Monday, March 4, 2013

Spec Ops: The Line Review

"Do you feel like a Hero..."

Spec Ops: The Line review by @vdjomb


Developer: Yager
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox360, PS3 (reviewed)


A 3rd person cover based shooter set to the back drop of a Dubai ravaged by sandstorms. You play a Commander (voiced by Nolan North) of a 3 man squad (Delta Recon Team) sent in to rescue a Captain lost in a civil warzone. From what I understand it's based on the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Which I'm lead to believe the film Apocalypse Now is also inspired by the classic novel. For me this really does feel like Apocalypse Now set in an opulant mega city that has been reclaimed by the elements.


I'm gonna have to get this off my cheast first. The screen tear is horrendous right from the very start of the game. Which has you playing as a gunner on a Helicopter being attacked by other choppers as you fly over a ravaged oasis in the sand. After this opening, (played during the credits) you are then commanding a team entering the desert city. Ignoring the screen tear, it is very impressive looking. There are some scenes that are visually distrubing and some views that are spectacular. The arrival of a sandstorm during a heated fire fight really adds tension. The character animations in game can be a bit weak, when you are used to seeing how fluid Uncharted is. The cut scenes fair better, where the mo-cap shines through. The areas can be visually a bit repetitive but it's set in the sand so you should expect that.


The first thing that hits you about this game is the music score. It's really good, using quite a few famous tracks to support some of the set pieces. The script works really well and the story is carried by the superb voice acting from the cast. The dynamic sound effects and dialogue are mixed brilliantly and vary depending whether you're in the open desert or a subterranean section.


Simple and effective cover based shooter but with the added bonus of allowing command controls. I'm not a fan of squad based shooters because I tend to find them clunky. This works far more like a scaled down version of Mass Effect 2's system. The team mate AI are adequate, but will occasionally run in to the middle of a fire fight. If you foolishly command them to attack a distant target. The guns all work well allowing, Sniping, stealth, run and gun or blind firing. It's not up to Uncharted standards but it's fully functional.


I finshed the game fairly quickly in only a couple of sittings, about 7 hours. The story engaged me right to the end and with a few moral choices that I wasn't expecting. It's a fairly challenging shooter but not too frustrating to put you off. The trophies pop really nicely as you go on and I can see this being Platinumed in only a couple of playthroughs. I can highly recommend this game purely for the story, it's more clever than your typical CoD game. There are moments that will shock you and clever mechanics that make it feel like something special. I've also discover that Heart of Darkness was a book my girlfriend studied at her University, so I've nicked it to read on my breaks at work.


Value: It cost me £15 new and is worth every penny but from what I understand it's going to be free with PlayStation Plus in March (U.S. Store). You owe it to yourself to play this game.



  1. Sounds nice, any news on if this will be included in EU PS+ update?

    1. I've not heard anything about it coming to EU PS+ this month but I wouldn't be surprised if it's free in April.

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