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Be prepared, this game is not your average war game....its a real mind trip. You start as Capt Walker, a Delta Force Operater, with your two compadres a Lt and a Sgt Lugo, your mission is to go into the lost city of Dubai, and find out what an American Commander was doing there with his entire Brigade of troops.
Months earlier Dubai was swallowed up by a lethal and very large sand storm, the American 33rd Brigade were sent in to get the last civilians out, then their orders changed and they were told to abandon the people and the city, they did not.
Now Dubai has been turned into a sort of mercenaries playground where the 33rd battle with CIA operatives and Dubai civilians posing as insurgents....oh and your smack bang in the middle.
But things are not as simple as that in this game, the only way I can describe it is, its like a desert version of Apocolypse now, if youve read Conran`s 'The heart of Darkness' its got allot of the same theories as that...mix it with Fight Club and your there...wierd huh ! You get pulled from pillar to post trying to work out who the good guys are and in the process have to make the decision to do some very questionable things including using UN banned weapons on your own troops, shooting unarmed civilians and the sort, mix in great scary enviroments and a cracking soundtrack courtesy of a yank DJ hell belt on killing you- you empty clips at seemingly endless rounds of troops and helicopters, all to motown and rock classics ! you cant beat it.
The game enviroments are beautifal, a huge amount of effort has gone into making large quantities of sand shift and move like water - great luxery yachts, hotels and clubs that look the part, graphic killings, great sound acting and very good, if a little clicky at times firing mechanics, although the physics are spot on in terms of gun battles.
All the usual modern weaponary is here, plus a few tanker truck chases and helicopter shoot outs will leave your actions genes loving it.
But the storyline and the plot will leave you mind feeling dirty, used and in need of some serious phsyco-therapy.
This game is a third person shooter, something that I guess makes a change from the bog standard rubbish Activision spews out once every year. This then should feel different and be enjoyable. It is, but it's also incredibly difficult and time consuming.
Graphics are excellent, attention to detail is missed in the far distance so mountains and objects at the end of the draw distance are very blurry or badly textured. I really enjoy a game like GTA IV that takes advantage of a long draw distance, but I found that the developers simply skimmed over the detail. Barriers and road signs though are excellent, and some good colours and textures are used to create a distressed look throughout a war torn desert.
The missions are all very interesting and follow a complex storyline behind a group of soldiers who travel through the desert in search of a radio studio, where they eventually meet a DJ who seems to know more about them and their history than they do. The soldier who you play as seeks vengeance and at the end of the game you can choose how the game ends based on previous decisions, and your final decision. Don't read the achievement list if you want this to be a surprise as this will completely ruin it.
This game is incredibly difficult. Cod 4 on vet looks like the Teletubbies compared to this. On suicide mission difficulty you'll struggle to make it to cover in time and it'll take you ages to advance just a few feet at a time. To unlock FUBAR you must complete it on this difficulty. FUBAR is unbelievably insane, I couldn't get past Mission 4, and that was after 3 hours work getting there.
Longevity is excellent but this is purely down to difficulty. I did this game on Suicide mission and it took me a week and a half. That was with a bit of skill and luck too, the less well seasoned player with 3rd person shooters will certainly struggle to get through it quickly. You will often repeat checkpoints and missions, narrowly missing a major rage quit by the end of the day.
Achievements are relatively straight forward, they don't glitch and do require skill. Most are for storyline splits so if you miss one of these you can just go back and change the storyline to unlock the opposite one. The achievements are easy to unlock up to 950G if you do it on suicide mission. The remaining 50G is FUBAR and therefore, this makes it a hard game to fully 1000 point. I currently have 950G.
Overall a great game to buy for enjoyment, just for the storyline that is. You really wouldn't want to buy this game if you're new to games of this genre, or if you're a score hunter. Given the violence in this game I recommend not giving it to a child. It's not just shooting, there's torture and mutilation scenes too. Pretty sick and sadomasochistic too.
Please NOTE this is my article as written for www.ConsoleMonster.com
Your sprinting through the blinding sandstorms in Dubai, the sun baking down on your back, cover is ten yards in front of you and as if you were back home sliding through second base you make it into cover ready to take the fight to the enemy.
Welcome to Spec Ops: The Line.
