Spec Ops: The Line game review

So over the weekend, I had just come inside after finishing mowing my lawn when a tv spot for Spec Ops The Line® came on, and I thought “Ok, this looks pretty good, the Unreal engine strikes again”, so off I ran to Walmart® and got myself a copy of the premium “Fubar” edition.

The first ten minutes are pretty unremarkable, but then again I only ever play FPS games on casual (I just don’t have as much time to devote to gaming as I once did, nor do I have the inclination to go back to 20+ hours a week of it at this point). However, the game LOOKS superb, the atmospherics and lighting, weather and sand/dust particle are about as good as you can get from this generation of the Unreal engine. Yes I have seen the new Unreal Engine 4 demo, and that looks killer! I am excited. Anyway, off track a bit, so I digress.

The music selection of classic rock from the 60’s is a real treat, although I don’t ever buy games for their sound tracks, that’s just weird. I wish there was more of it playing through out though, as the constant stream of Fuck’s!! get’s a little tiring after 1-2 hours of game play.

The trick of using the environment to help turn the tide of battle is cool, except there isn’t a whole lot of it, and you can sort of see it from a mile away. In some cases it just feels like a cheap way to end a set piece. That may just be me, as I am not ashamed to say that I get my ass handed to me more often than not.

I was pleasantly surprised with the slow-mo action after a stellar headshot or take down, I just haven’t been able to finesse a way to keep it going for any length of time.

I hate the fact that the same button is supposed to make you complete a melee attack and vault obstacles, or tuck in to cover. I get shot a whole lot when I smack a guard rail or cement block rather than jumping over it or getting cover behind it. That sucks and it gets real irritating, it feels an awful lot like Gears of War one in that aspect. (Truth be told I am really excited for GoW Judgement). I’m not all together that impressed with the gun-fire mechanics. I love to use a sniper rifle in fps games, but even in a crouch this feels like a chore when you’re in the height of battle. Maybe I need to calibrate the settings better so I don’t get so much movement after each shot. As I said before, I’m no pro at fps games, and that just seems like an irritant to me.

Overall I do like this game, but it seems like they could have done so much more with it. I get the sense that game developers spend more time thinking about DLC and on-line modes now more so than the single player campaign (which is why I buy the games in the first place). I could go and play GOW or Halo on-line if I was looking for a very rich multiplayer experience.

What spec ops the line needs is a wider more open world, not massive, but to give you 2 – 3 options to get from point a – point b. More environmental breakable items to be used during the battle. Also the ability to sneak up on people and kill them quietly a la splinter cell. I like the silencer attachment but it doesn’t do much beside add 4 sec of animation, and then the whole group of insurgents get wise to your approach with or without it anyway.

I’d give it an 9 for looks, but a 7 for game play, and a 10 for the music selection. If you disagree with me, leave a comment (about the game, not my lack of fps skills as I already know I have none).

The photo’s are all screen captures, and not my property. I should note that I am playing the X-box 360 version.