GOTY 2012 Best Surprise: Spec Ops: The Line

The violent shooter from Yager and 2K Games has delivered a stunning experience

2012 was a good year for gamers as quite a lot of high quality titles have appeared over the months, from blockbuster sequels, like Mass Effect 3 or Far Cry 3, to all-new intellectual properties, like Dishonored or Sleeping Dogs.

While most games impressed through different mechanics or through their stories, by far the most surprising was Spec Ops: The Line, the new first-person shooter developer by Yager and published by 2K Games.

Like a lot of people, I was extremely skeptic of Spec Ops: The Line when I first heard about it many years ago. I wrote it off like just another ultra-realistic military shooter, in the same vein as Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Medal of Honor.

The setting of a Dubai ravaged by a huge sandstorm did peak my interest and, seeing as how the developer started hyping up the way the game handles violence in the military and how it will deliver a novel take on the first-person shooter genre, I decided to give the game a try when it came out last summer.

That was one of the best decisions I made all year in terms of games, as while Spec Ops: The Line starts in a bombastic way, with a shootout between helicopters across the ruined skyscrapers of Dubai, it quickly begins to show that it's more than just a military shooter like Call of Duty or Battlefield.

The story is more than meets the eye and the protagonists, a group of Delta Force soldiers, are soon embroiled in a pretty savage conflict between the survivors of the storm and the soldiers previously sent in to rescue them.

Throughout the campaign you not only find out more details about the battle but also get to witness the transformation of the protagonist, Martin Walker, from a soldier filled with ideals about war into a man who does whatever is required in order to get out of Dubai alive.

It’s a tough game with many moments where you have to choose between lesser evils and that makes Spec Ops: The Line one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.

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