Posts Tagged ‘Spec Ops: The Line’

Have You Played… Spec Ops: The Line?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Spec Ops: The Line [official site] is a pretty fun third-person cover shooter about shooting people in their faces, then sometimes feeling a bit bad or confused about killing them. I think BioShock made folks a bit excited about shooting games where shooting people was sometimes a bad thing, so reactions to Spec Ops were over-enthusiastic, but it’s still pretty decent as face-shooters go. Its sandstorm-swept Dubai is a heck of a sight too.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Mammoth: Free Game From Former Spec Ops Devs


We all have different ways of dealing with loss. Some of us lash out and hurt others while some of us turn inwards and dwell on that pain. The Mammoth: A Cave Painting [official site] is a free game about loss and how we choose to overcome it.

Read the rest of this entry »

The 10 Best Games Based On Books

Books! They’re like films without pictures, or games that are all cutscene. Old people and hipsters really like them, teenagers think they’re like totally lame, and quite frankly we should all read more of them. There are countless games inspired by books – most especially Tolkien, Lovecraft and early Dungeons & Dragon fiction – but surprisingly few games based directly on books. Even fewer good ones.

Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that a game can, in theory, cleave closer to what a book does than a film can – with their length and their word counts, their dozens of characters and in some cases even their own in-game books, they can to some degree do the job of a novel. They don’t need to be based on books – and often they can do so much more, thanks to the great promise of non-linearity. Of course, the real reason for the dearth is that novels are so rarely the massive business a movie is these days. You might get a forlorn Hunger Games tie-in here and there, but suited people in gleaming office blocks just aren’t going to commission an adaptation of the latest Magnus Mills tale, more’s the pity.

I suspect that, over time, we’ll see the non-corporate side of games development increasingly homage the written word, but for now, these ten games (and seven honourable mentions) are, as far as I’m concerned, the best, and most landmark, results of page-to-pixel adaptation to date.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dreadnought: That’s No Moon

Somehow we haven’t written about Yager’s flying battleship combat game Dreadnought since going COR BLIMEY YEAH I’LL HAVE A BIT OF THAT PLEASE THANK YOU back during E3 week. Time to correct that. Time to correct that with massive great spaceships.
Read the rest of this entry »

Penny For Your BioShocks: The Humble 2K Bundle Is A Steal

Rarely do I effusively recommend a bundle made up entirely of games I already own, but it’s kinda hard to argue with every BioShock, Spec Ops: The Line, Mafia II, The Darkness II, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, among others. The Humble 2K Bundle does come with a slight catch (a flat rate of $20 if you want a couple of the more recent games), but even then it’s a formidable deal. Unfortunately, this will technically count as purchasing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, but don’t worry: I won’t tell anyone.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spec Ops, FC3 Writers On What’s Next, Futurism, BioShock

Who shoots the shooters? Well, I don’t think Spec Ops: The Line and Far Cry 3 writers Walt Williams and Jeffrey Yohalem have ever shot anybody, but they are attempting to skewer gaming’s shooter genre – or at least give it a good paddling. In the previous two installments of this gigantic chat, we discussed everything from the art of critique, to violence, to the effect of treating gamers like they’re stupid, to Dante’s Inferno and the Sistine Chapel. Seriously. It’s been a very long and interesting road, but now we’re finally at its end. In this thrill-a-millisecond conclusion, we discuss real, long-form criticism of games (including that one guy who wrote a book about Spec Ops), what’s next for these sorts of dissection of videogame culture, games as tools for exploring the future, and where games like BioShock Infinite fit into that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spec Ops, FC3 Writers On Art, Treating Players Intelligently

When last we joined Spec Ops: The Line writer Walt Williams and Far Cry 3 writer Jeffrey Yohalem, they discussed everything from the problematic nature of modern escapism to Western culture’s disturbing disconnection from real violence. Today: art! Or rather, the process of creating it using someone else’s money when that’s not really what they wanted in the first place. Also, we delve into the notion that gamers (often rightly) assume games think they’re dumb, and how that factored into the receptions of both games’ messages. In the process, the likes of Mass Effect, Shadow of the Colossus, the Sistine Chapel, and Dante’s Inferno (the literary work; not the bizarre EA game) get ruthlessly dissected. NO ONE IS SAFE. Flee beyond the break while you still can.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Away: Spec Ops, Far Cry 3 Writers On Criticizing FPS

The shooters! They’ve become self-aware! Now they’re in the vents, skittering around menacingly and writing lengthy commentaries on why the very mechanics that make them tick might just be hyper problematic for, you know, society. Two games, especially, have claimed the forefront of this movement and have succeeded to – erm, depending on whom you talk to – varying degrees. If nothing else, however, Spec Ops: The Line and Far Cry 3 should be applauded for aiming right down the sights at a very important topic. Thing is, they furrowed their proverbial brows at shooters in extremely different fashions – Spec Ops by charting a slow descent into bodycount-borne madness, and Far Cry by “straight-faced” (and/or frustratingly obtuse) satire. So, during GDC, I brought their respective writers, Walt Williams and Jeffrey Yohalem, together for a wide-ranging chat about, well, everything. In part one, we talk the industry’s emotional disconnect from the realities of shooting, how to critique violence without accidentally glorifying it in the process, getting these critiques past publishers, and tons more. Oh, and of course, beware of SPOILERS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trendspotting: How Gaming’s Changing In 2012 (Sez I)

No doubt there are big things yet to come from the last quarter of 2012, but even by October it feels like it’s been an uncommonly important, even vital, year for games. The hit rate of great things, expected and unexpected, has been pretty steady, but on top of that there have been major emerging trends as gaming starts to move out of the awkward transitional phase between olde worlde boxed sales and anything-goes online existence.

I’m really just ruminating on a truly fascinating 10-ish months to myself here, but see if you agree with – or better still can add to – any of these arguably defining aspects of the year nearly gone.
Read the rest of this entry »

Spec Ops Lead Hits Out At “Tacked On” Multiplayer

Polygon’s interview with Yager about their 2K-published shooter Spec Ops is worth a read, and not just because the lead, Corey Davis, attacks the practice of tacking on mandatory multiplayer to an ostensible single player project. He reportedly describes it as “bullshit”, and delivers this descriptive ankle-bite:

“The multiplayer game’s tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don’t even feel like it’s part of the overall package — it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.”

Blimey, er… Discuss?