Spec Ops: The Line – Review

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Spec Ops the Line is a 3rd person shooter set in an almost post-apocalyptic city of Dubai. Enormous sandstorms have completely engulfed the city and most of the population has been evacuated, however a man named John Konrad and his squad bravely stayed behind to help the small population that were unable to leave the city. After losing communication with Dubai, U.S. officials assume Konrad dead, that is until they receive a weak signal emitting from deep within the city. And that’s where the story begins.

You play Martin Walker, a man that starts as the typical cliché military man, acting like every other character in a modern military shooter these days, but with every encounter in Spec Ops the Line your ethics are questioned and Walker is brought to the edge of his sanity. You are given unspeakable options and actually start to realise the severity of your decisions, you will find yourself deep in thought, deciding whether to spare the life of a man that would otherwise take yours, or to put yourself at risk to save someone from falling into the sandy abyss.

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The deep story is complimented by the astonishing representation of the sand covered Dubai, you will see skyscrapers buried almost completely under the sands and detailed wounds grow slowly on Walker and his friends very cleverly and subtly as the game progresses. Graphically there is not much wrong with Spec Ops the Line, other than a few small particle effect issues and slow rendering times, the most of which aren’t even noticeable.

Walker and his team go through a lot, and the voice acting portrays the emotions perfectly, you can hear the fear and desperation grow in their voices from start to finish. All characters big and small add to the atmosphere with their painful and distant cries as well as their villainous laughs.

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Combat in Spec Ops The Line is pretty good, it can often be repetitive as there are very few types of enemy and a set number of spawns, which means it can feel like pointless filler between its important cut scenes, however the clever use of team abilities and environmental destruction allows you to find ways of mixing things up a little, for example, shooting a beam support to drop tons of sand onto the enemy, or shooting a glass ceiling to drop a man to his death.

The multiplayer in Spec Ops The Line took me by surprize, as a story driven and very much single player orientated game, I did not come into this expecting much… no it’s not great, but it can be fun. There are all the basic game types, death match, team death match, and other simple objective based games, but considering the game has a cover based gunplay system, lots of death matches consist of people waiting around for someone to move out of cover, The objective game types however make up for this by giving players a reason to move. There is a very basic unlock system almost identical to that of Call of duty, you can unlock tags, titles and badges, as well as guns to customise in your load-out, perks and costumes, and once you have it all, you can start all over again…

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Overall the single player gives you a real sense of morality and makes you question even your own personal ethics, it tells a deep story with great performances all round, all of which takes place in a beautiful disaster. The multiplayer will keep you hooked for a while, but with the small variety and lasting appeal I can’t see you spending TOO much time there, but it will be time well spent.

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