Spec Ops: The Line - This Changes Everything

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Spec Ops: The Line - This Changes Everything

Captain Walker isn't the only one who changes during the course of Spec Ops: The Line.

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One of the few games that made me eat my words about shooters and story.

I love this game so much. The story, the music, the level and game design, the sadistic choices you have to make, the changes the characters go through, the jabs at CoD and the whole concept of "America saves the day from the Nazi/Soviet/Arab hordes". It's a freaking masterpeice. Still deeply disturbing to play though, though. I knew every twist that was coming, and they still punched me in the gut. And that ending... dear god, that ending.

"The truth is, you're here because you want to feel like something you're not..."

I want to play this game, but I had it spoiled for me early on and as a result I'm not sure it'll work for me. It seems a large amount of the impact it has relies on the player not expecting the game to do what it does.

NinjaDeathSlap:
I want to play this game, but I had it spoiled for me early on and as a result I'm not sure it'll work for me. It seems a large amount of the impact it has relies on the player not expecting the game to do what it does.

I spoiled it for myself weeks before I even got the game, but the emotion of those moments still struck me. Heck, when you know whats coming, you can actaully keep an eye out for the things that are forecoming and be affected by it a little more then if you didn't know what was gonna happen. Get this game, man.

Gearhead mk2:

NinjaDeathSlap:
I want to play this game, but I had it spoiled for me early on and as a result I'm not sure it'll work for me. It seems a large amount of the impact it has relies on the player not expecting the game to do what it does.

I spoiled it for myself weeks before I even got the game, but the emotion of those moments still struck me. Heck, when you know whats coming, you can actaully keep an eye out for the things that are forecoming and be affected by it a little more then if you didn't know what was gonna happen. Get this game, man.

Oh screw it. After this article and a recommendation like that, I really can't avoid this game anymore... (This coming from someone who's 1st person shooters extend to... Halo. And DX:HR...)

Complete plot spoiled for me? Check. Not my genre? Check. Huge backlog of games I need to play anyway? Check.

Getting this game? Check... (Though I don't know when. And I may be evil and play through it with a friend who doesn't know what's coming...)

SpecOps really was disturbing, its fun how it just starts out as a generic shooter that actually fails to compete with games like CoD or BF3, but gruadually ascends with it's narrative to something far more interesting, it makes you think.

The only downside of the game would be that there will be people that will play this game with the expectation of a CoD or BF3 alternative and then quit the game after 2 missions because it doesnt play as fluid and refined as a CoD or BF3. Those people quit the game and never come back for more, and they will never be aware of it's mindboggeling premise.
This saddens me...

Still the game was amazing, also it's visuals were stunning.
From the pink desert sand to the architectual masterpieces it's just so amazing and vibrant.

The_Darkness:

Gearhead mk2:

NinjaDeathSlap:
I want to play this game, but I had it spoiled for me early on and as a result I'm not sure it'll work for me. It seems a large amount of the impact it has relies on the player not expecting the game to do what it does.

I spoiled it for myself weeks before I even got the game, but the emotion of those moments still struck me. Heck, when you know whats coming, you can actaully keep an eye out for the things that are forecoming and be affected by it a little more then if you didn't know what was gonna happen. Get this game, man.

Oh screw it. After this article and a recommendation like that, I really can't avoid this game anymore... (This coming from someone who's 1st person shooters extend to... Halo. And DX:HR...)

Complete plot spoiled for me? Check. Not my genre? Check. Huge backlog of games I need to play anyway? Check.

Getting this game? Check... (Though I don't know when. And I may be evil and play through it with a friend who doesn't know what's coming...)

If you do that, make sure to get a camera or a mike so you can record the guy's reactions and upload them.

By the way, is that a piece of SYRSA artwork as your avatar pic? Because if it is...
image

Gearhead mk2:

The_Darkness:

Oh screw it. After this article and a recommendation like that, I really can't avoid this game anymore... (This coming from someone who's 1st person shooters extend to... Halo. And DX:HR...)

