Is Spec Ops: the Line overrated?
Yes
22% (117)
22% (117)
No
77.8% (414)
77.8% (414)
Want to vote? Register now or Sign Up with Facebook
Poll: Is Spec Ops: the Line overrated?

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

*Puts on flame suit, hides behind bullet proof glass*

Okay, I liked Spec Ops. It was good, some of the time. However, every time it pops up on these forums people call it "A SHOW OF HOW OUR MEDIUM IS ART AND BETTER THAN MOVIES!!!!" I felt like the game was hindered by all the delays and a lower budget than it deserved. The gameplay was ok, just not standout.

This is where I'll get controversial. The STORY IS NOT THE BEST. In fact, if it was a film, I think it wouldn't be praised. The twist at the end felt like the bad Twilight Zone episodes, and the "emotional" moments were good, but not "more effective than Schindler's List" (which I was told). THe characters just felt generic even near the end, when they were supposed to be all crazy, except Walker. I also had a creeping feeling they were trying to make Konrad like Andrew Ryan in the sense you talk to him and never see him, which didn't do much for me.

The game's satire isn't exactly the video game Animal Farm, and I felt if you sort of cut out the white phosphorous stuff and the lynching, it just could have been another generic shooter.

I think I'm way too harsh, but maybe we were too easy.

Well if you cut out the two pivotal scenes out of any great piece of work you could argue that it'd just be a generic "blank".

This game has been clipped by the same issue that clip a lot of great things: Everyone calls it the best thing ever and your expectations become so high that the game, no matter how great, can't possibly meet them.

I loved the story, the characters, and the voice actors (especially the VA's; Nolan North deserves whatever the gaming equivalent of an Oscar for his voicing talents). You didn't love it; does that make Spec-Ops a bad game?

The problem with the term over-rated is that it's 100% based on personal opinion. I thought that this was one of the best games of 2012 so no, I don't think it's over-rated. I also thought that Far Cry 3 (right up there in GoTY contention according to most gamers and game sites) was not a very good game so I think that's over-rated. Does that make Far Cry 3 a bad game?

I don't think it's overrated. Obviously it's not a literary work of genius but I think this is a case where we can lower our standards and judge it based on those. It's a big-budget shooter, the sheer fact that it makes the comments that it does makes it worth huge praise in that department. The characters may not have been great either (again, by movie/literature standards), but at least they show some evolution and are somewhat believable; again, fresh air. And while the shooting may be generic and lackluster...

...well it was, I just slogged my way through it.

Bottom-line, it may not be perfect, but I'm really glad something like it exists.

It's overrated, but only because people have started putting it on a pedestal so high up that Nolan North could scratch God's ass.

It's still a fantastic game.

I think the issue with it is that while it may excel in some respects as a story, it doesn't excel as a game. It may be a great piece of satire or writing, but it's housed in the body of a mediocre action game. It's the same sort of issue I have with all of the praise that Walking Dead gets. I can respect that it may be a landmark for character relationships in videogames, or maybe a landmark in solid believe situations, but that should always be marked with an asterisk denoting a lack of success (if not in some cases outright failure) by the standard measures videgames are judged by.

Clowndoe:
I don't think it's overrated. Obviously it's not a literary work of genius but I think this is a case where we can lower our standards and judge it based on those. It's a big-budget shooter, the sheer fact that it makes the comments that it does makes it worth huge praise in that department. The characters may not have been great either (again, by movie/literature standards), but at least they show some evolution and are somewhat believable; again, fresh air. And while the shooting may be generic and lackluster...

...well it was, I just slogged my way through it.

Bottom-line, it may not be perfect, but I'm really glad something like it exists.

On the whole " It's good for video games" thing, I hate it. People didn't say "It's not a book, but It's good for a movie." and then stay where they were. Movies kept going on until they met that. This is going to sound hyperbolic, but you're validating Ebert by saying that.

I liked the game, it was memorable, I had some fun in the gameplay, and it's for sure in my top 5 of the year. However, it's really not perfect. Like, in the slightest. It dared to dream, chased after it, but wound up without a cigar and a scraped knee in front of the finish line. Yeah it's good for games, but I want it to be good for everything.

Honestly this is the only website I've seen that actively supports the thing, on other sites it's either people who say it's just an overall piece of trash and should be forgotten about in the shit drains of all entertainment, or people who've never played it. People here see it as what Jesus would make if he made a shooter.

Yes, there could be some meta commentary, the acting is phenomenal, and dem character arcs, but that's about where it ends for being standout. Overall, it's an at least solid game.

