The most important aspect to any game, no matter what Crytek would have you believe, is not the graphics. No, it’s the actual gameplay; it’s probably the most important factor in whether or not a game is enjoyable. That said, there’s something else about some games that drives me to play a great game, or even struggle through one that isn’t quite as compelling; the story.
If you haven’t played Yager’s Spec Ops: The Line, you really should. Though it has some grinding, mundane shooting mechanics (by design, I’m convinced), it tells an incredible story – and forces you to think about the very real horrors of war, and its intrinsic violence. It’s writer, Walt Williams told an audience at GDC that violent games are “creatively too easy” and that the industry needs to start thinking of better, more diverse ways of telling stories through videogames.
Not every game that hits shelves is guaranteed to be an overnight success. What sounds great on paper, may not translate into instant sales, as is the case with several games this year. We’ve seen some real niche titles, games that attempted to go their own way but failed to capture an audience, while other big budget productions have fallen to the wayside to be tragically forgotten. And the most underrated game of the year is…
Shooters aren’t just about shooting (doh!), it’s about the sheer thrill of tactical gameplay and strategy. That head-shot from 300m away, that SMG rush, that AK-47 destruction, and then sometimes there’s a story in it or whatever. There’s been a great battle of the shooters this year, but whether you love it or hate it, the award goes to…
If there’s one thing that gaming attracts, it’s talent. Skilled people from all walks of life have contributed to this medium in one way or another, and that’s something that really shines in the voice acting department. So, who had the best vocal chords to create a believable performance this year? That answer, was easy as the award goes to…
I see it before it happens, not through any skill but because we’ve all reached saturation point: allies morphing into enemies, the knock to the head, the poison, the haziness and collapse, the convenient space and time where my new enemies outline their reasons for their changed morality (which you recognise has been the same morality): whether they monologue like some Saturday morning cartoon villain, or surround me, talking in whispers at my partially conscious form - they helpfully tell me “why”.
Spec Ops is a smart, but self-mutilating, teenager of a game. It hates every moment of its existence and, since you’ve decided to experience the game, makes certain you experience its pain, its self-hatred, its auto-loathing, too.
[Beware – here be spoilers]
I’ve bored you all before with diatribes about publisher mandated meddling – mostly multiplayer – that gets added to games because people in suits who don’t really understand videogames insist on certain features being added to games so that they have another back-of-the-box selling point. I’m not going to do that again; instead you can read it from the horse’s mouth, as Yager talks about 2K insisted on adding multiplayer to the otherwise rather excellent Spec Ops: The Line; even calling it a “cancerous growth.”
Thanks to the jolly good chaps over at Megarom, we have 3 copies of 2K and Yager development’s critically acclaimed, emotionally heavy shooter Spec Ops: The Line to give away, bundled with a bunch of sand-friendly merchandise like scarves, and hats, and bags, and camels and stuff. Ok, that was just a joke. We’re not really giving away scarves. What do we look like? Markhams?
Spec Ops: the Line - despite coming off as a generic shooter - is a damn fine game, tackling the real horror of war and how everybody who takes part in it is a villain in some way. There are no gung-ho, American ra-ra heroes in this one; instead you get masterful storytelling, held together by emotional and hell, philosophical gravity.
We posted up our Spec Ops: The Line review yesterday and while it had some gameplay issues the entire experience was an enjoyable one and if you are into single player stories then I do recommend you grab yourself a copy when it comes out on Friday
Spec Ops: The Line feels like it’s been in development forever. I first saw the game in a hands-off demonstration at E3 2010 - after which the game was sent back for more development and polish and now I’ve played through the final version. Did that polish pay off or was it too far gone to save?
As you can likely see from the site this week belongs to Spec Ops: The Line which launches on Friday. You have seen the banners right? and clicked on them so that we can keep offering you free news? Oh and did I mention that you can enter another Spec Ops comp by clicking the banners? Okay let’s continue