Complete plot spoiled for me? Check. Not my genre? Check. Huge backlog of games I need to play anyway? Check.

Getting this game? Check... (Though I don't know when. And I may be evil and play through it with a friend who doesn't know what's coming...)

If you do that, make sure to get a camera or a mike so you can record the guy's reactions and upload them.

By the way, is that a piece of SYRSA artwork as your avatar pic? Because if it is...
image

No actually, it's an entirely home-made avatar. I chose the screen-name as a homage to Eternal Darkness, and wanted a pic that fitted as darkness, but with a hint of something within it...

We'll see about the camera or mike. I surprised him with Dead Space, of all things, a while back, and that managed to trigger more than a few swear words at the opening... "You're supposed to be running!" "I am? Oh &*^%!!!!"

Excellent article.
I still wish I had some way to beg/borrow/steal this game from a friend.

In other news, because It Bothers Me:
Minor nitpick: penultimate paragraph: "dhooter" is written in place of "shooter". Just in case you have an edit button.

I remember seeing pre release coverage of Spec Ops and thinking "yeesh, one could almost take this game as some cynical joke."

Apparently the white phosphorous scene from spec ops is really tame compared to one in metal gear solid or something

It's too bad I don't feel things whilst playing video games, the moments that were supposed to be shocking were not and whilst I tend to save the lives of npcs I don't feel anything from executing them either

It's one of the few situations to which they are not people actually applies whether the hind brain agrees or not

I delayed in buying this for a while AND managed to avoid every spoiler (besides the white phosphorus scene) associated with this game.

And I kicked myself for waiting that long. I can't play a single modern military shooter anymore, I just keep thinking 'why don't they take the Spec Ops route and emphasis the story JUST A LITTLE'.

One of the best games this year, and hands down the best story driven shooter I've played since The Darkness.

Oh and...great article.

You go into the fight expecting to become a hero, instead you leave soaked in so much blood that will never be washed away...

I have got to play this game, who'd have imagined; A shooter game with a deep engrossing story.

Let's just say an average game is a train ride, following a certain track. It starts out slow, kinda rocky, and the seats are uncomfortable, but you can still manage fine.

Then once you get into it, all the track bumps and engine noises kind of fade out, then you start to enjoy it and proceeds on its way until the end, you feeling fine and excited,

But Spec Ops The Line drops that second part, and once you start to feel comfortable it turns into a jet plane and crashes into an elementary school filled with endangered animals.

I exaggerated a little, but that's why I love it so much. It's the first AAA game to mess with gamings, I don't what to call it, formula.

Great article, by the way. The more Spec Ops praise the better, it's true Game of the Year material if I've ever seen one.

God I need this game.I desperately, DESPERATELY want to experience how this is done first hand.

Gah, makes me want to play it again. Not to have fun of course, but to further analyze it. There's SO many little intrigues about this one game that I feel even after playing through 3 times I wouldn't have seen it all. Whether it be the fact that it managed to slither it's way into consoles disguised as a modern military shooter or how it shakes your expectations of the hero's journey I just can't get enough. It's games like this that give me faith in this industry.

Captcha: more better

You said it buddy, you said it.

I didn't know they named the bad guy Konrad. That's pretty funny, makes everyone who brought up "Apocalypse Now" in their reviews seem stupid for missing the obvious "Heart of Darkness" reference as well.

Game of the year. Honestly, just pips Max Payne 3 for me and kicks Resident Evil 6 to death.

Yeah, the game was something different alright... odds are, I`ll be remembering it for a long time. It was a great game. Tho i feel kinda weird using that phrase, "great game", for Spec Ops. Seems like i ought to use something...grittier, darker? Not sure why i think so.

Anyways, about the executions, during the later parts of the game, i stopped doing those just cause it made me feel bad. I just shot them once more or so. Didn`t want to get more personal...

It annoyed me that the game recieved mixed reviews. Story can carry gameplay and this game proved it.

