Trophy Update #3 – Spec Ops: The Line

Today’s Trophy Update should have been a Platinum Tracker post but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the game before having to leave home for another two weeks. The Platinum will surely come soon, but for now let’s focus on other trophies from a game that continues the recent tradition of colon-based titles – Spec Ops: The Line.

I don’t want to go into the review of the game just yet, as I’d rather leave it for the Platinum post. However, I have to say one thing. I’ve heard a lot about how amazing the game is in terms of the story, the characters and its anti-war sentiments. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, maybe it’s because I don’t really play other shooters such as Battlefield or Call of Duty or maybe it’s because I’m a heartless bastard but the game didn’t move me as much as I thought it would. I’ve been waiting for ‘The Moment’ but when the game ended I had to think a while what ‘The Moment’ was supposed to be. Sure, the atrocities of war are shown very vividly in the game, some of the decisions that Walker has to make are truly horrific, but still there’s a lot of standard shooting and killing mechanics that don’t really fit well to the premise. I understand that the killing is there to emphasize the point the story is trying to make (as indicated by the loading screen messages such as ‘How many Americans have you killed today?’) but somehow it fell short of the expectations I had. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the game or the story. It was something else, for sure. However, I think it’s another case of a title being overhyped and for me lacking the background in playing shooters and nationality to fully appreciate it. Also, maybe playing on a lower difficulty setting, where killing is easy and the player is hard to kill, would make the point they’re trying to make more convincing.

specops_img001

As far as the trophies are concerned, this game is a relatively easy Platinum that requires at least two playthroughs and some cleanup but it can be unlocked in around 12-14 hours without much problems if you’re good at third-person shooter/adventure games. What I absolutely love about the trophies are the icons. Just take a quick look at them… You’re back? OK. The developers at Yager Development sure had some fun there. It’s another attempt to try to approach the war shooter genre from another perspective and to show that this really is an anti-game more than anything. When I first saw the ‘A Man of Action’ trophy pop up on the screen (my favorite), I thought that there must be something wrong and there’s some kind of bug in the game. But no, that’s how they look like. That’s one large grain of salt right there.

I’ll write more about the plot itself and the choices I made in the Platinum Tracker post in a couple of weeks once I finish the game on the highest difficulty. In the meantime, the next two weeks are Vita weeks since I’m away from home. Stay tuned for Sly Cooper, Stealth Inc. and maybe some Zen Pinball.

Story-related trophies

specops_s001 trophy_bronze They Live
specops_s002 trophy_bronze Treacherous Ground
What’s lost is found Look out below
specops_s003 trophy_bronze The Lost Battalion
specops_s004 trophy_bronze Desert Storm
We have contact Engineer an exit strategy
specops_s005 trophy_bronze The Horror
specops_s006 trophy_bronze Three Kings
Face the horrors of war Stand united
specops_s007 trophy_bronze The Great Escape
specops_s008 trophy_bronze A Bridge Too Far
Get out of here! The end of the line

Nothing much to write here, to be honest. These trophies are unmissable and are awarded for completing certain sections in the game.

Difficulty-based trophies

specops_diff001 trophy_bronze Boot
specops_diff002 trophy_silver We Were Soldiers
Complete game on “Walk on the Beach” difficulty Complete game on “Combat Op” difficulty
specops_diff003 trophy_gold The Devil’s Disciple
Complete game on “Suicide Mission” difficulty

Like I already wrote, I haven’t played many shooters so I was a little worried at first, since I read that Spec Ops is not a particularly easy game. Fortunately, it’s a third-person perspective title so all the hours put into Uncharted payed off here. I beat the game on ‘Suicide Mission’ difficulty which is required to unlock the hardest ‘FUBAR’ difficulty and it took me around 6 hours to do so. The controls took me some time getting used to and Walker doesn’t always react properly (melee attacking instead of jumping over obstacles, not eager taking cover), which can be a little frustrating. There were certain sections of the game that I needed several attempts to beat, especially with heavies on the battlefield, but there really weren’t any ‘controller to the wall’ moments.

I’m currently some 30% into the second playthrough and it feels much more difficult now. Jumping from cover to cover and making use of Lugo and Adams, the squadmates, is essential as Walker can be killed with two or three shots. Stay low, be accurate and you’ll be fine.

