Hey reader. Yes. You. Just a foreword; so put the corona bottle down, end the late night gaming session and open up your cerebral cortex to this. I don't know if you've noticed, but the Coup De Grace blog does things a bit differently here. Our review of Spec Ops: The Line will be disintegrated with laser precise accuracy into three divided reviews; and they include reviews of the single player, multiplayer, and co-op portions of Spec Ops: The Line. As an avid fan and participant in the video game industry -- as a writer and gamer, I realize how much online multiplayer (not so much local multiplayer) modes have blossomed over the years. Obviously, we can draw a lot of the present traditions from PC games -- an industry that glued us to online multiplayer in the first place. Anyone remember a little game called Counter Strike by Valve? So fast forward to 2013 and consoles have adopted all sorts of implementations to better integrate online services; from DLC, to multiplayer, co-op, commerce, and apps.
Equating to very integrated devices. With co-op and multiplayer modes on consoles seeing a surge over the years, popularized by games like Halo, Battlefield, and Call of Duty we can see how critical an eye that is required to better assess and review these separate entities that have taken a very pronounced shape of their own over the years. Where buyers remorse would creep in with the games of today if they didn't have an online component of sorts.
The Spec Ops Co-op mode makes it's mark in the PlayStation Store as a 232MB download, for 2K Games has delighted and serviced fans of the game with a co-op mode that spans four divergent maps and objectives. Being a fan of other third person shooters such as the Uncharted and Gears of War series, I presumed it would be a co-op campaign mode or possibly a story based co-op; as a prerequisite at the least, but alas, no. It is in actuality more akin to Modern Warfare 2 and 3's own separate Spec Ops co-op mode in which you could team up with another buddy to complete various objectives. Once you arrive at the menu screen, you will be greeted with the co-op mode which can be accessed from the bottom of the menu screen. For this review I've played only the online mode, but developer Darkside Game Studios do offer a LAN option, which I have yet to put through its trials. You can then choose whether you want to play a "Quick Match" or a "Private Co-op" match.
I did test out the private co-op mode with another player: my very patient girlfriend (to her dismay,) and the invite system was a breeze -- setting up a game was fairly simple as well; however, I had no luck in accessing a co-op match by way of the matchmaking setting. The game would always drop me in a match without a co-op partner. I'm not sure if this a widespread issue, as my internet connection is fairly decent by the way. Alternatively, the private co-op match mode allows you to invite up to one other player to join you in a match. The conception behind the co-op mode follows a similar beaten path game play-wise other third person shooters have been accustomed to over the years. You can revive your buddy if he happens to be bleeding out -- if you die, you fail the objective. However, seeing as the maps are fairly confined and restricted to simple corridors, taking time out to revive may happen too often, as dying by accident seems to occur by nature. Which can be attributed to the sluggish player movement and cover system.
Speaking of the difficulty level, which you can select when setting up your match ranges from four different difficulties. I played on the Combat Op difficulty, which is equivalent to normal settings. I was eager to try out my new Power A controller, which is a blessing on the PS3 if you're an avid fan of the XBOX 360 controller that it is inspired by. http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Elite-Wireless-Controller-Playstation-3/dp/B003V4AK8E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365694857&sr=8-1&keywords=power+a+controller Load times seem to occur frequently throughout the game and they are lengthy. The Rainbow Six Vegas' franchise style of game play comes very close in comparison to Spec Op's pace and dynamics. The AI seems to enjoy taking pot shots out of the side of your view, or just standing around in your line of sight. I've noticed that even while in cover, enemies will still be able to spot you and shoot you even at an angle if you're close to the edge of some cover. Enemies are versatile and will try to flank you and flush you out with grenades -- grenades being very lethal in close proximity to you.
You can die a lot on tougher difficulties as the AI seems to ramp up with more varied and swifter tactics being employed, especially if you do not have a co-op buddy fighting alongside you. You'd think with other games employing more story based co-op modes, as co-op has superseded it's previous position on the totem pole as a desired feature by most gamers, that it'd be present here -- companionship also leading a divergent route in video games but somehow intertwines. With prime examples such as Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us. The four co-op maps include Gorge Top, Refugees, Graveyard Sabotage, and Carpark Extracting including objectives such as hacking com stations and assassinations.
I started the map: Refugees off with two weapons: the AK-47 and an Uzi. Ammo isn't too sparse across the map, and all throughout the map you can also pick up and exchange weapons for those weapons dropped by the enemies you've clipped. Weapons range from the deadly shotgun, grenades, sub machine guns, assault rifles, and machine guns. Cover is your best friend in Spec Ops: The Line just like any other cover based shooter, and practically any surface can be used as cover. Speaking of the objectives, way points provide ease of access to your main objective; however, the four maps generally play out the same: take cover, shoot, avoid a bullet to the cranium, clear room, face heavy armored soldiers, reach way point. With not much variety outside of the objectives game play-wise. These co-op missions may not occupy much of your time, or come off as particularly remarkable, however it is fun for a couple of hours until you've exhausted all of the replay value. Adding a leader board would spice things up.
Along with the co-op missions, the graphics don't particularly scream SEX ME with muddy textures and generic character designs. If you're looking for more depth in your co-op experience, look elsewhere. With the bare bones limited offerings in the co-op Mode and shoddy matchmaking system, there is no justification in getting completely absorbed in the experience.
Spec Ops: The Line Co-op Mode Score: 6/10
Be on the look out readers for reviews on Spec Ops: The Line's campaign mode and multiplayer portions of the game!