would have changed the experience considerably.

striker_002:

draythefingerless:

so you wanted a winning option?

3 guys vs entire base, complete with snipers, explosives, and armored vehicles. yeah no, youre not rambo.

furthermore, it would debunk the whole white phospherous thing, by giving it a polar opposite. basically you would only use the phospherous if youre an evil bastard, and youre a white knight if you attack the base. whats the fucking point then? it becomes a jedi vs sith situation.

Damn straight i wanted a winning option.

Because Walker *is* Rambo. You go through the game killing bases worth of troops before that scene, and bases worth of troops after that scene. What makes that particular base so special that it pulls the infinite respawn, you cant win trick? Even if it was hard as hell to win it conventionally I would still make it satisfying to do it.

I died 4 times that scene. Three from the infinite respawning snipers. Once from that last humvee because i realized there was that bunch of civilians nearby and wasted time trying to splash the humvee to death without hitting the civies. On the 5th time i sighed, and hit the humvee square in the center, watching the phosphorous round explode in a radius at least twice as large as all the ones before it.

There were too many changes of the rules for that scene to have the effect of making me feel guilty.

The one decision i made i somewhat regretted later was playing along with "Konrad" and shooting one of the prisoners(I chose the murderous soldier). I thought refusing would lead to another unwinnable situation like the phosphorous scene.

sigh....there was a time where gamers werent such babies and actually had to use suspension of disbelief and imagination....oh woe is me.

Abandon4093:

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:
Because after MW[inset number here] makes you make a bad choice, it then gives you fake choices as some sort of coping mechanism the character employs as he loses his marbles after the realisation that he really doesn't have a choice, and is actually just talking to long dead hanging bodies and a battery-less radio?

Thanks, hadn't realised that.

Now you're just being thick for the sake of it. Did I say anywhere the they're going to be carbon copies of the plot in Spec Ops? No. Take your pitiful attempts at putting words in my mouth and learn how to argue, one would think they taught you basic skills like that in school.

Feelings mutual.

The point, my oh so hostile little spider, is that it's not me or anyone else applying 'pseudo-intellectual logic' to it willy-nilly. It was obviously the games intent. So no, you couldn't apply said logic to other games which didn't have the same intent.

Because nothing in their stories suggests that's what they were doing.

Really? How do you know? You sit there in your certainty that Spec Ops is this genius piece of work that absolutely had all these intentions going for it. Why not others? That's the way it works with this kind of thinking, both ways, you can't just say "nuh-uh, these guys had these intentions! I know!" and then pretend like that doesn't apply for others (especially when others have said that they want to do same things).

Him and his team fight their way through large amounts of men at staggered points because they're meant to be highly trained.

You yourself attempted to kill the people with weapons, and it didn't work because more of them just kept on coming. Again, intentional. This was supposed to be an amount of people that even a highly trained team such as Walker, Lugo and Adams simply couldn't have rolled through by conventional means.

And yet, before and after they took out helicopters, fell incredible falls, survived storms, and did things no human can do. Face it, the logic in the game is flawed. It's based on the entire concept of the developers taking the controller away from the player for five seconds and forcing their concept on them - it's bad design, regardless of the intentions.

The game managed to piss you off enough that you come here and flap violently at anyone who dares to like the game and enjoy the ride it gave.

This argument, I've noticed, is native to these forums. It's in my understanding that it's mostly because a large number of posters here are young and apparently have no understanding of what an opinion is. Especially not what an opinion that is used in discourse, backed up with arguments and expressed without sniveling or "sorry, but..." semantics.

Debating 101, look into it.

You have no room to be lecturing other people on debating tactics when yours flounder at the first hurdle.[/quote]

Really? I don't see any evidence of this. You and your kind just keep throwing the same "herp derp, intentions!" argument back and then refusing to expand upon it. Some other commentators then pop up and say the exact opposite and claim that as truth - which gets me thinking that if people are that confused to the intent, the game must not have done a very good with it's storytelling.

SpiderJerusalem:

RapeisGenocide:
You do have the choice to take on an entire platoon of armed soldiers that are in the most regarded battalion with three men and some ammunition, but are you honestly going to take that chance?

