Nothing in recent memory "does it" for me except this one. By the end, I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed this. I had an itch for something that my mind could ponder for a while. Certain TV shows could scratch it. Some books too. But not that many games in the past few years.
I could probably count them on one hand. Off the top of my head, there's Killer 7, Deadly Premonition, Shin Megami Tensei 3 and Silent Hill 2. Why are they all Japanese games? I'm not some Japanophile if that's what you're thinking. It seems that the Japanese are more tolerant of the idea that some things, specifically the story, are best left unexplained. And so I find myself gravitating towards their games more than those developed by other cultures. I can't think of any Western-developed games other than Spec Ops: The Line that are as stimulating.
I suppose those who are reading this may suggest various indie titles. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the writers of those games still have a while to go before they can really come up with something special. If anything, the presentation is holding them back somewhat if you ask me, making for a clash between that and the story. It's hard for me to take those games seriously when a lot of the ones I come across are platformers with little men jumping around and retro-fantastic pixels. Enough with the nostalgia and throw-backs already!
Anyway, those are my thoughts. It's not really about Spec Ops: The Line, but the game certainly got me thinking about how this creative medium still has a long way to go.
It was my favorite game of 2012, along with The Waking Dead, which is another notable example of a narrative-driven title that does storytelling right in videogames.
What makes them standout for me is the way the developers successfully integrate the story with gameplay - for example, by having difficult and plot relevant choices that happen in real-time, with interactive sequences. It also helps that the transitions between cutscenes and gameplay moments are usually as smooth as possible.
The sense of urgency and the level of immersion that are achieved with such smart design choices is incredible, and you wouldn't be able to experience quite the same thing in any other media.
So I'd say that The Line is rather revolutionary in the way it treats the story and gameplay as just one continuous element, in which one is used to enhance the other, and I hope developers take note of those lessons in the future. Most developers nowadays would be satisfied to simply aim for a well-written CGI sequence, and then use some jarring transition to a gameplay scenario that ultimately feels disconnected and unimportant to what happened before, or maybe present choices that can't help but feel shoehorned. --- Eu sairia se estudar mais, ter uma vida social mais ativa e sair de casa não fossem um saco. - Vasconcelos
I swear I think about Spec Ops all the freaking time. It's difficult to take games like CoD and Battlefield seriously anymore. Not that I ever did, but you know. --- Pros: The pills were there. Cons: So was the tank.