The lights are on
When I first read the preview of Spec Ops: The Line in a Gameinformer magazine, I vowed to buy it no matter what it was rated in the end, for two things I read in the preview: "Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness" and "Apocalypse Now". I love Apocalypse Now and have Heart of Darkness on my future reading list. The account of a man's descent into madness while searching for one who's sanity had already deteriorated is a perfect plot in my opinion.
I finished this game yesterday, and the last words spoken still echo in my ears: "Are you sure this is what you want?" Those words were spoken out of Colonel Konrad's (or Walker's projection of Konrad) mouth before I pulled the trigger and relieved myself of duty.
While this game was not quite as good as Mass Effect, which was really focused on narrative and player choice, this game gave you a LOT of big decisions to make. For example, after someone is hanged, one of your squad members requests permissions to fire on the crowd of citizens that hanged the person. This game was unique, in which it really got my emotions pumping, and I didn't think before I fired my shotgun into the crowd. Not to even mention the part with the mother holding her child and shielding the child's eyes.
Putting the obviously best part of this awesome game aside, the choices and narrative, the gameplay was good. I liked the third-person shooter gameplay, with cover mechanics rarely getting in my way. I was impressed with enemy AI, as with targeting. When I would select a target for my squad to take down, Walker would shout "Over by the fuel tanks!" or something like that, as if he recognized where the enemy was at. Enemy AI seemed to literally be like an Artificial Intelligence, rather than linear. However, I will say, my squad AI seemed like a ***. Jumping over barriers stuck between them and a turret, or walking out in front of a sniper. This caused me to be pissed occasionally, seeing how Adams walking out in front of a Heavy trooper while I was on the other side of the area, and me being gunned down before I was able to reach him. I rage quit several times due to that.
I noticed that in the GameInformer had an issue with the out-of-place Vietnam era music. I really didn't have a problem with this; I think not only did it reflect the movie that inspired the game, but also through music paralleled Walker's descent into madness. The occasional guitar riff as I entered new chapter or cleared an area was welcome, but other than that and the Vietnam era music on the radio, the firefight is all that I heard. I did have a problem with how many times the big GD word was said, due to me being a Christian. I am used to games saying f*** or GD or other words, but these were normally used in a firefight..... maybe twenty to twenty-five times. I had a big problem with this, as Walker saying the same sentence (including f***) three times in a row. This was unnecessary.
Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. I loved how focused Yaegar was on the narrative and making sure that the player's didn't enjoy gunning down enemies, and displaying the fact that war is not fun or a good thing, no wonder what Call of Duty or Battlefield want you to think. I say "Kudos to Yaegar" for how awesome the story was, and how it (usually, not 100% of the time) made me think about the decision that was presented before me.
I'm probably going to replay this due to me making rash, emotion-driven decisions the first time around, where I should have displayed restraint and patience ( I received the achievements "Damned if You Do", "A Line, Crossed", and "End of the Line"). This is something that Mass Effect didn't do to me, due to the fact I always had this sense of "for the greater good" and "I better think over this... This is a big decision"........ So, yeah, be careful if you only want to play this one time, and make the right decisions. Tread lightly.
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