5 mai 2014

Spec Ops : The Line - Why you should visit Dubai before it's too late

I recently played a game called "Spec Ops : The Line". I heard nice comments about the story line and it is not that usual so I was intrigued.

Story

Where did I park?

Dubaï has been totaled by a giant apocalyptic sand storm. So the US has sent troops (many troops) to organize a rescue mission ... aaaand lost contact ...
They decide to send 3 guys from the Delta Force to scout around. And that's you!
I quickly found the HUGE reference to "Apocalypse Now". It could have been called "Apocalypse Now: the game" actually. It's a travel into human madness : the deeper you go, the more horrific it gets. And you also realize that you're gonna have to eliminate the Colonel of the rescue mission who is an old buddy. And you also have a rock soundtrack all along.

Madness

Sauron?

Quickly, you sanity is gonna be challenged by the weird things you discover. And your two pals questioning your authority is not helping (you know, like in the movie...). As you go through the game, the 3 of you start wondering why you are killing those poor bastards. And the main reason is that they are SHOOTING AT YOU! (omg) And because you don't know why they do that, it becomes more stressful. Suddenly, you find yourself killing hundreds of guys, and for me, that's the biggest problem of the game. The A.I. is not great so you often kill guys who haven't fired once. I was in "normal" difficulty and found myself several times stuck in tricky situations. But, I'm no PGM and I could empty a room with 4 head shots in a row. "Rainbow Six: Vegas" is one of my favorite game and has similarities to this one (for the gameplay, not the story) so I used it as a reference. I would have loved fewer but stronger enemies. And also, when you are a sniper, taking cover IS mandatory. Vegas is from 2006 and enemies knew how to hide, take cover and be sneaky.
Anyway, you wipe those guys and wonder. And because there is only one end, the choices you have to make have no impact on the story, only on your conscience.

Lesson

Am I a party pooper?

The underlying question of this game is: Is a military intervention a good idea?
By choosing the US army and a Middle-East country, you quickly think about how things happened in Kabul or Baghdad. Sometimes you have to make decisions while you don't have all the info in hand and it leads to terrible results. And when you are a foreign force, it's even more difficult.
In this game, you kill civilians just because they were in your line of fire, you destroy the water supply to win a fight, you try to stop an ugly situation but the retaliations create much more casualties among friends and civilians...
"With great power, comes great responsibilities". And in this case, you still try to blame someone else but the blame is on you. Even when you think that you're doing this for the sake of humanity.

Gameplay

Let's scavenge for some Champagne and Caviar!

I liked the survival aspect. And the fact that you are limited in ammo is great for that. For time to time, you find yourself with zero bullets and you have to pick up any weapon on the floor to stay alive. But speaking of survival, why oh why did they follow this stupid trend where you don't have to care about your health. When you take a bullet, you just have to wait a few seconds and you feel better! I know that it can't be realistic or every bullet would be a one way ticket to the nearest hospital. But I liked my med packs. At least, you could pretend you stopped the bleeding.
A lot has been said about the controls not responding. It didn't really bother me even if it's obviously not very smooth.
The soundtrack is really great, it's not every day that you hear Mogwai in a game.
Interactions with the environment are limited and not really well included. It's sad because there were lots of potential and the few nice ideas are not enough. It's like "Now stop: you need to break this glass to drown the enemies in sand".

Conclusion

Zip-line bare handed... because you are Delta Force for Christ sake!!!

This game is a bit short and you don't really have options. Like in "Apocalypse Now" where they sail back up the river and can't really leave the boat, you just have to walk straight forward. But because it's a video game, a little bit more of interactions would have been great.
The landscape is incredible and graphics are amazing. The not-really-clear story adds to the total mess of the situation and leaves you wondering. And it's a good thing for a video game.

Follow me: @tmalicet


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