No, you don't have that option. I started shooting at the enemy and all I got was an endless wave of spawning troops and my teammates shouting at me that we need to deploy the mortar.

Even when I chose NOT to fire the mortar at the civilians, the game decided that nope, this needs to happen like this. Would the realization that you have just killed innocent troops that were on your side have been any less of a shock to the main character? It was the same kind of lazy shocks-for-shocks-sake writing that people deride the MW games for.

What you call choice is nothing more than a cheap shot to find fault in an otherwise superb game. And unlike what you said before, it isn't badly written. Not by a long shot.

Superb game? You mean the game that has nothing original in it? The one with faulty shooting mechanics, barely there group tactics, mediocre graphics and an entirely linear and scripted gameplay mechanic that falls flat before the first play through is done? Yeah, nope, sorry. Nothing superb about Spec Ops, and I'd wager that if it wasn't for the phosphorous scene it wouldn't even have attracted this much attention.

It was also poorly written. It masquerades as a smart, deep game about the horrors of war because it name drops Joseph Conrad, rips off Apocalypse Now and poses around like it's trying to be on the same level as Three Kings. Pfft.

Lastly, how is something not interactive when it's forced on you?

Think real hard about what you just wrote. If you still don't get it, I'm sorry, you can't be helped.

What do you even mean by that? How is the game suppose to get you to care for its story if it dosen't force it on you in some shape or form, be it through its characters, design or set pieces?

By being a game? How about that for starters. There have been many, many games that have managed to tell linear stories but allowed the player to affect the way it's been told in small, but important ways without making a big deal out of it. One of the most recent ones that comes to mind is the brilliant Metro 2033.

It's so obvious that you knew about this scene before you actually played it, because no one, NO ONE could have known that those few white blimps at the gate were civilians. The game isn't at fault here; you are.

I'm glad you can speak with such certainty that NO ONE could ever have known what was going on. Here's a piece of advice: when you get older, and when you watch and read more stuff, you tend to notice certain patterns in how things are going to play out. There's nothing new under the sun (and that's FINE!), but the way that Spec Ops so heavy handedly telegraphed it's next move ("there's no other way!" "but you saw with it did to others, noo!"), one could easily tell that whatever was happening next was going to be some ridiculous twist towards the melodramatic.

Also, as the other poster before me pointed out, none of the civilian dots were moving. They just stood there. While everyone else on the base were running and shooting, these dots barely moved closer to each other. So the first time that I played it? I figured that the game is going to start doing the whole "you killed innocent people!" angle at that moment.

And it did.

So I reloaded, tried again. Didn't shoot at them. Still the same result.

Now, this isn't the only point in the game that this same bullshit logic comes into play. Apart from the endings, none of your choices really matter anyway and are even further stripped of their low level importance by the ridiculous ending twist. But the phosphorous moment stands out because it's so over the top, so painfully manipulative and poorly handled that it stands right on the same level as the (equally bad) MW3 cut scene - with one difference: at least MW3 didn't try and pretend to be deep or eloquent on any level.

I'm honored you took the time to dissect my post letter by letter, but absolutely nothing you said is relevant to the game because it's your opinion, the problems that you've created for yourself. I'll put it bluntly; taking on an entire platoon of trained soldiers with three people isn't an option. You can argue it senselessly as you have been this entire thread, but absolutely nothing will compel someone to disregard their easy-found-key to moving forward just because white phosphorus is a horrific weapon. And that's kind of the point.

And again, it wasn't poorly written. If you knew anything about writing, you'd realize that that these three characters, especially Walker, continually spiral out of control from a mental perspective, which in turn strengthens their character arcs. A story that cares for its characters usually ends up being good, because it reflects the overall plot, which in this case it is. Again, there's nothing factual you can about it - just that your opinion is the most supreme one because you always type 'Pffft' at the end of your posts.

I still don't get what you mean by 'forced story isnt interactive'. This game does give you choices - choices that in the end don't matter, because either way you're doing a bad thing and justifying it as 'I had to'. That's the games message as well. Since you really like Metro 2033, it becomes apparent how something like this can fly over your head.

