I like video games. Anyone who knows me or reads the Crane regularly will know this. Some games are amazing visual or story driven pieces and are great to play. Journey comes to mind. Others, however, fit the bill in the visual and story departments but aren't fun. At least not in the conventional sense. Spec Ops: The Line falls into this category.
Don't get me wrong Spec Ops is a great game, but it does its level best to truly make war horrible. And, despite what Call of Duty & Battlefield may have you believe, war is no game. It is a terrible thing full of harsh realities and even worse choices.
This is where I get a little spoiler-y. At a certain point in the game you are given no other option but to use white phosphorous mortar fire on your "enemies". Yes, that is in quotes for a reason. Afterwards, as you walk through the battlefield, the game forces you to see what your handiwork has wrought. Yes... forces. You cannot run or sprint across the battlefield. You... must... walk. Following that there is a cut-scene, rather graphic I might add, showing more of your victims.
After a fashion I shouldn't be surprised. The game is loosely based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. This may be recognizable as it is the same work the film Apocalypse Now is based.
Overall I enjoy the game and feel that its story has merit. Perhaps all the more merit because of the other war games that are populated with epic set pieces. All the while forgetting the true horrors of war. If you enjoy shooters (TPS or FPS), and want a mature story then you owe it to yourself to try this game. Read Heart of Darkness too while you're at it.
NOTE: If you are at all squeamish DO NOT Google images of white phosphorous... it won't end well for you.