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Analysis / Spec Ops: The Line

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  • The game inspired a great number of articles and videos from the gaming press, many of which were lauded in their own right. Some notable ones include:
    • The game was covered by Chris "Campster" Franklin in an episode of his YouTube series {Errant Signal}, where he provides an in-depth summary/analysis of its storyline tropes and gameplay mechanics, and how they tie in with the game's overall message. If you're interested in this game at all, this video is definitely worth your time.
    • Zero Punctuation reviewed the game upon release. Unusually for the series, the video is almost completely devoid of humour, with Yahtzee having found the game extremely depressing and affecting. He later wrote an article examining some of the game's themes and named it his game of the year.
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    • Extra Credits examined it in two parts, the first one largely devoid of spoilers and the second examining the game assuming the player is familiar with the plot. They were among the first of many critics to advance the theory that the game's gameplay mechanics were unenjoyable by design rather than unintentionally.
    • Tom Bissell wrote an article entitled "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Shooter" inspired by the game, examining in detail how violence tends to be presented in shooters and his and other players' motivations for playing them.
    • Having already written several articles praising the game, Brendan Keogh wrote a full-length eBook entitled Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line, which is available from Amazon. He later interviewed the game's lead writer Walt Williams.
    • An article on Cracked which features interviews with lead writer Walt Williams talking about his experiences writing the game.
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    • The Invisible Hands notes that while it's true that gamers have an inherent lust for fictional violence, it is also a gutless critique because Spec Ops: The Line places all of the blame on the gamers even though the game developers, the game publishers, the gaming critics and the gaming journalists all play a role in the oversaturated shooter game market.
    • The Many Pretentious Failings of Spec Ops: The Line goes into criticism about the medicore nature of the gameplay and story, and how pretentious it is for a game developer to demand that their audience turn off a game that they themselves created.

  • See also Haze, which was intended to deliver a similar message to that of Spec Ops, but failed due to a combination of Executive Meddling and lots of half-implemented features.