Lastly, yes, I am certain 100% that you knew about this scene before going into the game. In the heat of that moment, there is absolutely no indication as to whether or not there are civilians in the compound. Your talk of 'noticing patterns' is, for the lack of a better word, bullshit. They could just as easily been exhausted or wounded soldiers. But that's obvious, right?

I get that the moment may not have affected you. I get that you think the story is bad. But that makes the game bad for you and you only. Oh, and it doesn't 'masquerade as a smart, deep game about the horrors of war'. It's just simply about the horrors of war. And the consequences of the decisions we make. And how the right intentions can always lead to bad things.

SpiderJerusalem:

Really? How do you know? You sit there in your certainty that Spec Ops is this genius piece of work that absolutely had all these intentions going for it. Why not others? That's the way it works with this kind of thinking, both ways, you can't just say "nuh-uh, these guys had these intentions! I know!" and then pretend like that doesn't apply for others (especially when others have said that they want to do same things).

You're not doing much to dispel my earlier sentiments.

Spec ops made a point of showing you that when Walker thought he was making an important choice after the phosphorus incident, he was infact slipping into madness. Talking to an imaginary Conrad that second guessed all his choices, choosing who to save out of two already long dead individuals.

There are arguments to be made from the actual events of the story, not just because I feel like arguing. (i.e. you.)

I also don't think that it's a genius piece of work, I just think that your beef with the story shows how you completely missed it's point.

And yet, before and after they took out helicopters, fell incredible falls, survived storms, and did things no human can do. Face it, the logic in the game is flawed. It's based on the entire concept of the developers taking the controller away from the player for five seconds and forcing their concept on them

All situational and with little to no relevance to the point I was making.

They took out helicopters when they were in helicopters or had RPG's.

There was one set piece where Walker fell a long way, bashing into shit that broke his fall along the way. People manage to survive incredible falls all the time by sheer chance. And that's got bollock all to do with how man people they could shoot.

Lots of people survived the storms.

And as I said, all of that has shit all to do with the point.

In the story the 3 characters are presented with a seemingly impossible challenge, an insurmountable enemy force blocking their path. They have 2 choices, abandon the mission or find a way through them.

There are too many people to kill by conventional means and they have APC's and tanks.

Right next to the characters is a phosphorus mortar which provides them with the means of completely annihilating the enemy forces.

Where in this equation do you see an alternative? And more importantly, where in this equation could a team of very mortal human beings who don't have the luxury of retries see an alternative?

And the game doesn't take control away for 5 seconds. You're in control, what it takes away is any illusion of choice. Again, a major theme of the game.

it's bad design, regardless of the intentions.

Bullshit.

I've touched on this once before but you completely glossed over it.

You as the player have many luxuries that the characters within the story do not. What you see as an obviously bad choice could be the only choice available to a person who's right there in the middle of the story. Especially without the luxury of perspective and the safety net of retries.

How is it so hard for you to accept that in this situation, a loss of agency was both the intent of the scene and the only way it could have successfully been accomplished in a medium that is controlled by its audience?

If you give people the option to change things for the better, they usually will. They'll retry the same scene over and over to get the more satisfying results. This ability would both undermines the scenes integrity and completely fuck with the entire stories point. Which isn't that you're a bad person for liking shooting games or whatever people have said. It's that wars hell and there isn't always a favorable choice.

The game explores what kind of effect this realisation had on someone. Nothing more.

Really? I don't see any evidence of this. You and your kind just keep throwing the same "herp derp, intentions!" argument back and then refusing to expand upon it. Some other commentators then pop up and say the exact opposite and claim that as truth - which gets me thinking that if people are that confused to the intent, the game must not have done a very good with it's storytelling.

The only person herpin and derpin around here is you.

See above for the 'expansion'. Could you try and respond to it this time instead of handwaving it with claims of 'pseudo-intellectualism'?

I'd also like to point out that even the greatest works of fiction have people arguing and disagreeing about the authors intent and the deeper meanings of certain aspects.

So for you to argue that the game "must not have done a very good with it's storytelling." because different people have interpreted the meaning behind the scenes in different ways. Well it kind of ends your right to criticise it's story. Or any story for that matter.

erttheking:

You do realize that it started off with the steryotypical insurgent enemies who turned out to be the good guys right?