It's one for the history books, but not the pedestal.

(I worked on that closer forever.)

Possibly. I think it lived up to the hype, but I could see how other people would just find it decent or overrated. Not nearly as overrated as The Walking Dead though.

It's a war shooter that did something different. And that's good enough for me.

I mean, if you want to blame anyone, blame all the bland shooter repeats we get every year that lowered the bar enough for Spec Ops to just walk over it in the first place.

Fuck no, its underrated by the mainstream; it seems that its mostly this website that actually likes the damn thing.

As much as I hate to say this because it makes me feel like an unpaid english teacher there's more underneath the hood than "A shooter with a few twists".

I won't go into an essay on the topic (and believe me, I could) but basically the game's story saves it because of all the shit it throws at you on both the obvious level (which your looking at) and the between the lines level (which I love).

Again, in short, fuck no, that game was awesome and deserves whatever accolades it gets.

The gameplay is nothing special in the slightest.
The narrative is really something else, though.

If I were to call it overrated, it would only be because of the difference of quality between gameplay and narrative.
I think a game has to be good in all facets to gain the "truly great" badge and be fairly immune to being called over-rated...however, this game banks on people saying that the narrative is refreshing and completely different from any other war-shooter out there while delivering a mostly same-y TPS experience. Had the gameplay been innovative, I'd have said "nope, it deserves the praise".

But with all that said, it's a fantastic title and my personal "most overrated thing of the year" goes to The Walking Dead.
The entirety of the franchise, be it the comic, show or games.

I think it's overrated. The story would have impact if you actually had any ability to choose the actions of the protagonist. Am I supposed to feel bad that Walker killed a bunch of civilians with the mortar? I didn't choose to do that, the game made me do it.

Also the gameplay was shit.

Heavily overrated. While the game aims to satirize and subversify the generic shooter genre, it itself is a generic shooter. It's very boring to play. I'm sure if you're the kind of person who likes third person cover shooters, it might seem revolutionary for having a different kind of story, but for someone who finds them boring, the game doesn't do anything new. It also forces false choices upon you and then blames you for "picking" the wrong one, when there actually was no second option.

I also feel like aside from the few "big scenes" towards the middle and end respectively, the characters are pretty bland and generic. The narrative really doesn't do anything new either, the "you were evil all along" cliche has been around for ages.

I played it after the hype though, so I guess you could say I had high expectations. I went into the game expecting something different, and was disappointed when I found a Gears of War reskin.

All that being said, it wasn't terrible. I enjoyed the setting and it had decent production qualities. It's just decidedly average.

ShinyCharizard:
I think it's overrated. The story would have impact if you actually had any ability to choose the actions of the protagonist. Am I supposed to feel bad that Walker killed a bunch of civilians with the mortar? I didn't choose to do that, the game made me do it.

That's part of the point. The game is lampooning the fact that Spunkgargleweewee forces you to commit massive amounts of murder, gives you no say in the matter, then acts as if that shit was just so damn cool man did you see that? It also doubles as a reality check for the player, who by that point had likely played so many segments like that one with the white silhouettes that they just stopped caring about what they actually did in them as long as they got to kill the specks without worrying about death. Walker was thinking of things more in terms of that Video-Game moral binarism; they're shooting at us so they're obviously they're bad guys and should die so I can move on. Only it turns out you don't just fucking bomb people with fire and walk away from it without consequences. If you had the choice to just turn away from that situation and go home, that would undermine the game's efforts to show us just how psychotic the average shooter protagonist really is.

Triforceformer:
snip

I understand what they were going for with that scene among others. However personally I found it just didn't have any impact. Had the mortar been presented as an option that you could use to make the fight easier rather than being forced to use it would have made the events that occur after its use more personal and impactful.

Saviordd1:
Fuck no, its underrated by the mainstream; it seems that its mostly this website that actually likes the damn thing.

As much as I hate to say this because it makes me feel like an unpaid english teacher there's more underneath the hood than "A shooter with a few twists".

I won't go into an essay on the topic (and believe me, I could) but basically the game's story saves it because of all the shit it throws at you on both the obvious level (which your looking at) and the between the lines level (which I love).

Again, in short, fuck no, that game was awesome and deserves whatever accolades it gets.

This. The mainstream seems to have ignored this game and this website is perhaps the only place where I can talk about it with other people. No one of my friends have played it nor want to play it, and in any other place where games are discussed, Spec Ops is never mentioned. It is quite literally underrated.

