Published on 18th July 2012 by
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDEIs this game part of the mediocre Spec Ops franchise of the late '90s?
Originally Posted by Hovis
I actually liked that if you made the 'good' choice at the Gate assault you could not possibly succeed. It reminds me of the old 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books, you make a fatal choice, maybe the honourable choice, maybe the right thing to do, but you die. Your adventure ends here. In those stories there was no amount of skill and health potions that could turn a wrong move into a win. To look at it as a forced question is I think unfair. The choice is there, you can use the White Phos shells or you can fight with honour, but if you fight with honour you cannot win. To me that is not an unfair choice. I dunno, maybe I'm being a bit meta about it, maybe there should have been an option for an end sequence if you choose to die in that fight. Either way that scene is one of the most poignant I've ever seen in a game. Was like a punch in the guts.
Originally Posted by AdnoctumPlaying it right now (a few hours in), and although the combat is a bit wonky I'm really enjoying it. Well, "enjoying" might be a bit strong because it is incredibly bleak. And "satisfying" doesn't work. "Engaged"?
The first time during combat an unarmed civvie ran towards me in a half lit section and I almost blew her head off was quite disturbing to me. I mean, it was really the first contact with a non-combatant up to that point so you're not really expecting it. But I was in combat so I couldn't stop too much to think about it at the time, but afterwards I could remember the pressure on the mouse before I recognised her.
I must admit that a shooter hasn't provoked as much introspection in a while. As a part of my Steam Amnesty I finally completed MW2 and I decided to do the airport scene. I didn't fire at people (f**k you Jesse Stern) because it made no f**king sense even in the convoluted context of the undercover CIA operation. The fact that it blew up massively in the face of the CIA(although it has been 3 years already, do we still need to use the <spoiler> stuff?) just proved the point that the most sensible thing for the CIA agent to do was hang back and blow away the terrorists in the back. Which is what I wanted to do, but the game wouldn't let you do that.
Getting back to Spec Ops, it is a very linear game for all its "choices" but I think that it doesn't mean they are meaningless. It is just a narrative choice the developers made. It isn't like Deus Ex where options are wide open, these are military people in a chaotic situation. Choices are constrained by morality, orders, duty, means and opportunity.
So far in my play-though there have been few opportunities to make real choices, and these have been limited to micro moral choices (shoot this person or not) rather than macro (do this to save Dubai and the entire civil population, do that to crush all humanity).
Isn't this the kinds of choices that most people would have? Small ethical decisions that are tiny of themselves but which lead us a bit at a time down a road towards a flawed/righteous/ambiguous individual. It will be interesting to see if I make different choices later in the game as the situation implodes.
You may think this is a rationalisation of poor game design choices, and I will reply that it is my considered opinion.
I do like the setting of Dubai and the contrast between the sheer opulence and wealth and the scenes of disaster, refuge and insanity, although there is a slight tinge of same-iness creeping into the game from all the Middle East settings in games lately (having just completed MW2 and MoH - my Origin Amnesty game).
I like the fact that (so far) the bad guys are American and not the same old Russian, North Korean, anonymous Middle Eastern types. For f**ks sake developers, put some imagination into your bad guys!
Picked it up for $25 on Amazon on speculation alone (I don't often do that) and was amply rewarded because is worth every cent. Paid a similar amount for MW2 and regretted it.
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