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Submitted by paybackprahl 887d ago | opinion piece

Spec Ops: The Line is as subtle as a sandstorm, and far from a thoughtful critique

PSU's Zachary Brictson writes:

"And so there’s only one way to truly win at Spec Ops: to accept the ‘Game Over’ screen as your victory. It’s the only excuse that could justify game design this shoddy - the point is for you to dislike it. And although commendable in its ambitious and often haunting city, though admirable in addressing such contemporary issues, and though Spec Ops does manage to achieve the repulsiveness it seeks, it doesn't come for the right reasons. It’s not the gory depictions of your actions that are revolting; it’s the insulting abuse and fundamental misunderstanding of the interactive medium. Video games are capable of much more than just smoke and mirrors." (PS3, Spec Ops: The Line)

-Gespenst-  +   887d ago
As are most games which make claims to being "mature".

However, while I haven't played this game, it seems to me like it's making a point about videogames in general, not just itself.

I suspect the violence and gore is disturbing, and this guy is just having a hissy fit disguised as intelligent argument because his soldier game didn't let him kill hundreds of people and then reward him for it. The worst games let people forget about complexity and be lazy about the complex themes portrayed irresponsibly and over-simply in them.
#1 (Edited 887d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Jek_Porkins  +   887d ago
It wasn't nearly as bad as "No Russian" on Modern Warfare 2, and at least in this game it had an underlying reason for tripping out on people.
nutcrackr  +   887d ago
I think he's core argument is that the game deceives you into doing bad things when you know they are bad. Like the famous mortar sequence which forces you to fire when there are no hostile targets left.
Ducky  +   887d ago
That's an argument I find unfair because SpecOps does give you choices in a lot of the conflicts.

The big game-changing sequence is one of the few cases where things are linear, but that's a situation where most players would fall for the trap anyways.

That sequence isn't the end of the game either. A big theme of the game is how both you and Walker handle things after the event. Do you accept responsibility or deny it? Do you blame the game because it forced you to kill all those people because it was scripted? If so, then what about all the kills you did outside of that one scripted part of the game? Do you blame your victims for getting in your way?

Who, in the end, do you blame? This is the decision you make near the end of the game when all is revealed.
#3.1 (Edited 887d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
McSpermie  +   887d ago
I agree with that, I think the author of that article really missed the point of Spec Ops. It's a shame he has such a black and white definition of what a game should be.
porkChop  +   887d ago
Spec Ops was a hell of a lot better than most shooters these days. Was it perfect? No. It had its fair share of flaws. But it was still a much stronger story, and the design was much more coherent than most games.
legionsoup  +   887d ago
I've played and beaten more than 250 disk-based games this generation, and Spec Ops the Line was the only one that stood out to me as something that was moving the gaming industry forward. I was reading about this game for weeks after the credit rolled.
MooseyXTC  +   887d ago
It's not a thoughtful critique, it's a linear narrative.
Quit calling it an "ultimatum for the modern shooter genre" for christ's sake, it's just a good MOVIE.
Hydralysk  +   887d ago
The two aren't mutually exclusive.

It's a story based off a well known film and book, but uses the story to condemn the recent glut of modern military shooters where shooting hundreds of dudes is presented as an unequivocally good thing, and ultimately what saves the day.

It's not the second coming by any means, but especially in the recent climate of games it's a rare occurance, and something many people would like to see more of.
#6.1 (Edited 887d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
palaeomerus  +   887d ago
Using Heart of Darkness to condemn a glut of military shooters is in and of itself a stupid and generally irrelevant idea. It's hanging your own rotten childish narrative on much older and better story. It's just name dropping. Doing so with forced gameplay events proves nothing beyond the games creator's lack of trust in their own ability to make a player to reach a certain outcome for rhetorical purposes without forcing it to happen.
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Swiggins  +   887d ago
So this guy is complaining that Spec Ops is a step forward instead of a giant leap?

Jesus....
HonestDragon  +   887d ago
Spec Ops is better than any modern military first person shooter we have had in the past four years. This writer is missing the point completely and taking things out of context with the game. I think this game shows how juvenile and tiring the mainstream military shooters have become. Spec Ops offered a new experience of a military shooter that is headed by characterization.

The premise of the game is hell of a lot more original than these other modern military shooters. There are many moments in the game where you must make decisions that will impact the psyche of Walker and how his men view him. Nothing was forced or taken out of your grasp. The gameplay was balanced and fluid, the characters were interesting, and the story was very serious.

Something tells me that the writer was more so disappointed that Spec Ops took a different direction compared to other commonplace shooters. Case in point, this quote from his article: "The under-cooked violence is meant to soften you up for the game’s gut-punching blows of shocking imagery - to paint you as a demon".

That's the point. This game makes you think about what you do and how it affects the characters. You're supposed to feel like a demon. You destroyed lives in an already unwinnable conflict. It's not about the action or shooting faceless enemies like many other shooters have done. It's about the humanity and morals behind it all, not how quickly you can prestige or how many headshots you get after breaching a door.

Also, this little bit from his article shows his taste in games: "Spec Ops is perfect mediocrity...". I don't think he knows what mediocrity truly means. Then again, many people don't know how to use that word, "overrated", or "generic" correctly.
NoTheMama  +   886d ago
Average game hidden behind a great story. Shame so many cant pick the 2 apart...

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