July 18, 2012

KVR Archive: Spec Ops: The Line Areas of Concern

Spec Ops: The Line is a 2012 video game, released for the PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

PLEASE NOTE: I have not played this game. However, I have watched a playthrough of it with commentary, which is actually pretty close to playing the game. So you will definitely get an accurate review.

Areas of Concern:

Violence: The game is a shooter. Multiple enemies are shot during the course of the game. When this happens, a large amount of blood sprays, staining the environment, and the enemies scream in pain. The game goes briefly into slow motion when you get a head shot.

After enemies are dead, a blood pool forms where they are lying.

Some other weapons can decapitate enemies when you shoot them; a brief blood spray is emitted, and they collapse, headless.

Sometimes, when an enemy falls down, you can execute them; your character kicks or punches them real hard, and blood sprays on the camera. You can also hit them with the butt of your gun, or shoot them, with blood. Other times, with a shotgun, your character shoots the enemy in the knee, and in the head, blowing it off. Yum.

You can also take out enemies with grenades; there is an explosion, and sometimes scattered bloody body parts are seen. Sometimes, they dissolve into a bloody red cloud, and some blood stains are left over.

If you are shot, blood stains the screen, and if you are killed, your character falls over and dies.

Storyline Violence: Two helicopters fire at each other. When you shoot a few, they catch fire and spin out of control.

A helicopter spins out of control and crashes into another helicopter.

A bunch of dead bodies are seen. You can shoot their heads off with a brief spray of orange fluid emitted, which I delightfully found out thanks to a rather trigger happy commentator.

A man pulls open a piece of cloth over a vehicle next to bloodstains, and a man falls out, with a rather gruesome looking wound near his face, and a lot of blood. His face is seen in close-up very briefly; he has blood coming out of his nose and mouth.

You can shoot out a bus filled with sand, which is hanging over a group of enemies. The enemies yell briefly, and then die.

A man shoots a hostage, with a brief big blood burst. The man threatens to kill another hostage if you come closer. You attack the enemies, but the other hostage ends up dead regardless.

A bunch of soldiers are seen dead, with blood on them and the surrounding environment. A man mentions it was an execution.

A man with blood and bruises on his face, is repeatedly punched by another man, and blood sprays, sometimes on the camera.

A man grabs another man, and uses the man's gun to shoot him in the head, with blood spraying briefly.

A man is heard torturing a man briefly; he screams in pain.

You walk underneath a building; a whole lot of bloody corpses are seen. This scene is quite gruesome.

A burnt corpse is seen hanging upside down. He is seen in close-up, from the side mostly.

A few blood stained corpses are seen; ravens are seen feeding on them, but this is not as graphic.

A few hanging dead soldiers are seen, with bags over their heads.

A few dead people are seen in a ravine; not much detail, but there are flies buzzing around, and a few living people are lying there, coughing.

Phosphorous suddenly ignites a few people; they are seen rolling around, screaming. This is quite gruesome.

A man fires a gun for a long time, next to a woman's head. I found out they do this because the hot sand burns the victim's skin. Afterwards, he just shoots her, blood spraying. They repeat the gun sand thing with another guy, who you can choose to save.

A man is seen to have been injured; blood stains his clothes. He later dies, a man tries to resuscitate him, and fails.

A man stabs an enemy in the throat, blood is seen leaking out briefly, and the enemy collapses dead.

You shoot a bunch of people with mortars containing phosphorus; you see the explosion, and hear them screaming from a distance. Afterwards, you walk through the trenches, and see the injured soldiers crawling around, burnt and missing limbs. This is not as detailed as it sounds, but some of the soldiers are implied to be in pain, so it is quite stomach churning.

A man with a burnt face looks at your character, and dies after saying something.

Some burnt civilians are seen; they are frozen in death, and are smoking from being burnt. A burnt mother and child are seen amongst them; the camera lingers on these two. Yegh.

A bunch of burnt soldiers are seen; their faces are frozen in a shocked reaction, but the camera doesn't focus on it.

You have to choose which one of two soldiers lives or dies. When one or the other is shot, it isn't graphic.