Well sure everything's overrated when you think it is but honestly I think it's deserving of the praise. It's just a damn good game. And I want more games in this vein and I would take any game with a decent story and arc over another shitty future/modern warfare FUCK I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY DO ANYMORE

I loved it. Regarding the characters, I didn't mind their 'generic' qualities because in a satire they act best as a vessel to explore the world and this game's themes. That isn't to say they shouldn't develop, which they did, but I feel they could have gone further. Perhaps it would have detracted from Captain Walker's experience.

kanyewhite:
This is where I'll get controversial. The STORY IS NOT THE BEST. In fact, if it was a film, I think it wouldn't be praised.

Well yeah, of course it wouldn't have worked as a movie - so much of it relied on gaming conventions, and on you actually BEING the one doing all that stuff, to in turn make you ask yourself why you play games like this and what you're really getting out of them. A passive experience like a movie would never have been able to get the same point across.

If you take all of that away and look at it purely as a gaming experience I'd agree, it's not great (whether you choose to believe the Word of God that the gameplay was deliberately mediocre is another issue, I guess). But I wouldn't say that makes it "overrated" because nobody was rating it for its gameplay in the first place.

kanyewhite:

On the whole " It's good for video games" thing, I hate it. People didn't say "It's not a book, but It's good for a movie." and then stay where they were. Movies kept going on until they met that. This is going to sound hyperbolic, but you're validating Ebert by saying that.

But when I say it's good for video games I'm not implying that that's the grand sum of what I expect from the medium. It's something like positive reinforcement. They took a step in the right direction by at least making a discussion about a theme, but I'm hoping it's a precedent for something better, like for Call of Dutys to do something similar (yeah right) and for the SpecOpses to take another step. It's not so much the result I'm applauding it's the effort (assuming it is an effort for them).

I think it gets so much praise only because people hate on Call of Duty and instantly like anything that's different. The game is not bad, not even close, It's quite good. The thing is that it gets elevated only because it shares the same genre as those "dude bro" games that people love to hate.

Honestly - within the entire gaming community as a whole - I'd say it's underrated. Massively underrated. Sure, there's people here on the Escapist that will praise it in a thread or two (and you'll have Yahtzee calling it his game of the year), but this site is very niche, and so is the community here and its opinions.

Outside of the escapist, I really have not been hearing much buzz about the game at all. Last years sleeper hits were considered to be Farcry 3 and The Walking Dead: The Game, and for most people here, those games might as well be mainstream.

Most mainstream gaming websites considered the game as nothing more than a 2nd rate Gears cover shooter in Modern Warfare skin, rarely will you even hear them mention that the story was any good. Within the gaming community at large, I don't think anyone has even heard of it.

Underrated is the word.

Yes it is.

It claims to be a deconstruction of Moder War games when it itself is a modern war game. It claims to lambast the player for engaging in war crimes (and I could do a whole separate rant on why I think the very idea of war crimes is stupid) and then FORCES the player to do horrible things. You do not get to claim to be a satire or deconstruction or whatever if you're not going to do anything with it. It targets the consumer when it should be aiming itself at developers or the publishers that mandate what they create. The consumer has very little say about what goes in these games. They're essentially picking on the intern when they should be focusing on the CEO.

I liked the soundtrack and there were a few sequences where the atmosphere, the music and the gameplay come together (my favorite being the water dome level with Glasgo Mega-Snake playing in the background.). Say what you will about The Radioman, the dude has good taste in prog rock. Which brings me to another issue: tone. It's too dark! I know that's a silly thing to say, but it is! It has the same problem as Warhammer 40000, in that its so bleak that it's impossible to take seriously. Things get so dark and so gritty, it almost becomes a black comedy, or hell, it does become a black comedy whenever The Radioman opens his fat gob.

Finally, the whole concept, the whole being of the game is utterly paradoxical: the story is meant to make players question why they play games, players want the game to be fun, the game can't be fun or the players won't question, but if the game isn't fun, then the players fuck off and play something that is, so to try and make them stay, the game tries to be both fun and not fun, and features lots of exploding heads and slo-mo giblets. You see? It's hypocritical to have your game be wall-to-wall violence and have an ultimately anti-violence message.

Having an awesome and subversive story means absolutely dick when your gameplay is crap. There are certain rules you have to abide in this medium, certain inviolable rules, and Spec Ops broke them.

Finally, trying to use killing to shock a seasoned videogame player is like trying to put out a chemical fire with a garden hose. It tales a lot more than just "These people died, AND IT'S YOUR FAULT!!!!11one!" to get a reaction other than a maniacal grin from me. For example, Far Cry 3 managed to gut punch me when it is heavily implied, if not out right confirmed, that your friend Keith was being buggered nightly by a randy Australian. That sent an unpleasant shiver down my spine.

