Sunday, January 29, 2017

Where is the Line? You decide.

I fairly quickly plowed through Spec Ops: The Line this weekend.

I'd heard it was good, and had meant to give it a go. Talk of a new Apocalypse Now game in the works finally spurred me on. As it turns, out, the (somewhat muted) hype was warranted.

Underneath a pretty rote third person shooter is a game that is attempting, and mostly pulling off, some pretty bold things with its narrative. It is of course to some degree standing on the shoulders of giants, but what 2K and Yager created here is something pretty special in video gaming. It's a shooter that actually tries to make you wonder about what you are doing, both in character, and you yourself, sat at home, choosing to spend your leisure time in this manner.

You might think you're the hero, going in. Capt. Martin Walker (voiced by Nolan North), certainly believes he is. But it's his self-aggrandizement, and ignoring of orders, that precipitates much of the horror that happens in this apocalyptic, sand-drowned Dubai. That hubris that echoes the actions of the John Konrad, the man Walker is trying to find in the city under siege both by nature and a rogue force of the US Army. Konrad also took it upon himself to go into Dubai with grand intentions, and neither for him did they work out as intended.

The more I think about Spec Ops: The Line, the more I admire the story it's telling, and how thought provoking it is. And the action's not terrible, it's just not remarkable. The story is excellently paced, though, clocking in at about 6 hours, all in, and that's reloading the final save to see all of the four different endings, each one in its own way feeling like the true canonical ending to the whole tragic farce.

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