I thought I had given up on military shooters after my forays with the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises. The Steam sale has a way of changing minds though. I did not know much about Spec Ops: The Line before I bought it other than that it borrowed heavily from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The literary connection piqued my interest, but the intrigue did not stop there.
Critics have written about Spec Ops: The Line and the notion of player versus character, the idea being that players should have an inward and emotional battle with the moral decisions and actions that the character is faced with. In games like Grand Theft Auto, players may do a bit of bad, but the characters are whole and balanced out with elements of good, which offsets any guilt caused by, say, slaughtering a whole city, Spec Ops, on the other hand, works hard to guilt its players by piling on so much death, so many bad events, that there is little room to desire extra carnage.