It isn’t very often that a game makes you uncomfortable, but is fantastic at the same time. In fact I don’t think i can picture another game that is quite this visceral and fantastic all in the same breath. Spec Ops: The Line  is an unbelievable game, raw and gritty,  disturbing, and fantastic. I usually start writing the reviews before I finish the game, because lets be honest I work full time, I have two young kids, and I don’t get to game as much as I would like to. in this Spec Ops: The Line review hopefully you will get to see just what makes this game so  visceral  and gritty.

I ate this game alive, I loved it. It bothered me, like clockwork orange is a fantastic movie, but watching it back to back is a bit tough. This game follows three members of Delta Force as they enter Dubai in an alternate reality. In this reality Dubai has been overtaken by sandstorms and is  being  abandoned. The game follows Delta as they attempt to search for survivors in the ruins and help start the evacuation.

The twist is that you are facing the 33rd, an American army detachment, being led by a war hero, Joseph Konrad (Lots of Heart of Darkness references in the game) This is a psychological game, it gets you to feel for the squad, you feel for the people you are being forced to fight, and you feel for the people in the city. You are killing american troops, and frankly it doesn’t feel good, but you have a job to do… Right?

The gameplay is good, the camera angles for a third person shooter are great, the only annoyance I had was that when running the camera goes all over the place, and getting into and out of cover sometimes was a bit harder than it should be.Sandstorms really change the game, they wash out everything. This is Gears of War style play, with Black Ops style options. Oh, don’t get too attached to your weapons either, you frequently have to abandon an awesome gun because you can’t find any ammo, and you can only carry two weapons. You  quickly  become very good at making do with what you have, Only once was i forced to reload from a checkpoint because i picked up the wrong weapon. I picked up a handgun and a sniper rifle and the enemies where too close to use the sniper, and too far for the handgun, I was getting mowed down, all night long.

The realism in this game is over the top, and the load screens even taunt you with phrases like “This is all your fault” or “Do you even remember why you came here?” “Do you feel like a hero yet?” This is honestly one game i don’t see working out too well for my friends in the service. It might just be too real. You can kill civilians, but aren’t rewarded for it. Nor punished, just regrets. The language is quite over the top as well, they drop more F bombs than Grenades in this video game… But it seems close enough to what I know about my friends in the service, they are just  sentence  enhancers, used frequently. Might be nice to have a Censored option in case little ears were around, but if younglings are near, this game should not be on your TV. This not only earns the M+ rating it wears it like a badge of honor.

Just for Fun pay attention to the main screen, the further into the game you get the more the city and the soldier at the main menu change. Also just for fun pay attention to the music that goes along with the game, I loved it, hell the main menu has a Hendrix  rendition  of the Star Spangled Banner, in the distance. The Art direction was spot on.

While I like the multiplayer I think it could use with a little better outfitting screen. I’ve had the chance to play it a bit and it’s a nice addition, but not a game changer. Maybe i’m used to a  bit  more options and people playing the Black Ops style of games, but this is a fun romp in the digital world.  The  single player campaign is where it is at. It seems a bit short, if you are playing it on easy difficulty, but on the harder difficulties it rocks.

Conclusion: I love this game. It is one of the more memorable games I have had the chance to play in a long time, it takes a stagnant genre of shooters and flips it on it’s ear. You honestly regret what you are doing, you don’t want to shoot. Yes there is a very linear storyline, but i thought of this as more of a playable movie than a open universe video game.

Overall I’d Rate it 4.5 Beans out of 5, a great game with a few small holes but a solid buy for your gaming pleasure.

The game is currently available for Xbox 360, PS3, and Download or Disc for  PC

Full Disclosure: I was sent this game at no cost for the purpose of review, this did not affect my opinion of the game.