December 25, 2012

2012 Gaming Year in Review: Spec Ops The Line (June)

For those of you familiar with shooters, the term "Spec Ops" may remind you of the many side missions Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and 3 offered, because it was the only thing creative Activision could think of.  However, this game is far from your average first person shooter experience.  To start off, I would like to point out that this game is in fact a third person cover based shooter similar to Max Payne 3.  In this gripping adventure brought to you by Take-Two Interactive Software and 2K Games, you lead two other members of an elite delta squad through not a battlefield, but rather a city left for dead in the desert, Dubai.  

The story begins with an investigatory patrol into the sand ravaged city of Dubai where you discover a failed evacuation attempt by the American 33rd Infantry has resulted in a bloody rebellion by the inhabitants of the city.  When attempts to rationalize with the civilians fail, a gunfight breaks out between the two parties and the your character’s squad is forced to kill the civilians they were sent in to protect.

Your three member squad comprises of Sergeant Lugo, Lieutenant Adams, and yourself, Captain Walker. There is a handy mechanic in the game where it allows the player to designate orders to squad mates to hit targets you’re too lazy to get yourself, or if you’re out of hard-to-find ammo.  If the target is far away, Lugo picks him off with his rifle, while Adams will bomb the shit out of everything nearby.  

In terms of weaponry, your character is limited to three of each type of grenade, and the usual primary plus secondary combo.  Mounted guns are easy to find and are common, and weapon attachments such silencers and laser dot sights offer different available tactics for every experience. Gameplay is relatively lackluster, with the emphasis being on shooting and popping in and out of cover.

Level design is one of the least creative components of this game, with the only interesting part being the ability to use sand as a weapon. The amount of times Captain Walker falls off buildings but manages to grab something really convenient at the last moment will leave you wondering why he doesn't just carry a parachute around with him the entire game. When you aren't too busy dropping to your death, you might just be able to find three rappel latches conveniently placed on the map where you need to go, the exact number of ropes you need for your squad.

All in all, Spec Ops the Line broke off creatively from the casual gung-ho shooter and introduced some horrors of fighting.  However, it lacked variety and could not provide enough interest for the average gamer to dedicate that much time into.  Considering at first release it was priced equally as many other developed games such as Battlefield 3, I would only rate this a 6/10 for a good story but disappointing game play.