My apologies for quoting you so long after you actually made the post, but I gotta ask: how the hell is that possible? I have only played the demo but over the course of that the "stereotypical insurgents" first started shooting me without being provoked, and then in the next scene they were torturing and executing prisoners, so how are they "good guys" if all they are doing is at best committing slightly fewer atrocities than you?

OT: So spec-ops devs, I'm a monster for playing shooters and I should feel bad? well I guess i'll just do the heroic thing and not buy your pretentious wank.

major_chaos:

erttheking:

You do realize that it started off with the steryotypical insurgent enemies who turned out to be the good guys right?

My apologies for quoting you so long after you actually made the post, but I gotta ask: how the hell is that possible? I have only played the demo but over the course of that the "stereotypical insurgents" first started shooting me without being provoked, and then in the next scene they were torturing and executing prisoners, so how are they "good guys" if all they are doing is at best committing slightly fewer atrocities than you?

OT: So spec-ops devs, I'm a monster for playing shooters and I should feel bad? well I guess i'll just do the heroic thing and not buy your pretentious wank.

Because the "insurgents" turn out to be the survivors of Dubai and they are fighting the remains of the US evacuation force (the 33rd Batallion) because the 33rd has instituted a tyrannical oppression on the survivors. The entire game likes to point out how shitty war is and this is just another part of that message.

Gamespot did a spoiler podcast with the lead writer of Spec Ops: http://au.gamespot.com/features/gamespot-gameplay-special-edition-spoilercast-spec-ops-the-line-6386587/

I highly recommend anyone who played and finished the game give it a listen. He doesn't hold back revealing all kinds of things most people wouldn't have realized or thought of while playing the game. His perspective on the things they did and the gaming medium in general is very interesting.

Adam Jensen:

SpiderJerusalem:
Wank wank wank wank wank.

That's all I'm hearing. "Oh, you don't like these choices? Stop playing the game you bought. Yeah, we totally made a product that costs 60 euros so we could tell you to stop playing it."

Bullshit.

We should totally stop making games with good narrative because of people like you. Let's just make CoD and give gamers big explosions. That's all they deserve.

Jesus fuckin' Christ. This is the first modern military shooter with some depth and you're complaining that it's not more like CoD.

Well, no, he's not. He's complaining that it IS like COD. And - in terms of player agency - sounds like it is. But player agency isn't the only way to judge a game's quality.

RapeisGenocide:

SpiderJerusalem:

[quote]Lastly, how is something not interactive when it's forced on you?

Think real hard about what you just wrote. If you still don't get it, I'm sorry, you can't be helped.

Would you kindly?

You're not supposed to feel guilty, you "STOP LIKING IT, STOP LIKING IT RIGHT NOW" folks are taking it the wrong way.

Was I the only one a little frustrated how often I died? I'd never been more upset about a military shooter in my life.

And did anyone else get the painting of the mother and a slow playing twinkle twinkle little star instead of the normal loading screens?

While I frankly can't even begin to muster the proper energy to respond someone like you (your post history and name are enough to give a proper image), here's something:

RapeisGenocide:

If you knew anything about writing,

Ooh! Assumptions, I love assumptions!

you'd realize that that these three characters, especially Walker, continually spiral out of control from a mental perspective, which in turn strengthens their character arcs.

You do realize that "and then he went crazy" isn't much of a character arc? In fact, it's not an arc at all. Especially when that ending is "lols, he was crazy all along!" (note: this is called hyperbole). The characters don't change in any meaningful way, unless you really really want to count the whole "brutality" as a proper change. Which it isn't. Again, what Spec Ops did was take the archetypes from Apocalypse Now and used them in the most mundane, laziest possible way in the story to go through the motions. Gone are the nuances that made Willard's journey in Apocalypse seem so honest and real, instead replaced with heavy handedness and the most tired tropes in the genre.

Since you really like Metro 2033, it becomes apparent how something like this can fly over your head.

So I'm guessing you've never played or read Metro 2033?

Lastly, yes, I am certain 100% that you knew about this scene before going into the game. In the heat of that moment, there is absolutely no indication as to whether or not there are civilians in the compound. Your talk of 'noticing patterns' is, for the lack of a better word, bullshit. They could just as easily been exhausted or wounded soldiers. But that's obvious, right?

