Spec Ops: The Line — Part 1

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Spec Ops

So I just picked up Spec Ops: The Line as part of Steam’s Summer sale. I remembered hearing a lot of good things about Spec Ops: The Line’s story at the end of 2012. I even played the demo on 360 and mildly enjoyed it. You don’t quite get a good feel for the story playing a demo though. It also didn’t help that the demo jumps to a much later part of the game in order to show you different environments — and that messes with the flow of the story as well. I also remember hearing about how Spec Ops made you feel bad about the things you did as a soldier — which is definitely the case.

The combat part of Spec Ops isn’t bad, but I’ve seen reviews where they said it wasn’t spectacular. While it’s no Halo in terms of tense action, I did find Spec Ops’ combat to be fun. You can’t run and gun. There’s no running towards a guy and thinking you can just shotgun your way through an area. That might work against a single enemy, but you’ll get mowed down pretty quickly if you try that when you’re outnumbered.

The “white phosphorus” scene got lots of talk — and it’s definitely gross and horrible, but I saw it coming. Spoilers — I had a feeling that the large group of people in what seemed to be a penned off area were civilians. You don’t know this until you’re in the middle of launching mortars at them and the game doesn’t give you the option of stopping. The game also pushes you to be ruthless towards the enemies. The game shows you time and time again how brutal the 33rd has been towards the refugees. It does its best to make you want to show the enemies the same cruelty that they’ve shown to civilians throughout the game. After pushing you towards this brutality, the game then revels in showing you what a monster you are. I refused to let Spec Ops make me feel bad. Walker himself looks at what he’s chosen to do and he quickly moves on. Having realized that the game is trying to manipulate my emotions, I refused to let them accomplish their goal.

I’m still working my way through the game, and I’ve just started Chapter 8. I’ve heard that your character goes progressively mad towards the end so I’ve got that to look forward to.