Meta: The bad news? I missed a day. The good news? That means you get two posts in 24 hours. You lucky sods you.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I might be a little…down on video games. If the last 21 days have taught me anything, it’s that I enjoy games for their mechanics and gameplay, rather than their plots, characters and narratives. So we’re going to try something a little different today. Today I’m going to be positive about video game stories. As today’s topic is plot-heavy, I’m going to keep my discussion of the game’s main narrative somewhat hidden. It’s a game I recommend everyone play, and as such I think you should do just that.
My game with the best story is: Spec Ops: The Line
I may be cheating here, but bare with me. Spec Ops: The Line is a modern retelling of a novel by Joseph Conrad called Heart of Darkness. So technically it’s not an original story, but…whatevs. I’m not sure that’s all that important here.
Spec Ops does something that we rarely see in the FPS genre. It tells a story about its characters. Sure it’s gameplay is a little generic; a 3rd person cover shooter that doesn’t ask too much of its player, but the direction the story is genuinely interesting and engaging.
It begins as a fairly obvious modern shooter, with big burly dudes and lots of killing. It’s the final few hours of the game that really kicks the game into gear. The game becomes cloudy; confusing. What did happen in this city? Who are we fighting and more importantly, why?
Because the interesting thing about the game’s story isn’t its setting, or its plot. It’s the character of Martin Walker.
As you approach the games conclusion you’ll be questioning everything you’ve been tasked with doing, asking questions about who you are as both the playable character, and (forgive the hyperbole) who you are as a player of video games.
The games final moments are some of the most memorable in any game I’ve played. You’ll be at first a little confused,but the confusion subsides and then you’ll be angry and saddened by what the game made you do in order to complete its story.
Spec Ops doesn’t get the kudos it deserves. From the outset it looks like another boring modern military shooter, but if you delve into what’s on offer, you’ll be very surprised indeed.
Check back..later today for Day 22: A Game Sequel That disappointed You.