More assumptions! Awesome. You do realize skip that everyone is different and everyone plays differently? And that many people are more perceptive than others and especially people who work with and deal with games, movies and novels on a day by day basis can usually tell tropes and set ups far easier than others can?

But hey, you're a 100% certain, that's gotta count for something. Like how some people are a 100% certain that the earth is still flat and God exists.

I get that the moment may not have affected you. I get that you think the story is bad. But that makes the game bad for you and you only.

One thing the internet seems to be constantly forgetting is that of course these are just opinions. I really don't think that adults (or, let's face it, mostly kids pretending to be adults) should have to continuously post "imo" on everything. It slows things down and should be clear without having to say it. Unless we're talking facts, like that the engine for the game is showing it's age, the level design is flawed and the much touted sand design does nothing for the gameplay.

Abandon4093:
snip

You seem to be fundamentally confused about one thing:

IT'S A GAME. It's not about real people. These aren't REAL folks in any REAL situation. It is a game that has game mechanics and game logic - hence all the bullshit about "thinking like mortals without the hope for continues" is ridiculous, because had this logic been actually used they would not have gone against the entire guerilla army in the first place.

Besides, up to that point they've constantly respawned, fought the odds and done whatever they wanted without the game once actually making any statements about realism. You got shot? Hide behind cover for a bit and walk it off. Hit a grenade? Walk it off. Oh, a guy is running at you with a knife, better shoot him a few times and hope he drops, but watch out, he's special, so it'll take more ammo this time.

Everything about the game is just that; unrealistic and made under the rules of the game mechanics. To drop them and make a situation that forces the player to do just one thing because the writers couldn't be arsed to handle the situation in a different way IS lazy writing.

What would have stopped them from allowing you to attack the encampment? In the heat of battle you get a tip "throw grenades in tents to surprise enemies" or what have you, suddenly you realize that one grenade took out a bunch of civilians. Or whatever. The options are there. Now, it remains a lazy, lazy method of forcing tragedy on the gamer without actually allowing the player to truly be a part of that. Imagine how that scene would have felt if you had been fully in control? Without the game making a big deal of it and allowing the horror of your actions to dawn on you slowly in a way that feels organic and not just a cut scene that plants you in a "shut up and watch us do this thing" feel. (Max Payne 3 had a bunch of these similar bullshit moments. They're just as lazy there as they are here, so whatever thinking you might have that this beef is JUST Spec Ops related, it's not.)

SpiderJerusalem:
While I frankly can't even begin to muster the proper energy to respond someone like you (your post history and name are enough to give a proper image), here's something:

RapeisGenocide:

If you knew anything about writing,

Ooh! Assumptions, I love assumptions!

you'd realize that that these three characters, especially Walker, continually spiral out of control from a mental perspective, which in turn strengthens their character arcs.

You do realize that "and then he went crazy" isn't much of a character arc? In fact, it's not an arc at all. Especially when that ending is "lols, he was crazy all along!" (note: this is called hyperbole). The characters don't change in any meaningful way, unless you really really want to count the whole "brutality" as a proper change. Which it isn't. Again, what Spec Ops did was take the archetypes from Apocalypse Now and used them in the most mundane, laziest possible way in the story to go through the motions. Gone are the nuances that made Willard's journey in Apocalypse seem so honest and real, instead replaced with heavy handedness and the most tired tropes in the genre.

Since you really like Metro 2033, it becomes apparent how something like this can fly over your head.

So I'm guessing you've never played or read Metro 2033?

Lastly, yes, I am certain 100% that you knew about this scene before going into the game. In the heat of that moment, there is absolutely no indication as to whether or not there are civilians in the compound. Your talk of 'noticing patterns' is, for the lack of a better word, bullshit. They could just as easily been exhausted or wounded soldiers. But that's obvious, right?

More assumptions! Awesome. You do realize skip that everyone is different and everyone plays differently? And that many people are more perceptive than others and especially people who work with and deal with games, movies and novels on a day by day basis can usually tell tropes and set ups far easier than others can?

But hey, you're a 100% certain, that's gotta count for something. Like how some people are a 100% certain that the earth is still flat and God exists.

