Warning: this probably isn't worth your time, it ended up being more for myself than for anyone else.
Wow. I just played through this game in one sitting and I'm exhausted. Wiped out, tired and numb. No shooter has had such an emotional impact to me since Episode 2... I just sat five minutes staring at this text to compose myself to continue. Yes, I'm a very emotional and easily manipulated person when it comes to TV, movies and games. There will certainly be a lot of people who will just shrug their shoulders and say "it's just a video game, I don't care". I don't want to do that, I always try to throw myself in and have an emotional experience. Spec Ops: The Line truly delivered.
I just get the gameplay out of the way now: it's fine. I could almost say that it's good, but honestly, it doesn't really matter. It's not frustrating and it doesn't come on the way of the important thing i.e. the story. The story is not really anything original, I loans things from may sources mainly from Heart of Darkness and the ending is obviously form Fight Club. It’s really the small stuff that makes it work so well.
The characters truly change during the game; I think this is fairly rare in games. Characters are often very static heroes or anti-heroes. They are established in the beginning and then they go against the obstacles what ever they may be and arrive at their goal. There isn’t that many character driven games.
A lot of the change is subtle and it’s not pointed out to the player. You just play along and then you realize that hey that’s different. This goes to what the character say during combat. At the beginning when they kill an enemy they say “enemy down” etc. but at the end it’s “got that fucker!” This isn’t a binary change either it goes in steps. The VO changes across the board too. From them spotting enemies to reloading. “Cover me I’m reloading” becomes “argh, this is slowing me down”. When healing teammates it goes from reassuring “You are fine now” to “Get the fuck up! We have to keep going!”
Then there are the executions. Finishing off enemies on the ground starts with a neck snap or a simple bullet to the head and goes to your character bashing the enemies’ face to the ground multiple times or lying on top of them and pushing an LMG in to their face and firings it while yelling “Fuck you!” This had a big effect to my attitude too and I actually cached myself muttering said fraise myself while finishing off an enemy that had almost killed me. I was shocked.
The game goes so far as to actually change the loading screens and tool tips as the game goes on. At the end tool tips don’t tell you that SMG’s have a shorter range but are fairly accurate while on the move. Instead they read: “You cannot understand, nor do you want to” and “Do you feel like a hero yet?”
No video game that I have ever played has depicted the decent into madness in such a way. You just feel everything crumbling around you. Nothing goes well in this game. There is no way to win and you can sense it from far away. The despair creeps into you and when you get into the chopper and Walker tells Adams so circle the building and just enjoys the hell out of mowing down dozens of soldiers with a minigun, I was right there with him. Fuck it man; let’s kill everyone, for fun.
I don’t know anymore. At this point I have lost all my energy to write anymore. I’m wavering on if I should actually even post this at this point since it’s just a bunch on my internalizations without any kind of conclusion or real point. So much text to delete might as well put it up. Thanks Spec Ops for making me feel and fuck you for it being such a miserable feeling. Love and hate.