Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why did Drake just torch that woman and child?

Spec Ops: The Line is not subtle. It is not subtle with what it is trying to do with its characters. It's action is not subtle, featuring a Rambo movie style over exaggeration of how the human body reacts when it is shot with hand gun. It is certainly not subtle about giving the player impossible, yet meaningless choices. Case in point, or heroes, still reeling from fire bombing a group of civilians who were hiding in a corner, are confronted with the following problem. There are two people hanging from a bridge, one is just some loser who stole water and the other is the soldier sent out to get him who killed the loser's entire family in the process. Both crimes are punishable by death and the 'good guys' have to choose.

Oh, and there are snipers ready to kill them or you depending on your decision.

The situation reads out like a management personality test. I chose the third, unlisted option: shoot neither and kill the snipers. It would have worked if the two innocent victims hadn't been killed in the crossfire. The Line tries several times to drop these weighty issues on the player, but each time all I can do is wonder why Nathan Drake is so pissed off and why he isn't climbing the nearest tower looking for loot. Using Nolan North, who I am actually getting a bit tired of, was a mistake. His voice is too recognizable and his other characters are so much lighter that it is very difficult to take his character in The Line seriously.

Aside from this casting misstep the game itself plays like every other cover based third person shooter. I do like the sand effects and the way environmental kills is handled much better that the usual glowing red barrels that explode when being shot. Ammunition is scarce which keeps the player from camping in the best hiding spots. The bad guys are a bit dumb, opting for the 'bum rush the machine gun encampment' instead of trying to flank you and there is just a little ally management that I never use, but I shoot things and they fall down, looking good in the process. What more can I ask for?

I am unmoved by its choices and unimpressed by its story. It's a very shiny (and sandy) game, though, and one that I will not feel guilty about enjoying. Low sugar candy, or something like that.


Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is sitting in my car. It has literally been years since I have played Tekken against another human being. I predict strife. At least there are fifty characters so I should be able to find someone that no one else plays.

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