I get that the moment may not have affected you. I get that you think the story is bad. But that makes the game bad for you and you only.

One thing the internet seems to be constantly forgetting is that of course these are just opinions. I really don't think that adults (or, let's face it, mostly kids pretending to be adults) should have to continuously post "imo" on everything. It slows things down and should be clear without having to say it. Unless we're talking facts, like that the engine for the game is showing it's age, the level design is flawed and the much touted sand design does nothing for the gameplay.

See, I don't get you. I don't get what your problem is. Walker didn't 'just go crazy'. I know you hold on to your meaningless beliefs because you find them empowering, but the least you can do is acknowledge that it's a well thought out story. I bet you missed the fact that whenever Walker has a hallucination, the screen fades to white. A normal fade is black. The last sequence? All white.

Or how bout when you reach the starting sequence of the game again, where Walker states 'This again?'. That can be interpreted in many ways, one of them being that Walker died after the helicopter crash, and that everything to come after is a way of punishing himself. I can assume, because you've obviously missed the subtle nuances of the story, the parts that try to add deeper meaning into what's already established.

Oh, and guess what? This isn't a remake of Apocalypse Now. It's just inspired by it and Heart of Darkness. The keyword is inspired. They didn't rip it off; they made it their own in a unique way and kept the spirit. And for some reason you're buttdevastated.

And you don't actually rebut what I said about those civilians possibly being soldiers. You even see some of them running back and jumping into that trench. So yeah, it's a safe bet that people knew about it in some shape or form. With the amazing clairvoyance powers you posses, everything you read, watch and play must already be spelled out for you. No I can understand why you're so mad all the time.

I find your lack of understanding quite pathetic. You don't dig for deeper meaning, or try to view something from a different angle. Hell, you think Metro 2033 has a good story, when ironically it's your run-of-the-mill post apocalyptic game (it has a nice atmosphere though, I'll give you that). You just spout out structurally sound sentences and think it makes you right. There's no thought behind your words, no attempt at trying to sound reasonable. It's just you, your ego and your irrational hate.

Also, God exists. Stay mad.

major_chaos:

erttheking:

You do realize that it started off with the steryotypical insurgent enemies who turned out to be the good guys right?

My apologies for quoting you so long after you actually made the post, but I gotta ask: how the hell is that possible? I have only played the demo but over the course of that the "stereotypical insurgents" first started shooting me without being provoked, and then in the next scene they were torturing and executing prisoners, so how are they "good guys" if all they are doing is at best committing slightly fewer atrocities than you?

OT: So spec-ops devs, I'm a monster for playing shooters and I should feel bad? well I guess i'll just do the heroic thing and not buy your pretentious wank.

Because you only fight them for the first few levels. It turns out that the 33rd turned on itself and went to civil war. The side that one imposed brutal martial law on the survivors of dubai and strung up the corpses of civilians and those they beat in the civil war alike. They also use brutal tactics to keep them in line, including bombing them with white phosphorus. The insurgents only attack you because they think you're with them and it doesn't really help that you go out of your way to help a 33rd squad that they managed to pin down.

No, you should feel bad for what you do while playing this shooter. I'm not going to feel guilty for all my years of playing Halo, this game just takes shooters and portrays them in a different light.

Gethsemani:
-Snip-

I went into Spec Ops completely blind because I knew it would be story driven. It wasn't long before the now infamous mortar scene, where it had become pretty clear that the tone was going to get very dark.

Still, I played that scene out like any other Modern Warfare game (though, I certainly noted the reflection in the monitor) where I engaged the targets that I was presented with because I wanted to progress to the next stage. I knew as I targeted further up the encampment that there was a large concentration of people near an 'enemy' vehicle, and many of their silhouettes were indistinct in the heat of battle. Still, my task was pretty clear up to that point and I proceeded to rain death upon those hapless folks.

As I was surveying the dead civilian bodies, I became very much aware of the many realities of war that modern games, and other forms of pop-culture media conveniently make a habit of side-stepping.

Powerful stuff, and it's one of the best examples of good story-telling in a video game to date. I could easily write a lengthy essay on it, because I found Spec Ops jam packed with meaning (in a good, but sobering way).

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