dimsey's Spec Ops: The Line (Xbox 360) review

I don't know what you're talking about, I thought it was pretty great. OH NO, OPINIONS.

The Rad

  • Handles narrative better than most games of its ilk.
  • Satisfying gunplay.
  • Excellent voice work by Nolan North.
  • Awesome soundtrack.

The Bad

  • Difficulty spikes to a frustrating degree around the midway point.
  • Some visual roughness.

People had said that Spec Ops: The Line was well worth playing for the interesting story and narrative touches, but that the gameplay left a lot to be desired. I feel like maybe folk were just expecting too much because I went in expecting a crappy shooter and got something rad!

The narrative is definitely the draw here though and it handles the subject matter better than most. The game will put you into some interesting situations and force you to make some difficult choices.

It doesn’t approach arm conflict with the same “FUCK YEAH!!! EXPLOSIONS!” that most games tend to and it weaves a rather grim tale that kept me enticed from start to bloody end.

Will give much credit to Nolan North’s performance. As the game goes on your character breaks physically and mentally. I feel like Mr. North’s performance does a great job of expressing that.

That your character shows more wear and tear as the game progresses, both through deformation of the character model and more intense animations for execution animations and a couple of other small touches also doesn’t hurt things.

Also… FUCK YEAH!!! EXPLOSIONS!!!

I found the general gameplay to be on par with other comparable shooters, though the feel of the gun play I thought was better than most.

Killing enemies with most any weapon will send them flying in a satisfying display of ragdoll physics and blood splatter, best emphasized with the games shotgun - but all guns feel good to use and you WILL use all guns.

Ammo is scarce in Spec Ops and you’ll be constantly swapping weapons with your fallen foes to keep stocked up. I feel this is better than the average game wherein you find one weapon that you like and unless FORCED to stick with that the entire game. I certainly had favored weapons but I appreciate that the game didn’t allow me to get too comfortable with my load out.

Throughout most of the game you’ll have a couple of A.I. partners and they’re actually pretty self-sufficient. And that aside even helpful!

For instance if you’re taking a lot of fire and can’t really move from cover, they’ll ask if you want them to throw a flash bang to stun the enemy - allowing you to find a better vantage point or quickly take out the opposition. I found them quite crucial to progressing in a fair few areas.

While on the topic of cover I also appreciate that it isn’t there as a suggestion as it often is in other cover based shooters.
Captain Martin Walker ain’t no Marcus Fenix. If you’re out in the open you’ll go down FAST.
Same for the enemies though, at least up to a point.

I feel like the introduction of heavily armored enemies kind of spoiled the combat just a tad. I thought the enemy was capable enough prior to their appearance. I’d died a couple of times, but it wasn’t frustrating - it was generally my fault an it was a nice challenge.

The armored enemies tend to be able to absorb a clip or three.
Or a few grenades. Or even at least a couple shots from the RPG.
I feel like this hurt the balance a fair bit, but fortunately they don’t appear TOO often.

ANYHOOS, I’d say Spec Ops is well worth your time.
I know a lot of folk don’t agree but I thought the gameplay was top notch and awesome narrative flourishes were just the icing on an already delicious cake.

Even if you DON’T agree that it plays well, it’s stupid cheap nowadays and still worth seeing even if you’d argue it weren't worth playing.

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