[Spoilers for Bioshock below]

ShinyCharizard:
I understand what they were going for with that scene among others. However personally I found it just didn't have any impact. Had the mortar been presented as an option that you could use to make the fight easier rather than being forced to use it would have made the events that occur after its use more personal and impactful.

There's one obvious flaw with your suggestion; if Spec Ops gave you a choice whether or not to use the white phosphorus and kill a bunch of civilians, no-one would use it. And without that scene, the rest of the plot doesn't make sense - Walker has no reason to go insane and start hallucinating Konrad's voice, the team has no reason to question his decisions, and the civilians have no reason to hate him.

Your "choice" isn't really a choice, because it's reduced to "Do you want to be a hero or a mass murderer?" It's so ludicrously black-and-white that I can't imagine anyone sincerely choosing to use the WP once they know what the consequence is. They'd just not use it, or use it to see what happens then reload and choose the other option.

In my opinion, that completely destroys the impact of the scene. It gives you the option to just dodge the punch. Not only does the plot fall apart, it wouldn't say anything important about responsibility for your choices because the good choice has no consequences. There's no downside. A harder gunfight? That's really intimidating for people who can't reload a save and try again infinity times over.

Every other "moral" choice in Spec Ops has no clear good option. Some of them are revealed to not even be choices - the hanging men, for example. The option to not use the WP is a very clear good option, and it would be completely out of place with the tone of the series. That's why the game doesn't give you a choice.

I mean, when I hear people say "But the game didn't give me a choice!" about the WP scene, I just think that it's like complaining about having to beat Andrew Ryan to death in Bioshock. "But I didn't have a choice!" No, you didn't. That's the point. The game's not making a commentary on bearing responsibility for your choices. It's saying that in war, there sometimes isn't a choice; mistakes are inevitable, atrocities are necessary, no-one has a clear idea what's going on and there's no golden ending. Walker's trapped in a double bind, and the only solution - to drop his gun and leave Dubai - doesn't even occur to him, the same way it doesn't occur to the player that they can choose to turn the game off and not play it.

Couple thoughts here.

(1) Yes, if this game were a film, its story wouldn't have been as highly praised, BUT that's missing the point. This story draws a lot of its power from the fact that its a game. Placing you in Walker's shoes is where the game's brilliance shines. You're the one who happily killed all those soldiers with phosphorus, blissfully unaware of the consequences. You're the one who is controlling Walker as he walks amongst the aftermath and hears the screams of the dying. The game may be twisting your arm into doing these things, but it's still pretty damn effective as far as immersion goes.

Take away the immersion factor of being a video-game and you'd rob the story of much of its power. It doesn't mean the story is necessarily weak though. Many films would make extremely poor books, and vice versa. Doesn't mean that the story is bad, rather that it was built for a particular medium.

Does Spec-Ops prove video-games are better than movies? Not by a long shot, but it serves as an exemplary example of where video-games are at and where they are heading. I judge all my fiction by the same standards (aka, I don't believe in lowering my standards for video-game stories or the like), and I'd rank it right up there with a great film in the impact it had on me.

(2) The characters are generic, but it didn't take too much away from the overall story for me. They could've used some more character development, particularly on Walker (flashbacks to their lives before Dubai perhaps?), but the story didn't suffer too badly as a result. The dialogue is still fantastic, so you do get to grow at least somewhat fond of these characters.

(3) I seem to be somewhat alone in this, but I liked the gameplay. There are several fantastic moments, such as when Walker fights the re-appearing Heavy or when he falls off a building and has to survive without his squad for several minutes that really impressed me. Wasn't amazing, but didn't bring down the story too much.

Machine Man 1992:
It claims to be a deconstruction of Modern War games when it itself is a modern war game.

Yeah, what a silly concept right? Reminds me of that movie Unforgiven, which claimed to be a deconstruction of westerns when it itself is a western. How stupid!

bastardofmelbourne:
snip

You're reading too far into my statement. When I say I want more of a choice throughout the campaign I don't mean that I want every decision to be either heroic or evil. I would like to keep the theme of the despair and atrocities that war brings but allow more player input.

To give a basic example for the WP mortar scene. A more effective solution would be to, as I said, have the mortar as an optional tool. But if you choose not to use it something else would occur, like a squadmate being killed or maimed, or something along those lines. If the game gave the player more choices like this then I believe it would have more of an emotional impact. As it stands the fact that these decisions are forced on the player robs them of any possible feelings of guilt as they were simply doing what the game made them do.

