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  • Pete Davison 2:47 pm on March 17, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , 2K, Spec Ops: The Line, ,   

    SquadCast Mission: Spec Ops: The Line 

    Listen now!

    Direct link

    If ever there were a game tailor-made for the Squad, it’s Yager’s Spec Ops: The Line. Pete, Mark, Calin, Alex and special guest MJPilon stroke their chins thoughtfully over the nature of war.

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS from the outset.

    Be sure to leave a comment in our G+ Community. Next mission is Alpha Protocol — join the discussion here.

    Music in this episode:

    The Black Angels — Bad Vibrations
    Deep Purple — Hush (Remastered)
    Martha Reeves & The Vandellas — Nowhere to Run
    Alice in Chains — Rooster

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  • bowlisimo 2:46 am on December 10, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    Ok, I respect Spec Ops: The Line now. Pretty messed up game. I like what they did with it. Looking forward to the Squadcast on this one.

    @beige Did you get a bit of Kojima vibe at certain points there?

     
  • ckim 7:06 pm on December 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @bowlisimo The game is 15 chapters. I beat it in about 9 hours according to Steam. At least three of those hours were spent on Chapters 12-14.

    But, I recognize that the situations are different. I’m awful at shooters, so I’m sure you will have a much easier time with it. The firefights actually became grueling in a really satisfying (albeit frustrating) way. This will make sense when you get there. I would play it on Medium. If I can finish it, anyone can finish it. I’m one of those people who spends time looking at the ceiling or my feet because I’m not quite fluent in shooter controls.

    The game over screens do add a bit to the experience. Without spoiling anything, a lot of the interface stuff in the game adds to the experience, something you’ll notice if you keep a critical eye every time you start the game up.

     
  • bowlisimo 6:45 pm on December 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @cgrajko @angryjedi So, Beige was saying that game over screens are a part of the experience, is that how you guys felt? Or should I just go in on easy?

    For context, I started it on both difficulties, played maybe the first hour each. I’m pretty good at PC shooters. “Easy” felt like I was playing with hacks (one shot whack-a-mole) and medium was fine, I guess. I wouldn’t mind dying if the firefights were fun, but they are fairly rote. I don’t like the cover controls either.

    How hard do those battles get?

     
  • ckim 6:10 pm on December 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @angryjedi I managed to finish it up on the “medium” difficulty, but I would estimate that I died close to 150 times while doing so. I’m not good at shooters either.

     
  • Pete Davison 11:29 am on December 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @cgrajko ah, now, see, the moment I got that message I dropped the difficulty down to “easy”. Still moderately challenging for someone as bad at shooters as me, but not so frustrating you can’t progress.

    There’s a lot to talk about with Spec Ops and I get the feeling I didn’t appreciate it as much as others, but I’d be interested in a discussion.

    Re: SquadCast, next week is like The Week From Hell for me. I have my friend’s wedding today, getting ahead on work and packing tomorrow, jury service from Monday, moving house on Wednesday and somewhere in the midst of all that, getting the rest of my work done. So don’t hold your breath for the podcast just yet — I will get to it, just not when my head wants to explode with ARRRRGHs.

     
  • ckim 9:08 am on December 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    I finished Spec Ops. I definitely need a little while to digest it, but I feel confident saying that I just played something important. I want a bit to write up my thoughts before I read Killing Is Harmless, but I have a lot to say on the subject. I think we can get a Squadcast out of it for sure if we want to go that route.

    Edit: @bluesforbuddha You seriously never tag your posts… It took me a solid 20 minutes of digging to find the posts you wrote on Spec Ops… I read through everyone else’s posts on the game too. I’m not playing favorites. Everyone else’s was easier to find, though… 😉

     
  • ckim 7:01 am on December 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    “You have died multiple times in the same area. Would you like to change the difficulty?”

    No, Spec Ops. I don’t. Also, I didn’t feel like a big enough idiot already what with dying ten times in the same place, so thanks for that.

     
  • bowlisimo 9:07 pm on November 13, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Spec Ops: The Line   

    I found that interesting, but I can see it not being very useful if you’re looking for information. Jeff Gerstmann’s review on Giant Bomb is much more utilitarian. The one on Kotaku reads like one of those editorial pieces that you read a week or two later “Looking back on Black Ops 2” or whatever.

    Neither is better, it just depends on what you’re looking for. As someone who doesn’t plan on playing CoD, reading a review of the experience is more interesting, but that changes with the game. Right now, I’d rather read how broken the PC port of AC3 is or isn’t.