From the off, the game's biggest strength shines like Batman's beacon, the plot. It is not only immersive, but thought provoking and will have you questioning your own morales whilst playing through. The game's setting begins six months into your deployment in Dubai, which is currently being ravaged by constant sand storms. The 'Damned' 33rd Battalion of the United States Army come in to help give aid and evacuate any Emiraties within the province before they fall foul of the conditions.
The US government at some point decided to abandon all relief efforts, alas Colonel Konrad, the Commanding Officer of 'The Damned', went against those orders and became deserters. Dubai was soon classed as 'No-Mans Land' and the US government disowned the 33rd, citing numerous reasons, most notably, treason.
You, a Delta Operative, along with your colleagues Adams and Lugo, are sent in to gauge the situation. What you'll find is pretty grim, and you're soon fighting off not only the native insurgents, but also members of the 33rd themselves who mistake you for the CIA. The story continues on and as you will see for yourself, is extremely gripping. Even when the end finally comes around there are four possible outcomes, depending on the outcome more often than not you'll want to have another crack at it just to see how the story unravels, four times over.
In terms of gameplay, The Line will again surprise you. Although it is by no means unique it does what it supposed to, and does it well. Once you start running through the dunes, you will soon realise that it is very Gears of War-esque, with Walker being able to vault over objects, slide into cover and cruise across objects. That's not to say that Yager haven't added their own little twist on the game's various mini-battles.
These mini-battles is exactly what this game is all about. As you come to a new mini-battlefield, you will have to start thinking very tactically as your choices and decisions will affect what your colleagues do. You'll have to scan the road ahead (well dune) and decide how best to dispatch your enemies. What's more, you can order Adams and Lugo to fire on specific targets, perfect for cover fire or simply to dispatch the opposition a lot quicker.
Once the firefight begins the game truly throws you into the thick of it. You'll see and hear bullets whiz past your head. When you shoot an insurgent he will react as if actually being shot, take out his left arm and he'll jolt to his left, take out his leg and he'll fall to the ground, head shot... lights out. Even the ammunition supply seems a lot more realistic in comparison to your GoWs and CoDs, you have to limit yourself and switch off your gun's 'Automatic' as you will soon realise that every round needs to hit it's intended target or empty clips is all you'll be left with, oh that and staring down the barrel of an enemies smoking AK47.
At times the game does suffer a few niggles. When a grenade is thrown your way it is very difficult to dodge it, or even throw it back. You can also fall foul of your own team mate trying to dispatch an enemy from a yard away with an RPG or grenade instead of using his fists. Generally though the experience is both realistic and rather full-filling.
Sadly, the game's multiplayer is quite a let down, in part due to the lack of activity on Xbox LIVE. When you first enter the Spec Ops Multiplayer world you're met with a very inviting amount of weapon unlocks, title unlocks and game mode unlocks. Alas when you attempt to enter lobbies you soon find yourself at times waiting 20-30 minutes to find a game, and this is only when you play the Team Deathmatch, with anything else you can find yourself waiting even longer. Once you do get into the game it just isn't that exciting, almost like there is something missing. Graphically speaking it also seems to have taken quite a large jump down from the campaign's visuals, and as such looks fairly basic.
Continuing on from the graphics, as said above, the campaign mode actually looks pretty smart for the most part. When you find yourself engulfed by sandstorms it can be quite a harrowing experience. Also when you're standing atop a sky scraper, looking down on some random Dubai city, the cityscape is quite awe-inspiring, and you can happily sit there for a moment quite literally taking in the view. The character textures do at times flicker, but it's easy to look past this as for the most part it looks pretty suave.
Overall this game has come out and hit the ground running with a superb storyline and some tactically intense warfare thrown in for good measure. The multiplayer may be a let down, luckily if anything it can work as a positive for this game as it gives you even more reason to finish the campaign mode and run through it again to fully understand the decisions you have made whilst playing as Walker.
It may not be winning any awards, that's not to say that this is one of the most captivating shooters currently available to Xbox 360 users. The morality of your choices has never been so well presented as they are in Spec Ops: The Line and for that reason alone it's a game that everyone should experience, if only for a few short hours.
In this saturated market of modern warfare shooters, it can be difficult to find something that stands above the crowd, but Spec Ops: The Line is definitely a different beast. Set in a desolate, ruined Dubai and based loosely on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, this third-person shooter paints a harrowing portrayal of the rigors of combat that will leave you quaking in your boots.
