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Posts Tagged ‘Spec Ops: The Line’

Behind the Work – When an Idea Goes Wrong

July 3, 2012 Leave a comment

A few posts ago, I mentioned an editorial I do about the progression systems in multiplayer shooters. I’ve done a few now and am currently in the middle of “Progressing Through The Line”, a detailed synopsis of Spec Ops: The Lines unlockables. After played the single player campaign for a few days, I was pretty excited to get this going. Then… the other day happened.

In all my years of playing competitive shooters, I had heard of statistics wiping or getting messed up but I had never actually experienced it. Now, since this editorial relies so heavily on statistics this is an important factor. As soon as the match ends, I start scribbling down unlocks, kills, and all sorts of other things hoping to get them all before the next match starts. In Spec Ops, the host generally leaves the match for one reason or another (I generally assume they were mad because they lost) and you are immediately booted back to the menu. This is the first of many problems, because a smart developer would try to migrate the lobby to another host instead of dropping everyone. So I now have to sort through every single loadout option to find what is new.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the actual statistics screen lost 40 minutes of playtime somewhere. So instead of checking my stats to see how long I have played and the total kill count, I’m manually keeping tabs on things. It also lost about 30 kills and somehow I lost a level of progression.

To be quite honest, these are some of my favorite pieces to write. I would much rather find a creative way to talk about the progression system in a shooter than actually review it. Publishers also like the idea, as it is a unique way to cover the game. I absolutely hated playing Starhawk, but writing the editorial was fun (albeit a challenge to keep unbiased). I normally have these pieces done pretty swiftly (a few days), but this one has taken over a week simply because I cannot stand playing it.

The online portion of the game is not just an afterthought, but a poorly executed one. The standard Deathmatch mode can be fun, but spawning in front of enemies is a serious issue. Team Deathmatch wants you to play as a team, well Squad as it is 4v4, but no one plays together and no one uses a mic. The individual mode that stands out the most, Buried, becomes a camp-fest once a team starts losing badly enough. If that wasn’t bad enough, the maps are poorly constructed and offer little room for tactical movement around the camping team.

That said, I should have the article up by the weekend. I need to power through and get it posted soon. The single player is enjoyable, though, so if that is your thing, by all means give it a go. Enjoy your holiday tomorrow, and come back and read day 2 of E3! 🙂

<3,
Don Parsons

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