Tuesday, April 15, 2014
SPEC OPS - THE LINE
I was interested in Spec Ops - The line due to being inspired in the Heart of Darkness, a great novel from Joseph Conrad which was the base of Apocalypse Now's script as well. However the ratings of the game were not impressive so I passed at its time.
Thanks to Steam's offers I bought it some time ago, and now I eventually found the interest to finish it. After Mass Effect 2 I needed a linear game for the sake of variety. In that sense, SOTL doesn't disappoint. Offers direct action, generally shooting plus some on rail sections and storytelling gameplay. So far, so good.
The story, which is supposed to be the main attraction point of the game, has frequent loopholes that keep you in a semi-confused state. It makes more sense once you get to the end, but by then 80% of players (average) have abandoned the game.
In terms of systems I felt it could have used a little more variation from the core shooting, but it's not boring at all. My biggest concerns rely on the design area: Encounter layouts often don't telegraph the enemy locations and you end up using their (generally successful) shots against you as the best way to find out where they are. The game features a couple of interesting findings: A subtle slow down when you kill enemies (with headshots, I believe) and occassional sand cascades you can trigger, although the way to do it was often obscure to me. Also, the difficulty scaled up too much after missions 8-9 to the verge of being frustrating, dying time after time. Checkpoints were not smartly located, or simply there weren't enough. I played the PC version which has some dubious controller assignments on the keyboard. I guess that didn't help.
Visually speaking the game offers very interesting scenarios, quite fresh. Some of them were too empty imho, but in general is a good unique selling point. I could have used some more, actually, since you can finish the game in 5-6 hours if you're a skilled player.
Anyway, it's not the greatest gaming experience of our time, but it's generally solid and can be enjoyable if you ignore some little details here and there. I believe it's the first game made by Yager, and it's not bad at all. Hopefully they'll take this experience to the next step and make something memorable in the next one.