Thoughts on Spec Ops: The Line

Thoughts on Spec Ops: The Line

KEVIN JAMES WONG

This review is spoilerific. If you intend to play this game and take in its full impact, come back later. 

Spec Ops: The Line is a game about games.

If Journey was the most spiritual game I’ve ever played, Spec Ops: The Line is definitely the most intellectual. It is a self-reflexive critique of violence in video games and a demythologization of the military shooter, achieving meaning by existing as a violent video game itself. This game is in no way, shape, or form, meant to be taken as an escapist fantasy into a fantastical world, but rather as a mirror to be used for self-reflection.

There are two ways to read Spec Ops: The Line: as a game, and as a metaphorical art piece. As a game, Spec Ops isn’t very good. The simple combat, while functional and smooth, feels indescribably lacking, failing to evolve over the course of the…

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