I just finished playing through this game and have mixed feelings overall about it, but at the end of the day I did have fun. A large portion of my enjoyment came from the gunplay which reminded me a lot of Army of Two, and that is never a bad thing.
You play the role of a soldier that turns the mission into a personal vendetta deep in the sands of Dubai. During the game you get to see what that means and how your choices play out. The mechanic of making choices in games are seldom done with major consequences and Spec Ops is no different but at least it seems like it makes an impact on the ending, I didn’t play a second time to find out. But it adds a little something extra.
The graphics do the job and the sand that flies in the air during sand storms or when a grenade explodes looks fine. There are a few times when you can bury your enemies in a ton of sand by shooting out windows but this is never fully realized as a common strategy during the game. The game looks good and the overall atmosphere is successful at setting the tone of the game.
You have the ability to command your troops on the battlefield. Other than getting a trophy or achievement from using it successfully I didn’t find that it added to the experience or that it changed the tide of battles all that much since the guys seemed to have the most basic of AI. In Army of Two it made an instant impact on the battle, almost like a “I win” button, not so in Spec Ops. What did help was when one of my guys needed reviving, I could order the other guy to go do that instead of having to do it myself. That came in handy a lot once I figured it out.
The story lasts for 15 chapters that each take about 30 minutes at most to complete. Some chapters flew by in 10-15 minutes. That’s not to say it’s uninteresting though. The story unfolds and tells a tale that would be very interesting I think as a movie or mini series but didn’t seem to capture my attention as a game due to how it had to be dragged out to cover a multi-hour game.
Overall it is a solid third-person shooter that feels great. The controls are very good, the guns handle well and the battles are good fun. It can be picked up cheap now, under $20, and is worth that. I may have felt a little cheated if I paid the full $60 for it when new but as a budget title now it’s a great buy and I definitely recommend it for a weekend or rainy day playthrough that can be picked up again anytime you are looking for a quick game to play without needing to really immerse yourself and worry too much about story or strategy. Fire it up, shoot some guns and enjoy the ride.