Quick Review – Spec Ops: The Line

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I finished Spec Ops: The Line for the first time. Really impacting story. The famous white phosphorous scene was incredible.

The Line was part of a trend around the time it came out (2012) of games that deceived the player into thinking their choices mattered, when they didn’t. I remember it was a big thing at that time to critique making meaningful choices in games.

It works – I mean, The Line generally did a good job of convincing me that the choices I made were the “only way”. When I used that white phosphorous mortar, I agreed with Captain Walker – “it’s us or them.” I didn’t even consider another possibility. They were just more bad guys to kill. I was thinking tactically, like, “only three of us, an army of them – gotta use the mortar to take ‘em out! Yeah, it’s the only way!” When the game showed me the consequences of those actions, it opened my eyes to just how “one-track brain” we are with shooters.

I’m really glad I finally played it, even as depressing as it was. It was a good thing they had a talented writing team, because the gameplay alone would not have carried this game. Combat was a slog and unsatisfying (kind of the point), and checkpoints were sometimes extremely punishing. But it was worth a playthrough for how it made me think and feel.

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~ by The Retro Gamer on April 8, 2018.

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