Combat-based trophies

specops_f002 trophy_bronze Battle Management
specops_f003 trophy_bronze Marksman – Small Arms
Kill 50 enemies using only the Attack Command Kill 100 enemies with any pistol or SMG
specops_f004 trophy_bronze Marksman – Grenade
specops_f005 trophy_bronze Applied Force
Kill 50 enemies with grenades Hit 10 enemies with your melee attack
specops_f006 trophy_bronze Marksman – Sniper
specops_f007 trophy_bronze Marksman – Rifle
Kill 50 enemies with any sniper rifle Kill 350 enemies with any rifle
specops_f008 trophy_bronze Aim High
specops_f009 trophy_bronze Good Training
Kill 250 enemies with headshots Sprint into cover 10 times while under fire
specops_f010 trophy_bronze Marksman – Shotgun
specops_f011 trophy_bronze Blind Luck
Kill 75 enemies with any shotgun Kill 5 enemies using blind fire

These trophies really show how many enemies get killed in the game. I got most of them, except for maybe one or two, in a single playthrough so the count should be around 500, which feels a lot for a 15-chapter, 6-hour campaign. I believe it’s almost impossible to miss any of them after two playthroughs. Just keep shooting, what else is there to do in the game?

Special actions trophies

specops_sp006 trophy_bronze Army of One
specops_sp001 trophy_bronze Damn Close
Kill 3 enemies with a single grenade Kill an Edged Weapon Expert while he is up to 5 meters away
specops_sp002 trophy_bronze Preventive Diplomacy
specops_sp003 trophy_bronze The Human Factor
Kill an enemy just as they are throwing a grenade Kill an enemy by tagging him with a sticky grenade
specops_sp004 trophy_bronze In Your Face
specops_sp005 trophy_bronze Close Combat Carnage
Kick an enemy by vaulting over a cover Kill 4 enemies with a shotgun in 10 seconds or less

I particularly like trophies that require the player to perform a certain action and not only do something tens or hundreds of times, so I appreciated these little gems. Again, they aren’t particularly difficult and should unlock naturally while playing the game. I read the descriptions midway through the game and the only one I did intentionally was the 4 shotgun kills trophy. I did in in a chapter where Walker is separated from Lugo and Adams and needs to get back to them by first sniping an enemy who has a gun to one of the soldier’s head. There’s a zipline there with a shotgun placed conveniently nearby and around six enemies waiting at the other end. Zip, go into cover and take them out one after another.

Choice-based trophies

specops_p001 trophy_bronze A Man of Action
specops_p002 trophy_bronze Damned if You Don’t
Play it loose Buck the chain of command
specops_p003 trophy_bronze Unfriendly Fire
specops_p004 trophy_bronze A Line, Crossed
Save a bullet Choose vengeance
specops_p005 trophy_bronze A Farewell To Arms
specops_p006 trophy_bronze Too Late The Hero
You are relieved Carry on, soldier
specops_p007 trophy_silver The Road Back
specops_p008 trophy_silver The Road To Glory
Live and let live Live and let die

Spec Ops: The Line gives the players two choices – a bad one, and a worse one. These decisions influence how crazy Walker becomes. I don’t want to go into details of my decisions here but the trophies are awarded for taking one or the other action so it’s required to do the opposite during the second playthrough. I also appreciate that the trophy names and descriptions don’t give much away story-wise. Sure, there’s some hints of insubordination or choosing between killing or sparing someone, but it isn’t clear until it happens in the game.

Collector trophies

specops_in002 trophy_bronze Spotter
specops_in001 t trophy_silver Recon
Recover one Intel Item Recover 12 Intel Items

Ah, no game would be complete without making the player collect stuff. On his way through Dubai, Walker stumbles upon various items which give more insight into what had happened there. I like the fact that the items to be collected are not generic elements of the environment, boxes, envelopes, etc. but are all different and sometimes unexpected or disturbing. A little girl’s teddy bear, a violated American flag, a radio interview. They all shed more light on the horrible events of the war. Also, they aren’t too difficult to find since they glow with a pulsating yellow light and are really the only items in the game other than guns that the player can interact with.

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