Writes Kyle Orland:
Spec Ops: The Line has been one of the year's most surprising titles for me. I'll admit I was almost entirely unexcited about the game after playing a short demo at PAX East earlier this year. That's probably because that demo came from the first half of the game, which largely plays out as just another in a long line of indistinguishable, mindless, testosterone-fueled, "kill anything that moves" war games in the vein of Call of Gears of Medal of Duty Honor War. Taking out an entire rogue battalion of US soldiers trapped in Dubai by recurring sandstorms isn't exactly boring, but it's not anything incredibly different from what video games have been doing for years.
But then, about halfway through the game, the narrative takes a sharp turn towards moral ambiguity. The player's three-person squad is forced into situations where they're confronted with the horrible consequences of the violence they're unleashing on their fellow soldiers and the civilians caught in the crossfire. The previously unquestioned heroes of the story are suddenly recast as the cause of unmitigated (if largely unintended) misery for everyone around them. By the end of the Heart of Darkness-inspired tale, the player questions not just the nobility of their military cause, but the overall reliability of a story being told by a deeply unreliable narrator.
Read the rest, and thanks to Dale Fitzgerald.