I find it hard picking up "realisitc" war shooters now as the grim tale of Spec Ops proved how good and deep a war story actually can be. I loved it and I made one of my friends play it and he text me at 2 in the morning saying "I feel like shit" after the white phosphorus scene.

Couple days later he finished it and said it was the most compelling story he had ever played in a war fighting game. My thoughts exactly.

The loading screens that taunt the player are my favorite part.

image

I've been wanting to play this game ever since Yahtzee had nothing funny to say about it. I like my games to have more story than anything else, so this game seems to be right about what I'm looking for.

This is one of a few games (Amnesia being another) that made me stop play-sessions because I've had enough on the emotional level for the day. Making me play in smaller increments I usually would.

Okay, after all that gushing I just have to voice my disagreement.
Yes, the story is fairly solid, even if the squaddies following Walker when he's clearly gone apeshit makes no sense. Yes, it is good that a game that puts a mirror in front of you and says 'reflect' gets made. But this didn't do that. It simply told you all that. The character arcs, that was in the gameplay as well as the cutscenes. But the 'you're a bastard' message of the game was just up and told to you. Yes, Konrad isn't talking to Walker. He's talking to the player. The impact, and indeed point, of the message is kind of lost because of this I feel.

And I'm pretty sure Hotline Miami does it far better (and simpler). A droning noise and you walking over the mutilated and gutted corpses of the unlucky sods you murdered. Suddenly, the thrill is nowhere and all that is left is disgust.
But that's just my 2 cents.

I'll admit I did the clichéd 'hand over mouth in shock' when I saw the WP aftermath cutscene and when Lugo was in trouble I was actually desperate to get to him, normally I don't give a shit about my team mate NPCs but I think I actually got caught up in the game and really started to care what happened to them.

The loading screens definitely didn't help, it was almost like prodding you with a stick, making you more angry/sad, ramping up your emotions and pulling you deeper in, making you feel like Walker.

Seeing the twist and how that affected what we saw before was really confusing and just the way it played out meant you felt the same confusion as Walker, you struggled to work out what was real and what wasn't.

And there's a brilliant scene near the end; when you're on the chopper gun (a repeat of the usual flashforward to the action then '2 days earlier' beginning section at the start) Walker says something like "This isn't right, we've done this before" which was a great little bit for showing his mind's starting to go.

The reason why Spec Ops is so disturbing , is because you are the monster , not Makarov or Konrad . Personal terrors are always more effecting than the ones that are shown to you .

Britisheagle:
It annoyed me that the game recieved mixed reviews. Story can carry gameplay and this game proved it.

I find it hard picking up "realisitc" war shooters now as the grim tale of Spec Ops proved how good and deep a war story actually can be. I loved it and I made one of my friends play it and he text me at 2 in the morning saying "I feel like shit" after the white phosphorus scene.

Couple days later he finished it and said it was the most compelling story he had ever played in a war fighting game. My thoughts exactly.

The funny thing is that it still had pretty good gameplay. It's just that the gameplay was the same as ever other shooter. I know that's why it got criticized, but it works on so many levels.

Spec Ops The Line is not only my GOTY, which shouldn't be surprising considering FPSes are my favorite genre, but it's my favorite game ever. Ironically dethroning my previous favorite game ever, CoD4.

Was one of the first AAA games to really 'get to me', the choices it made me make, the fact that you continually grow to distrust the character you're forced to play, as his squad has the same feelings. Its crazy, crazy stuff.

The loading screen reading: Do you feel like a hero yet?.

No. A giant, resounding no. And that's what I love about it, its one of the first games I've seen that wasn't afraid to turn your expectations of being the crusading hero on its head.