The story of The Line takes place in Dubai some months after massive sandstorms buried the city. As Captain Martin Walker, your mission is to enter the ruins of Dubai and discover what happened to the US soldiers sent to evacuate the city's population. However, it very quickly becomes apparent that things are not as they seem, leading to a nightmarish journey through both the ruins and your own fragile mental state. The gameplay itself is fairly rudimentary, the only really stand-out feature being the ability to co-ordinate your AI teammates in battle. However, make no mistake, The Line's combat is brutal and you will find yourself dying A LOT if you don't keep your head down and fight smart.
Where Spec Ops: The Line really excels, however, is in its narrative. Without wishing to give away too much of what happens over the course of the campaign, suffice it to say that by the time the game ends Captain Walker will have found himself in more than a few morally questionable positions, all of his own making. This game is not afraid of throwing some real horror your way, with at least one scene in particular that will leave your mouth dry and your head spinning.
In a nutshell, Spec Ops: The Line is brutal, tense and totally worth playing. Just don't expect to come away from the experience with the satisfaction of a job well done.
Spec Ops: The Line is a third person shooter based entirely in a "deserted" Dubai after sandstorms have pretty much ruined the whole city, but of course that is not the only factor. It would make a pretty boring shooting game if there were no people to shoot wouldn't it. Your initial mission playing as Captain Walker the main character, is to try and locate a war hero called Conrad who had tried to evacuate Dubai before the sandstorms hit and it had been assumed had died trying to do so until a radio transmission was received. However your mission swiftly changes as you become embroiled in a crazy storyline where you aren't ever sure who the enemy is. Fighting refugees, army, civilians and the very people you came in to Dubai to save. The storyline is dark and gets gradually darker exploring the mental effects of the traumatic experiences and decisions soldiers experience. As I mention below the story can be a confusing as to what on earth is going on. Whether that is intentional to show the confusion the character would be experiencing I'm unsure, if it is they have done it well.
Spec Ops uses a cover system similar to that found in gears of war, where you dive into cover at the press of a button, you can blind fire and can lean out and zoom etc. This works well and the controls are simple so you find yourself bouncing from cover to cover, vaulting over barriers and running around like a lunatic very early on. There are also those moral decisions you can make throughout the game which make a difference to the story in the short term but as far as I know this didn't have any long term effect on the story line. There are many different endings though depending on what you do in the final cut scene at the end so it is worth a few play throughs.
I have played a lot of shooters but i think Spec Ops is very accessible for beginners and challenging enough for the more hardened veteran. I instantly played the hardest difficulty I could (it takes a play through of the whole campaign to unlock the hardest difficulty called "FUBAR"). I found this was hard enough to keep me interested, there are spikes where it gets a lot harder particularly towards the last few chapters of the game where you find you die repeatedly but the checkpoints are regular so it isn't that frustrating which is a plus. The length of the campaign is a bit of an issue. I got it on love film and I got it on the Saturday morning (late morning as I enjoy a lye in) and I'd almost completed the campaign before 5.
The graphics are decent, not astounding but more what you've come to expect from games on the Xbox 360 which clearly seems to be reaching its limits now. You can see your character and your squad mates Lugo and Adams condition deteriorate as you go through the story. The setting is quite hazy but you would expect that in a sandy climate.
The voice acting is really good and believable with a lot of humour at the beginning. What I would recommend is that you do actually listen to it as there are so many twists and turns throughout the campaign that it can get confusing if you miss a cut scene. If you don't really care about understanding it but just want to play through then obviously this doesn't matter. The downside to the voice acting is that occasionally there will be an out of place shout that doesn't really suit the situation.
The achievements for this are all campaign based and all very achievable so if you like to boost your gamerscore it is very possible to get 1000GS from this. I got almost 800 from one play through.
I'll be honest the multiplayer isn't great I haven't played it in depth as it just wasn't worth it. Although if you do get games either rented or via love film etc. this is a multiplayer that doesn't require you to have a code to access so you can actually play it. It has a ranking system similar to pretty much every online game now, and the standard sort of game modes with a free for all, team death match and objective based modes. Each have their own special names. You can modify your character and unlock various things including further game modes. You seem to wait an eternity in lobbies between games but you can't really complain about the standard chaos that ensues during the matches. Its a playable multiplayer but it's nothing new and therefore there are better games that do exactly what it is trying to do.
Personally I would recommend this game but I wouldn't recommend purchasing it at full price, or at all if you can rent it really. As the online doesn't require a code it could make for a decent secondhand purchase and I have heard about possible DLC in the future which will increase longevity.