A man grabs another man, smashes him against a glass window a few times, drops him on the floor, hits him again, and the man dies. Blood is seen spattering.

After a huge chase, involving blowing up Humvees and helicopters, a truck crashes and flings a man through a window. He wakes up, and is bloody and bruised. He stumbles around, obviously injured.

A man is seen pinned underneath a Humvee. He asks you to shoot him, assisted suicide. You can, or leave him to burn; he is seen getting covered in flames, and screams for a brief while.

A man raises a gun at another man; you have to option of killing him. When you do, your character brutally hits him a few times with the butt of his rifle. Blood is seen spattering all over the place.

A man suddenly shoots another man, blood spraying all over the camera.

A bloodied man is hanged; another man shoots him down and tries to resuscitate him unsuccessfully. 

A bunch of people on fire swarm your character and set him on fire. He screams and flails around.

A man's decomposing dead body is seen. Blood is seen stained on his shirt.

Sex/Nudity: A man says he prefers beaches with a 3-1 sexy lady ratio, as opposed to the desert he is currently in.

A man asks why another man has a "hard-on" for the army regiment they are supposed to track down.

A painting of a scantily clad woman holding a pole is seen.

Language: Frequent Strong Language: Uses of S**t, with it's variants, (Bulls**t) F**k, with it's variants, (Motherf***er, F**k yourself) A*s, D**n, H**l, C**p, B***ard, B**ls, B**ch. One use of C**t, some people might not hear it, but it's there.

Jesus and God's name are used in vain, sometimes in conjunction with the F-word. This is offensive, and I think this will turn off a lot of you from purchasing the game.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: A bar is seen, but no drinking. A man is seen smoking a cigarette.

Spiritual Content: The peace symbol is briefly seen on a building. A mini statue of Buddha is briefly seen.

There is some Hard Rock played in one of the levels. It is very surreal and unsettling. I couldn't hear the lyrics, but once it comes on you might want to turn your speakers down.

Gross Stuff: Some of the corpses are burnt, bloody, and swarmed by flies. This is a bit nauseating.

A man throws up; the yellow fluid is seen.
Creepy Stuff: A lot of really strange things are going on in the location where you are stationed. One time you suddenly seem to have a nightmare sequence, showing you dead people.

The game itself has a very unsettling tone. You always feel there's something not quite right going on. Of course, this happens to be true, but I think I will stop there.

So that's the Areas of Concern! On to the review:

Review of Game:

Story: Spec Ops: The Line delivers an experience unlike any other.

...Don't interpret that in a good way. Good, as in, happy. This game is really dark, has a depressing ending no matter how hard you try to get it otherwise, and it is unfortunately filled with very audacious misuses of our Lord Jesus' name.

But in spite of that, the dark tone works. Why? Because it shows what really happens to a soldier as he goes through war.

...according to what they say about it. But yes, I do believe that war is hell, and soldiers go through a lot. As far as I know. I've never been to war, after all, and I don't plan on going to war.

But back to the point: The basic story of Spec Ops: The Line is of Captain Martin Walker trying to find out what happened to John Konrad, a soldier who was sent to a post-apocalyptic Dubai in order to save people.

He failed. Oops. And it's up to Captain Walker to find out what really happened. And to witness a whole lot of gruesome stuff.

...And swear a lot. And blaspheme a lot, too.

I went through a lot of soul-searching to find out if I should allow this game. (Soul-searching as in eating lots of Doritos.) And I came to a decision on Monday, two days before this review goes up. My decision was, I'll let it pass.

Why? Well, you seem to be very curious! But I let it pass because of what the game aims for.

The misuses of Jesus name will definately turn most of you away. This game actually aims for another audience; the people who go around giggling with glee as they blow enemy soldier's heads off, and are probably not bothered with the blasphemy too.

This game aims for them. It specifically starts off seeming like a shooter that just oozes "AMERICA!" out of every pore, until the game takes a rather abrupt and dark turn. It is a very gruesome moment when that happens.

But it works. This game is one of the few that actually aims to portray war for what it is. Now, I'm not saying you're wrong for playing games like Call of Duty, Gears of War, or Battlefield, no. That would be hypocritical of me.