Also to suggest that players should consider turning the game off and stop playing is ludicrous and would mean a fundamental failure in game design on the developers part.

bastardofmelbourne:

Also can I simply say "all of this, a million times this?"

What's that? I can't? Oh, well then, uh... Overrated is a stupid term anyway and people should stop throwing it around.

Totally overrated.

The key difference between between Spec Ops and the Walking Dead, is that actual gameplay makes up a significantly larger portion of the former than the latter.

Yes, Spec Ops may be subversive (I personally thought it was pretentious as fuck), but it was so fucking boring. If 'de-constructing the genre' means making a tedious 5 hour slog through shooting gallery after shooting gallery, then please, give me more Call of Duty, because at least that game isn't so far up its own arse that it forgot to be game.

inb4 someone tells me I 'just didn't get it' with absolutely no sarcasm whatsoever.

I appreciate that a lot of people do like it, but whenever I say I don't, someone always tells me that 'you just didn't get it'. Unironically. Seriously.

I thought that shit only happened in comics with hipster stereotypes.

Its very overrated, but its still great.

The gameplay and shooting didnt feel very responsive to me, but on the flip side I cant think of another game that subverted the GI Joe shooting terr'rist formula and makes you think about the atrocities that happen in wars, and the ending was fantastic

Not exactly, it's only praiseworthy because it made a good statement during times when militaristic shooters flood the industry. I think it has the right amount of praise going for it. It's story telling only seems sophisticated because we haven't had a truly good story in a while. Just my two cents anyway...

DrunkenMonkey:
Not exactly, it's only praiseworthy because it made a good statement during times when militaristic shooters flood the industry. I think it has the right amount of praise going for it. It's story telling only seems sophisticated because we haven't had a truly good story in a while. Just my two cents anyway...

Exactly, it's timely; and with stuff like this that can be very important. That it actually got a physical release (and on consoles) is important to note as well, of course, we can only hope that it had an effect on the AAA military shooters market and the consumers who go for that sort of thing; but frankly I'm sure half of them who bought it probably went "WTF IS THIS NOOB SHIT?!" or something and went back to CoD.

I still remain unconvinced, but it's an important release; thing with overrating is (if it happens at all) it happens very quickly because of a vague majority of people that have had a great experience with it, and that just sounds like positive reviews to me.

If a game is going to stand on its narrative, I prefer that that narrative not work only because the protagonist is an enormous god damn idiot. Well, unless you're doing Flowers for Algernon or something.

It was neatt and interesting and had a great aesthetic, but yeah, gets too much praise sometimes.

PieBrotherTB:

DrunkenMonkey:
Not exactly, it's only praiseworthy because it made a good statement during times when militaristic shooters flood the industry. I think it has the right amount of praise going for it. It's story telling only seems sophisticated because we haven't had a truly good story in a while. Just my two cents anyway...

Exactly, it's timely; and with stuff like this that can be very important. That it actually got a physical release (and on consoles) is important to note as well, of course, we can only hope that it had an effect on the AAA military shooters market and the consumers who go for that sort of thing; but frankly I'm sure half of them who bought it probably went "WTF IS THIS NOOB SHIT?!" or something and went back to CoD.

I still remain unconvinced, but it's an important release; thing with overrating is (if it happens at all) it happens very quickly because of a vague majority of people that have had a great experience with it, and that just sounds like positive reviews to me.

Well it's different and that's all that matters, also the message the developers wanted to send def. came through so I think it worked out pretty well, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Triforceformer:
If you had the choice to just turn away from that situation and go home, that would undermine the game's efforts to show us just how psychotic the average shooter protagonist really is.

I find that one of the best parts of the game is that it makes you consider (and inevitably disagree with) something that has NEVER even crossed your mind before it calls you out on it. You CAN just turn away and go home. Alt+F4. If you/Walker decide to rationalise it as someone else's fault and press on more power to you and in that sense it is identical to every other war game instead of the one fundamental difference of it calling you out on it instead of fist bumping you afterwards

I find it fascinating that nobody questions this stuff in any game that doesn't try to ask them to sit down and think about what they've done.

I also feel that trying to have standout and interesting gameplay would probably undermine the message unless it was handled masterfully. As for the argument that if it was a movie it wouldn't be praised, no shit. Movies are 80+ years older than games, and they didn't start hitting their stride for a looooong time.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked