The air is a yellowish hue with low visibility in a dilapidated Dubai. Bodies lay scattered across the ground and screams of agony can be heard for a few moments and then complete silence. Captain Walker walks slowly through the wreckage and fallen soldiers from an order that he gave. Spec Ops: The Line is Yager games’ homage to Heart of Darkness and is a brutally honest view of war and the line that some people may cross to survive.
You control Capt. Walker and his squad of American military unit sent in for extraction of Colonel John Konrad who has formed a coup of other American soldiers after a horrific sandstorm. This game had an odd effect on me. I hated the feeling I had while playing the game. I didn't want to kill other American soldiers but to survive I had to do anything in my power. Kill or be killed. This is evidence of the powerful script by Walt Williams. The ability to write a military shooter where the player is constantly questioning whether or not they want to pull the trigger is a difficult feat, but one that should be admired by military games and proof that immature themed gaming can be a thing of the past. As sick as I felt playing through The Line, I consider the story and character interactions to be of the highest standard.
In the gameplay department, it’s a run-of-the-mill 3rd person shooter and graphically it’s decent but not anything special. The Line is a cover-based shooter. Get behind cover, pop up, shoot, and move to your next cover. It isn't anything very special or different but The Line does it well. Something that should be mentioned is the choice mechanic. Throughout the game, you're provided with 2 choices and these choices are presented in a way that makes it difficult to discern right from wrong and that's the intention. In most games with choices, it's a clear-cut decision. The Line made me stop and think about what I had to do and it's a feeling of disgust before I press a button that set this game apart for me.
Spec Ops: The Line is not a game about shooting terrorists, stopping a nuclear weapon, or preventing World War III. It's about the harsh reality that war is an atrocity. It isn't fun. It's something that destroys lives and families everyday and The Line reminds us of that. The brutality that accompanies war is sickening and I felt its effects to a much, much smaller degree. You won't have fun but it's absolutely worth the experience.