    @mjpilon Shit, I guess I need to play Spec Ops now. That description sounds like it fits Dragon Age 2 as well. Boring game, excellent story. It’s too bad, really.

    @cgrajko Welcome to the happiness club. It wears off, after a time, but you’ll never forget it. Journey is my GOTY.

     
  • mjpilon 3:19 am on November 13, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Spec Ops: The Line   

    @bluesforbuddha I am very much down for a podcast on Spec Ops should it come about

    Also, Barkley 2…. HELL YEAH!!! 😀

     
  • Pete Davison 8:03 pm on November 10, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Spec Ops: The Line   

    Grah. On the one hand, I really want to play Spec Ops: The Line. On the other, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get past the whole “military shooter” angle, so I’m not convinced I want to drop £20 on it. I do get the impression it’s a title that is well worth discussing, though, so I will consider it very seriously.

    Unrelated:

    Do you like Persona but wish it was approximately 96 hours shorter?

    Do you like Persona but wish it had 100% less fighting and consisted solely of leveling up Social Links?

    Then you may be interested in Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, which hit Steam this week. Here’s my review.

     
  • mjpilon 3:51 am on November 10, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    So today, I decided to start Spec Ops: the line around 3:30pm and see how far I would go. Next thing I know… it is 8pm and I have completed the game in its entirety. I have not done that in a VERY very long time. I agree with pretty much everything that @bluesforbuddha said previously on this game during his playthrough a few months ago.

    This was a very powerful narrative experience from start to finish. In particular, the way the main protagonist and his companions get more and more unhinged and manic as they descend further and further into the madness around them is quite impressive (on that note, props to Nolan North for a very good performance within that context). The quality of the narrative was even more striking to me as I have just finished Modern Warfare 1 and 2 over the past 2 months though my game access sub. No comparison. Not even close.

    The “hard” part is getting through the gameplay to see this story played out. Not that it is bad however. The gameplay is just adequate. Nothing more, nothing less. When Patrick Klepek spoke on Giant Bomb about playing on easy to get through it, he was right. That’s what I did and frankly, I feel no worse for it. If anything, some of the firefights I encountered probably would have driven me nuts if the challenge had been greater. The other thing I remember Patrick saying on the Bombcast was just wait until you get to White Phosphorus and….HOLY SHIT. Let’s just say that moment put me over the edge on the narrative of this game. Very happy I got through this game.

     
  • mjpilon 4:44 am on November 6, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Letterpress, Spec Ops: The Line   

    @bowlisimo I’m a few hours in so far and yeah… I have mixed feelings about it. Love the setting, love the narrative as well (at least what’s happening in the Aminus so far). It is a slow burn but like the Minottis mentioned on the last EBP it’s working for me. On the flipside, there is a lot of needless “gameplay” between cutscenes. Walk 10 steps, cutscene… then open a door, cutscene, then ease drop… cutscene… then you fight for 5 minutes… again another cutscene. I’m hoping this is only because it’s early in the game and they need to set-up their narrative. If you are doing to mix gameplay and cutscenes, at least put in more substantial (and lengthy) gameplay elements between the cinematics.

    Also, I already get the sense Ubisoft spent a lot of time (again…) on un-necessary padding . There are 3 types of dice games you can play. Why 3!? Who exactly looked at their mini-games and said we need more dice variety in our mini-games? That is not why people play AC… but Ubisoft again feels the need to add more content instead of simply improving existent content/mechanics (see the Tower defense from the last game). I’m still into the game… but my enthousiasm in the series seems to keep wavering since the high of AC 2 and Brotherhood.

    In other news, I just received my copy of Spec Ops: the line in the mail today continuing my weird streak of shooters through Game Access (just finished Modern Warfare 1 and 2). I will likely try to play this in concert with AC3. All depending on my free time.

    Also, letterpress on iOS people…. get on it. I need more challengers 😛

     
  • RedSwirl 3:53 am on February 14, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @unmanneddrone Touche.

     
  • unmanneddrone 11:54 pm on February 13, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Spec Ops: The Line   

    I’ve more faith in Spec Ops than I do Rainbow Six: The Patriots or whatever it’s called.

    Also, adventure game buffs and merchants of the unique, behold: Cradle. Developed by old GSC Gameworld/STALKER devs, a strange first-person adventure title. Here’s a WIP gameplay vid. Looks very interesting, even if perhaps a little tedious for some folks in the interaction department.

