Spec Ops The Line Review

Posted 5 years ago by myetvmedia

When games are based on classic literature as their source material it seems to add a false sense of depth. Dante’s Inferno took the works of Dante Alighieri and turned it into a brawler which is about as painfully far from the source as one could get. That game wasn’t some deep philosophical exploration and neither is Spec Ops The Line. Don’t get me wrong it could have been and I’m sure one day a game will adapt a novel and I’ll actually want to play it. But Spec Ops The Line makes too many mistakes as a game and as a narrative to be considered excellent in either category.

Photo courtesy of 2K Games

There has been a lot of bloating about Spec Ops’ Heart of Darkness inspired story. And while Joseph Conrad’s novel does serve as inspiration it does so in a very roundabout way. There’s a bit of history here so fasten your seatbelts. In the late seventies Francis Ford Coppola took Conrad’s tale of human duality and adapted it into Apocalypse Now; a vietnam war film. Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness are as different as can be in terms of content and setting but they do share the same basic themes. Coppola took those themes and used them to tell a story about war and its unforgiving cost something that Heart of Darkness does not touch upon. So truly Spec Ops The Line shares more in common with Apocalypse Now than the film’s source material which is Heart of Darkness.

Photo courtesy of 2K Games

The game does do some things right and basing its narrative on a war film as it is a war game is definitely a step in the right direction (for games as a movement in general). I am entirely sure that Dante’s Inferno set literature adaptations back a couple years as far as games go.

Photo courtesy of 2K Games

As a game Spec Ops is mechanically very weak. It is a squad based shooter and while you might expect that to involve some strategy or tactics you would be wrong. Playing as Captain Walker you have two options for your two artificially controlled allies; to focus their fire on a target or use stun grenades. The ability to direct their attention was itself somewhat decent but the charm of this dissolves as soon as you realise just how stupid their ai is. The companions will often stand out in the open getting shot or run around in circles while you try and take on the masses by yourself. The opportunity to direct their movement would have been gratefully appreciated. The stun command can only be used when a sporadic prompt appears; often times when it would be completely useless like right after i’ve killed every enemy in the area. The cover system would have been a marvel back when rainbow six vegas and gears of war were fresh on the market but advances in third person shooters have left Spec Ops old and clunky.


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Spec Ops The Line Review

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