by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
Defining the Edge of Morality (cntd)
These sequences range from being chuckle-worthy to really unnerving, almost scaring the player as they desperately fight for their lives. It’s very well done and many of which come out of nowhere with little predictability.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most shooters these days, 2K made the judgment call to include a multiplayer component into the game. Handled by another developer (Darkside Game Studios), the effort is sadly wasted as the result is decidedly par for the course and ultimately unremarkable. Only the most curious should investigate the multiplayer component and, even then, you might as well go back to your favorite online shooter as there’s little here to be found and, of that, very lacking in an audience. It’s a shame too given that the singleplayer is remarkably enjoyable.
Staring Into the Abyss
Looking at Spec Ops: The Line you’ll find a more par-for-the-course presentation before you. This is to be expected over six years into a console generation and while it doesn’t necessarily mean this is a bad thing but, at this point, it stands as a demonstration of the graphical limits of the Unreal 3 engine. Body animations are stiff at times, textures seem flat and the lighting scheme leaves a bit to be desired at times. Character facial animation only appears moderately worked on during cinematic sequences as, for the most part, your character doesn’t seem to emote at all throughout the course of the game. The game’s focus on sand doesn’t really stand up either as, since the use of sand is few and far between in firefights, seems to be a specifically-generated trigger event that lacks any sense of being organic for the experience. The presentation gets a few noteworthy bumps during Walker’s psychological events but, for the most part, isn’t a visual splendor to behold.
One thing you will find enjoyable about the game is the audio portion of the game’s presentation. The Line features an enjoyable soundtrack that’s surprisingly interspersed with licensed tracks such as Deep Purple’s “Hush” and the classic “Nowhere to Run to Baby” by Martha and the Vandellas. These shake up what would otherwise be just another firefight and turn them into rather enjoyable ones. Nolan North, probably the most prolific voice actor in video games other than Charles Martinet, takes on the role of Walker and while he does it using the same tone and pitch of voice as was utilized for Uncharted character Nathan Drake he does brings a very convincing take on a supremely stressed and mentally exhausted to the character.
Drawing the Line in the Sand
During the development of Spec Ops I was intrigued by this revival but, other than the initial trailer for the game, I couldn’t find myself getting excited by it. It remained elusive for the two years since it was initially announced, hidden behind wave after wave of other larger, more PR-driven titles like Saints Row, XCOM and The Darkness II. It is a shame that Spec Ops was relegated to being the kid in the back row rather than standing in the spotlight with these other great-looking games as it is probably one of the best Summer-release titles in the past few years.
Spec Ops: The Line, though presented in the form of a traditional third-person shooter, takes the player on an adventure into the darkness that happens when civilization has ended and does so in a rather fantastic manner. Though the multiplayer is rather forgettable the game’s story has several ‘wow’ moments and a twist ending that leaves you stunned. It’s a solid modern shooter experience that brings to the table a great, memorable tale of survival and desperation. We need more stories like this in our games with guns that stand on par or higher than those that wield swords and bows and Yager delivered on this.
Fantastic story, solid shooter mechanics.