However, this game takes a bold leap in portraying war differently from how those games portray, and it pays off. It even has a good twist at the end, which I could honestly see coming, but it was still good nonetheless.

So the story is dark, gruesome, but that's the way it should be.

Don't worry folks. Those candles don't allude to anything supernatural...I think.

Audiovisual: Nothing to ring home about, but this game's graphics are REALLY only there to support the story, as is it's gameplay too, but I can't review that since I haven't played it.

The voice acting is good. The characters are likable, if not extraordinary. But still, good.

I'll have to play this game to give you a full review, so let's sum it up:

Spec Ops: The Line is a grotesque, dark, and all round depressing game that ends on a sour note, no matter how much you try to do otherwise.

The language is gratuitous, with Jesus' name being misused noticeably in conjunction with the F-word. But if they didn't use the F-word, would it suddenly be okay? Nope. Blasphemy stays blasphemy. And the game doesn't blaspheme more than most movies these days, if you want to make a comparison. Not that it makes okay, by the way.

The violence on the other hand, is fully justified. You may have read it already, but I'll say it again: The game aims to show you how bad warfare can sometimes be, even if it is on a smaller scale. The game has very dark moments, with innocent people getting caught in the crossfire.

This game shows you just how much a soldier's mental stability can deteriorate after events depicted, with the ending having a fine plot twist that certainly made sense, and served the story's theme quite well.

All in all, Spec Ops: The Line pushes it far with the language, but the violence is completely justified. It shows a reality different from what most shooters show; grisly, lots of deaths, but it end on a happy note overall. Not in this game, and that's why, it is one the best games to come around a while, even if it's gameplay fails to innovate, or it's language is cartoonishly exaggerated.

Congratulations developers. You had guts, and it payed off. Even if you REALLY could have left Jesus alone.

  • Challenging Story: The game shows the dark side of war, and it does it well. The story itself is not completely original, but it works really well nonetheless.
  • Supportive Audiovisual: The game's voice acting is okay, and the visuals are too. They are only really there to support the story, which is good, even if the game could have looked better.
  • Grotesque, Justified Violence: The violence is very bad, but it works. This is the way it's supposed to be. But you might want to exercise caution, nonetheless.
  • Gratuitous Language: They could have left Jesus alone, and the F-word is used frequently, along with a single use of the C-word. Not really justified, even if you think this is the way soldiers talk.
  • Mild spiritual references: One statue of Buddha is seen in the background very briefly. Otherwise, nothing.
  • Very Mild Suggestive References: One or two silly throwaway references.
  • For ages 16-17 minimum!
So there it is! Another game that is between you and Jesus, as always.

This review will definitely be updated in the future, when I actually play this game for real.

But until then, upvote this post, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, COOKIES...ETC!

Until next time, Kyle out!


  1. When I was over at a friend and co-workers house from Dish yesterday, I got a chance to play and I didn’t feel like a hero playing it, nor did I enjoy being the person who is at the heart of this story. But here’s the thing, I had to keep playing in order to see how it played out and how things ended. I didn’t get to play it all the way through, so I decided I couldn’t go wrong by adding this game to my Blockbuster@Home queue. I don’t always have the option to buy all the great games out there I want due to lack of funds, so the most economical way for me to play games is by renting them.

    1. Thanks for your comment Bob! Err, I hate sounding rude, but can you give me more specifics, like what you thought of this game?

      As for renting games, well, since I'm primarily a PC guy, it's a bit hard to 'rent' a game on Steam. XD

      I usually watch Let's Plays on YouTube of a game if I'm REALLY unsure about it. That way, I don't have to throw it out, thereby losing money, if I don't like whats in it.

      As for Spec Ops: The point is for you to feel uncomfortable at the end of the day. This game asks questions like what kind of person you are for playing games like these, but it also has one character taking a pot shot at the hysterical media.

      All in all, I think this game handled both sides quite well, which is rare.

    2. *More specifics, as in, do you think this game is doing the right thing with how it portrays war?

      Thought I would clarify what I meant. :P