    Cradle is a science-fiction first-person quest with freedom of movement. The story is built around the relations of the protagonist and a mechanical girl, who by enigmatic circumstances find themselves together in a yurt among the desert Mongolian hills. The player is to restore the lost functions of his companion’s mechanical body parts and together reveal the mystery of the neglected entertainment park found not far from the yurt.

    @redswir1 Looking forward to reading your stuff on the new site.

     
  • RedSwirl 11:08 pm on February 13, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    Yeah I took a look at SpecOps way back when it was still slated for Q4 2011. I know there’s something about moral choices and mature storytelling in there, but something tells me that most of the time I’m still gonna be taking cover, shooting a bunch of dudes, and regenerating my health.

     
  • unmanneddrone 2:36 pm on February 13, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Spec Ops: The Line, , ,   

    @shingro When you barrelled in here waving some VN about, I never thought I’d take the challenge, but here we are!

    @impynickers A great choice in sleds. No Assegai in 2048, sadly, or EG-X, but we’ll let it slide on account of timeline. In any case, the different variants of Feisar, AG-Systems, Auricom, Qirex and Pir-Hana more than make up for it. @shingro might enjoy the fact AG-Systems has the cutest Japanese onboard AI drive computer. You can just imagine what it sounds like when a token disembodied female voice in such an accent reports “Loket-to” after bombing over a offense pad. Turns out I’m a Qirex man this time around. Just has that EG-X responsiveness with the Assegai/Triakis/Gotecki 45 breadth. Even more bizarre? It’s phenomenal in first-person view.

    @beige Goddamn, new Spec-Ops: The Line sounds like it’ll be the antidote to the HOO-RA dudebro military shooter set – at least the ones that seem to revel in the cliche. Check this preview.

    I say “seemingly” because moral decisions unfolded so subtly, I had no idea they were even there until I spoke to a fellow previewer who played the game less linearly. Words can barely convey how gut-wrenching it was to oblige a surviving group of charred and dismembered soldiers begging to be put out of their misery after I’d just willfully obliterated their squad with a white phosphorus mortar. Had I been aware that there was another choice, I definitely would’ve taken it.

    Honestly, I’ve never witnessed a game capture the pain and power of modern warfare quite like Spec Ops: The Line.

    We’ll see if that holds out. It reads they took out co-op play because it “lightened the experience”. Brave move, Yager. Love it. Talk of it being the Bioshock of military man-shoots.

    @feenwager Keep me informed of this Amalur business. As much as you did say there were tropes ahoy, it does sound like it’d make it worthwhile down the track.

    Oh, and real-time tactical game of the year just dropped in pre-order beta form. Oh yes, lovelies, Wargame: European Escalation. Microarmor meets World in Conflict. With supply. If DEFCON gets the paranoia of the Cold War right, Wargame gets Ralph Peters’ vision of a conventional Cold War spot on. So much hardware. So many options. More to come on that.

     
  • unmanneddrone 8:08 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    Just a little recommendation to check out the following…

    @angryjedi‘s piece on his bullet hell shmup experiences. I love reading folks’ impressions and thoughts whilst indulging in genres they either haven’t enjoyed prior or by whatever means just find themselves within. Should really take a leaf out of the Jedi’s book and check out something I wouldn’t otherwise go for.

    @redswir1‘s article on RAGE and why it’s a top shooty-shoot experience of 2011, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth legitimately brought on by driver-side technical issues or the illegitimate whelping of overwrought “John Carmack is dead to me!” nonsense due to issues drawn from tenuous comparisons. Thought-provoking description:

    …structurally speaking RAGE is very nearly a PS2-era Japanese RPG minus the RPG elements. It has towns, roads, and what are essentially dungeons.

    Found that a fairly apt description, though let it not dissuade folks from checking it out if JRPGs are not one’s cup of Earl Grey. Mad fun, especially in an age where even the most linear of rollercoaster shooters have distinct levels of padding and pretension. RAGE is the honey badger of 2011’s FPS stable, because it just doesn’t give a shit. Probably like Serious Sam 3 and Bulletstorm. The top 3 Honey Badgers of the year, at least in terms of FPS titles.

    @beige Heard good things, or at least promising things, on Rebel FM from the suffer-no-fools grouch Arthur Gies on the topic of Spec Ops: The Line. Says there is absolutely no dick-waving or Yankee-doodlisms in there and is fairly confronting on a number of levels. Even made special mention of the weaponry having a distinct lethality to them – which might objectively sound ridiculous, but in an age of third-person bullet-sponge affairs, there’s a savage impact and horror to the gunplay allegedly in Spec Ops.

