Sometimes a game just slips under the radar. Whatever the reason for this occurring, be it bad marketing, classification problems or a strange concept, some games just fail to find their audience. Here at Player2.net.au we want to highlight these rough gems and that is where “In Case You Missed It” comes in. Some games just deserve a second chance.
In Case You Missed It – Spec Ops: The Line
Sometimes a game, through one feature, rises above the sum of its parts. On these occurrences, something takes what would otherwise be a standard game and moves it into legendary status. This is exactly what occurred with Spec Ops: The Line. A military based 3rd person shooter that had solid, if unoriginal, gameplay shouldn’t leave a lasting impression but thanks to a story that left many gasping and wanting a cold shower the game has reached legendary status among those who survived this harrowing tale.
Set in Dubai after what appears to be some form of cataclysmic event, Spec Ops: The Line sees players take control of a soldier sent in to rescue a missing group of American commandos. This soldier (voiced by Nolan North) is the sort of character that video games have been based on for years. A tough no-nonsense type with a chiseled jaw and good aim. The game starts as one would expect, clearly defined baddies, cover-based shooting and predictable story beats.
But after an hour or so something begins to change. The soldier and his team begin to catch glimpses of what is happening, casual brutality begins to affect their commitment to the mission. Players start to see realization dawn in the actions of the soldiers, were they actually the good guys? Were they really there to make things better? Slowly, as the situation worsens they begin to see things from another point of view, that they were in fact, the invaders and their presence was making a bad situation worse. This enlightening is brought to the forefront by their actions, where in one act to save their own lives they become the exact thing they are fighting against.
To say more would be to ruin what is one of the most shocking story beats in recent gaming history. Rarely do games attempt to justify or rationalize a large body count but in Spec Ops: The Line these actions become central the story and leave players feeling gutted, shocked and disgusted with their actions. The Developers, Yager, have used the game to give players a taste of the horrors of war and how spur-of-the-moment choices by one combatant can have lasting and far-reaching consequences for combatants and civilians alike.
The gameplay in Spec Ops: The Line is nothing that we haven’t seen before. Solid cover mechanics, capable shooting and good-but-not-great level design should have meant that Spec Ops was the type of game that people enjoyed while playing but forgot soon after. But thanks to the wonderfully written story that examines the true horror of war and forces the player to accept responsibility for their large body count the game has become something more. It is a game that stays with players, a game that haunts thoughts, a game that demands discussion with others that have played it. Spec Ops: The Line is a game that deserves its cult status and deserves to be played by anyone that appreciates story. It is not a game that will leave you feeling good about yourself, in fact, you may just feel disgusted, but it is a game that tackles war and its victims in a way that will stay with you for a very long time.
Spec Ops: The Line is available on Steam, PS3 and Xbox 360.