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Then and Now: Spec Ops The Line

338699What is it? A 2012 third-person shooter by Yager Development.  Set in Dubai after a destructive sand storm isolates the city.  Focuses on actions of Captain Martin Walker & squad in their reconnaissance mission, as it takes a turn for the worst.

Then:  Loved by critics, divided up players.  Reviews praising the story’s difficult subject matter and subversion of war shooter tropes.  Mild complaints overall about the game’s controls, cover mechanic, enemy distribution, degree of difficulty, reason for difficulty – basically anything not story- or character-based.

Three camps of players emerged:

A) “This game’s great for how harsh and intelligent it proves to be.”

B) “This game’s hypocritical for being a war shooter about war, and it upsets me.  Also, it’s clunky as all hell.”

C) “Just another average shooter.  Don’t bother with the story.”

Now: Appreciated and respected by many.  Complaints mostly about the “railroading” of player into morally compromising situations to force guilt – debated on many a forum.  Generally seen as good game worth anyone’s time, that verges on greatness.

Also seen as the final death knell for any non-Call of Duty war shooter.  General absence of such games since 2012 suggests it succeeded.

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