    Bodes well. I’m in, but I was from Day One. Go Yager!

     
  • unmanneddrone 1:15 am on November 23, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @beige I’ve been following the Spec Ops journey since the reboot was announced, on account of Yager being my favourite Xbox game of last gen and some tasteful trailers. It could go either way, but I yearn for an interesting take on the marines meet unsound methods in a strange land. German developers, so we might see something different. @bowlisimo might be right, though…the problem with video games is video games.

    Insert token Eastern Bloc knows best when it comes to military horror and forlornness comment.

     
  • bowlisimo 5:52 pm on November 22, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Spec Ops: The Line   

    @beige Spec Ops: The Line sounds promising. Unfortunately that bit about the game-ness of it getting in the way sounds all too familiar, especially the immersion breaking glowing collectible problem. Indigo Prophecy’s tender guitar with ex-girlfriend moment was ruined by a spinning, purple glowing tarot card on the balcony. If your game is trying to be serious, for fuck’s sake, DON’T DO THAT.

    @redswirl That’s a lot of D&D to bite off all at once. I think you’d be fine with just BG I & II and Planescape, but that price is hard to argue with, considering the amount of hours and content combined. Dare I say it, but maybe pirate BG and figure out if you even like that style of game before you buy all 600 whatever hours there is there?

    As for the D&D rules? The only thing that doesn’t make sense is THAC0, where lower armor numbers are better, and maybe some of that wizard’s spell book stuff…ehhh you know what? Screw it, you’ll be fine.

     
  • unmanneddrone 12:12 am on April 16, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Spec Ops: The Line   

    @feenwager Chances are pretty good, given that it’s Maxis, right? Really dug what I’ve played of the beta.

    Also, been indulging in Homefront. Funny thing, that. Imported the US version, required Steam to install – as in, being online – and hit a brick wall with “this game is not yet available in your region”. So, I was allowed to preload. This was a few weeks ago now, and after a little searching, I found out the Japanese versions – console only, it seems – were being released on the 14th of April. Incidentally, given the long-standing politics of Japan and North Korea, the localisation Japan is or has received completely strips any notion that the “invaders” are North Koreans. Wonder how that all turns out.

    Anyway, long story short, I’m able to bypass the damn Steam region restrictions (one gross insult, Steam!) by finding the game within the Steamapps folder and booting straight from there. Hilariously, or sadly, Steam is still logging my playtime and achievement unlocks.

    I’ll concede (and this might bring a knowing, prescient “told ya so!” smile to @RedSwirl’s dial) that I probably was in love with the concept more than the reality of what might come of this game’s campaign. It’s got an incredibly strong opening, but from there, it kinda loses its impetus and becomes a bit of a “coulda been” experience. I do hope there’s a sequel, because there is so much potential here. There’s sadly all too little of those quiet moments in the game…the safe haven known as Oasis being one of them.

    Kaos Studios are fantastic at the mechanical side of the game, though. They manage to craft more technical multiplayer experiences than most, create levels that actually feel like places and a slew of intelligent game choices within that, probably to their detriment, confuse and irritate the fast food CoD junkies.

    Let me state, though, I love the concept of military shooters. Objectively, I see military-themed games as having the capability to be excellent vehicles for narrative and conveying the full range of human emotions – only for the fact that, since we first started picking up rocks and flinging them at our slow-brained Australopithecine cousins, we’ve been shaped by conflict. There’s a gaping deficit in military-themed games. It’s either highly-nuanced and mechanic-centric (your simulation titles) or it’s a frat-boy “power fantasy” (which I’ve never quite subscribed to, as I think it’s triggering something much deeper in our evolutionary psyche) where it seems the inertia stems from strange cocktails of 20th Century nationalistic jingoism and thematic overtones from 80s action films.

    Perhaps Brothers In Arms is closer to the mark, but even then, the emphasis lies with the technicalities of squad movement and management than on Baker and his men, even though Gearbox did an admirable job with the series.

    So, after Homefront’s faltering first step, I await Spec Ops: The Line. The developers made that awesome Xbox/PC arcade flight-sim Yager, but this looks like it’ll be a little more…er…narrative-driven. Maybe it’s overly optimistic, but going by their last game, I’d like to think these guys have a good shot at crafting something with a little more headspace than the usual fare. Out in August.

    I hope we can get some seriously thought-provoking, morally-interesting games in the military set.

     
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