Spec Ops: The Line might very well be my game of the year.
They did something with narrative in games that is unprecedented, and will hopefully have evolved the genre to something more than "kill everyone, get reward".
There's so much attention to detail, so much fuckery with emotions about what you're doing, and the complete mind-fuck that the story presents has given me genuine hope that games will elevate as the primary medium for exploring the human condition.
This is a shining example of pure poetry in games. You go through the motions and expect the customary results, but this game turns the camera around in order to focus on your own lack of humanity.
To close off, this game has underlined that interactive media is the future. There are no lessons taught through movies or books that can reach off the page or screen anf can fundamentally change your perception of a subject by making you actually commig horrendus acts and then condemning you for it.

NinjaDeathSlap:
I want to play this game, but I had it spoiled for me early on and as a result I'm not sure it'll work for me. It seems a large amount of the impact it has relies on the player not expecting the game to do what it does.

Even spoiled it is well worth the playing. The game's strength not only lies in its high (or, more accurately: low) points, but in its relentless build-up towards them.

Britisheagle:
It annoyed me that the game recieved mixed reviews. Story can carry gameplay and this game proved it.

To be fair, it deserved mixed reviews. Its gameplay was only slightly above average, and while the story certainly carried it - and then some - that might not be the thing for everyone. People looking for the straight-up shooters the advertising promised would've come away disappointed.
Right now this is one of these games that are sadly still stuck in the Proof of Concept limbo - it does one thing incredibly well, but the entirety doesn't fully click yet, and as of such probably will not be remembered in ten years as being hugely influential on gaming and our perception of it.

SteewpidZombie:
You go into the fight expecting to become a hero, instead you leave soaked in so much blood that will never be washed away...

Aye. My first coherent thought after that whole WP debacle was: "if that man even gets out of here with a shred of sanity intact, he's going to wake up screaming for the rest of his life".

The refreshing part is that you get to kill Americans. Way too few games have US marines as the main bad guys. It was somewhat satisfying and a welcome change of stale enemies.

Storyline-wise the game is solid though I couldn't shake off the impression my character's a wuss. I won't spoil the specifics but halfway through he turns into the developer's idea of a reflection of a player, not a special forces soldier.

The biggest problem in this game is that it's not FUN. The mechanics are garbage. Clunky, arcade-y, not satisfying at all.

Kargathia:

To be fair, it deserved mixed reviews. Its gameplay was only slightly above average, and while the story certainly carried it - and then some - that might not be the thing for everyone. People looking for the straight-up shooters the advertising promised would've come away disappointed.
Right now this is one of these games that are sadly still stuck in the Proof of Concept limbo - it does one thing incredibly well, but the entirety doesn't fully click yet, and as of such probably will not be remembered in ten years as being hugely influential on gaming and our perception of it.

I actually think the mediocre gameplay server the purpose of the campaign exceedingly well.
By having the gameplay being mediocre and being more or less "going through through the motions of a war game", underlines the point the creators were trying to make.

archont:
The refreshing part is that you get to kill Americans. Way too few games have US marines as the main bad guys. It was somewhat satisfying and a welcome change of stale enemies.

Storyline-wise the game is solid though I couldn't shake off the impression my character's a wuss. I won't spoil the specifics but halfway through he turns into the developer's idea of a reflection of a player, not a special forces soldier.

The biggest problem in this game is that it's not FUN. The mechanics are garbage. Clunky, arcade-y, not satisfying at all.

The point is that it's not supposed to be fun. :D
It's about the experience, and the perspective the player experiences around the horrors of war, and all the damage you create just by going through those motions.

Yeah, Spec Ops is one of my favorite types of games for several reasons; one, because it's a total mind-screw, and two, because you always notice something new every playthrough... and each one is more disturbing than the last.
For example, I played it a second time, and noticed something really strange; almost the entire game is spent descending. Walker and his squad will frequently utilize ziplines, rappel down walls, go down a long staircase, and every once and a while, fall out of a high place in a plot-important scenario. Despite the fact that they're trying to reach the tallest building in the city (and in reality, the tallest man-made structure in the world), but they keep going deeper and deeper down, until it seems like they shouldn't be able to go down any further.
It was a brilliant game, definitely my GOTY.

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