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    jp's Spec Ops: The Line (PS3)

    [July 12, 2013 04:17:04 PM]
    Ok, having now finished the game...

    Wow, that was quite a ride - an interesting and strangely thoughtful one as well. I'm glad I used it for class, since there is a lot of think and talk about with this game. There are multiple endings, depending on what you want the main character to believe happened at the end (or what does it all mean) which I thought was an interesting choice.

    In a nutshell, the question you're trying to resolve (as a player) is whether or not you want the main character to stay insane or not. Does he ever realize what he has done? It's up to you, with the consequences for the player mostly being about which trophies you want to unlock (most likely all of them). Curiously, the hardest choice to carry out is perhaps the most unethical - once the game ends a group of soldiers come to pick you up. They're recent arrivals, all fresh and clean and amazed at what you seem to have been through. The "worst" choice basically requires that you take them all out!

    The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether the game is perhaps the best medium for "the message" (loosely understood to be the "message" in Conrad's Heart of Darkness). I'm actually more interested in whether a movie (Apocalypse Now) or a game (Spec Ops: The Line) does a better job. I guess for now I'd go with the movie, but I think the game gets quite close. I'm sort of surprised by this. If you bother to stop and think, the game makes it really evident and clear how easy it is to fall into the violence "trap". You shoot because it makes sense, it's easier to kill than to think about what you're doing...and all of a sudden, if you think back on everything you've done, you realize the monster you've become. It's a very easy transition...but I really wonder how many people actually stop to think about it.
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    [April 16, 2013 04:58:18 PM]
    I thought it would be best if I played this game since I added it to the list of games I want students to pick from for an assignment in my game ethics class. So far, I'm both glad that I picked as well as decided to play it.

    This game wears its inspirations/source material quite proudly on its sleeve. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now are the obvious ones. Or at least the main non-game ones. This is good stuff - and definitely makes for interesting conversations and discussions on war, supporting (or not) war, and whether or not it makes sense to conceive of an anti-war wargame in which you spend most of your time shooting and killing.

    There's a lot of shooting (and killing) and dying (in this case me) which I haven't quite gotten used to. It was only last night when I started to make use of the squad commands (giving teammates orders to attack specific targets). Its quite neat, and a bit of a relief since I had been having some trouble when things get heated. I'm probably about 2/3rds through the game so I'm a bit late to that realization. That seems to happen to me quite a bit... I'm not sure if it's mostly my fault (for being a moron) or the game's (for allowing me to continue to make progress without "requiring" me to use whatever mechanism I'm not using). In any case, I'm glad I caught on to it before I got to the end...

    As for the experience?

    So far I've encountered a fair share of incredibly frustrating moments (I also refuse to dial down the difficulty from "medium" despite the game's reminders when I hit a brick wall) but I've really enjoyed others. The sandstorms are particularly memorable - and quite intense. As for the story? Well, it doesn't help that I had a general sense going in, so some of the more shocking moments were less so - and some of it feels a little forced. Its almost like the descent into madness is too fast - there's no "normal" state against which to compare it.
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    jp's Spec Ops: The Line (PS3)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 16 April, 2013

    GameLog closed on: Monday 15 July, 2013

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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