When we play first person shooters involving Middle East skirmishes we are expecting familiar sites such as Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran. In Spec Ops: The Line, action takes us to the crown of the UAE, the splendid city of Dubai which is unfortunately in turmoil. All its glory was stripped away and what we find is an all-out war against military factions, insurgents and covert ops. The landscape is changed and as players will soon find out, the ones taking part in this bloody conflict will be scarred for life as well.
Some lines are not meant to be crossed
The narrative is out of the ordinary and players can almost feel tension building, which each mission they complete. What makes Spec Ops: The Line special is that in this title, success is a relative term and even though the characters advance slowly but steadily towards their objective, they have an overwhelming feeling that they are losing something forever. In a Dubai devastated by sandstorms and engulfed by conflict, knowing friends from foes is more difficult than it seems.
Unlike other shooters where everything seems to be laid down for you and the only surprises result from the heavily scripted scenarios, in Spec Ops: The Line the unexpected is at home. There are no clear rules of engagement, no obvious enemies and few people to trust completely, so accidents happen all the time. Difficult choices need to be made more often than you’d expect and the game has an incredible power of persuading players to revisit their decisions.
Wait for the dust to settle
With each bullet fired and every action captain Martin Walker has to make despite his better judgment and common sense, the further he sinks. American soldiers, some gone rogue, locals and other special ops with their own agenda are fighting each other in what turns turn to be a bloody war where everyone loses. As you advance with the campaign, you also acquire better gear and perks that are supposed to make you a more effective killing machine.
The game mechanics are decent without shining in any way and the improved weapons and armors feel more like gimmicks that need to be there, rather than real upgrades. In terms of graphics, Spec Ops: The Line is a regular shooter that happens to be blessed with an action that unfolds in a special setting. While the outdoors are unassuming, players will surely enjoy the moments spend inside sumptuous buildings.
If it wasn’t for the immersive narrative and the deeply troubled but convincing characters, Spec Ops: The Line would have been nothing more than a summer game. As it is, I give it four stars out of five and strongly recommend you to give it a chance and start with the launch trailer.