I know what you’re thinking. You must be saying to yourself, “Hold on. Did she write game number four on the title of this post? Didn’t last month’s challenge count as game number four?” Yes and no. True, it’s the fourth game I played in this series of challenges I’m doing. However, since it’s a repeat on a game I tried to tackle for the first time and failed, then no. It doesn’t really count. July’s video game pick is something I’m approaching a bit differently this time around.
After surveying my backlog of games and coming out of a successful video game completion of a game already in progress, I decided I wasn’t in the mood to finish a game I already started. I craved playing one of the many games I’ve acquired that hasn’t been played at all. Call the feeling a desire to tackle something completely fresh and brand new. July’s video game pick has me entering the world of Dubai in Spec Ops: The Line.
Spec Ops is definitely one of those games that isn’t what I’d normally play. It’s a third-person military shooter and a lot of games like Call of Duty or Gears of War isn’t my personal cup of tea. Why am I playing Spec Ops then? A good friend of mine gave me Spec Ops as a birthday gift last year with a disclaimer along the lines of, “I know this isn’t the sort of game you’re into, but once you look past the military setting, it’s the story and characters you’ll enjoy the most.” Basically, don’t judge a book by its cover. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this game, but I trust my friend’s judgement and he hasn’t led me astray as far as recommendations went. I always keep an open mind in everything I do in life. At least if I hated the game I didn’t spend any money on it.
Needing to step away from the rage I felt for not being able to finish the final mission in Saints Row 2, I decided to give Spec Ops a whirl. You might also say I was still in a “I want to shoot stuff” frame of mind. The game has you play as Captain Martin Walker, who is sent to Dubai along with his Delta Force team, Adams and Lugo, on a reconnaissance mission. After discovering dead American soldiers, Walker changes their mission to a search and rescue. Things get steadily hostile and strange really quickly, as Walker and his team navigate the beautiful but treacherous desert city of a once opulent Dubai, now a city of ruin and unrest.
The first time I loaded up the game, I expected to play at least an hour or so of it. At the time, I wasn’t really set on picking this game as my challenge for the month. Clocking in at about four hours later, I had finished the first four chapters of the game (fifteen chapters in total for the game’s solo campaign missions). As my friend predicted, I was instantly drawn to the story and the game’s characters. He did right by finding a game that would appeal to my love of great storytelling and even great characters. The graphics in the game is also equally amazing to look at as you play. I had to stop every once in a while to appreciate the details of the ruined Dubai.
Going on a journey with Walker and his team, you’re just as horrified and perplexed by what’s really going on. The story is pretty linear, but there are key scenes in the game where Walker is forced to make decisions that tests his sense of right and wrong. I’ve been told ahead of time by friends who already beat the game that the weight of your decisions won’t be felt until the very end of the game. This also dictates what kind of ending you’ll get. Another replay for this game will be necessary to see all the different outcomes you can possibly get in this game. One of the themes of the game I’m noticing is things aren’t always what they seem, and you’re just as determined as Walker to get to the bottom of this mystery he unexpectedly stumbled into, while finding any survivors in the process.
It may be risky to start an entirely new game as my video game challenge, as I do run the risk of not finishing it within a month. But with a story that’s too good to put down and a chance to practice and hone my sharp shooting skills (spoiler alert: I’m terribad at shooters), I wouldn’t count on tacking this game on the failed to finish roster. We’ll have to wait and see, of course. Check in again with me at the end of the month for my full report and further impressions of the game.