The game incorporates several subtle effects to visualize the lead character's increasing mental and physical distress; alongside the degradation of their combat uniforms, Walker suffers visual and auditory hallucinations later in the game, and his executions of enemies become more violent.
Although it's common to play as a powerful soldier, as the narrative unfolds the impact of your choices and the pressure of war and violence on the soldier’s psyche is brought home in surprising and sometimes shocking ways.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Spec Ops: The Line 4 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 6 months ago.
Rated for younger players in Australia. Rated Mature Accompanied (MA 15+) for Violence, Coarse Language, War Themes.
This is rated PEGI 18 and ESRB Mature. The ESRB expand on the age rating: Players use machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, and grenades to kill enemy soldiers in frenetic combat. Battles are highlighted by realistic gunfire, screams of pain, and slow-motion effects (during headshots); injured characters emit blood splashes when hit, and continue to incur damage when killed. Players can also “execute” or incapacitate enemies at close range (e.g., punching soldiers in the face or snapping their necks). Some weapons cause injuries such as dismembered limbs or scattered body parts; a handful of sequences depict severely burned or mutilated corpses. During the course of the game, players have the ability to shoot unarmed civilians or open fire on angry mobs. Cutscenes also include intense instances of violence: bloodied characters getting interrogated and/or executed; soldiers getting shot in the head at point-blank range. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” can be heard in the dialogue.
14+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. Although it's not a hard game, to appreciate the choices and outcomes some maturity is important.