I don't view it as an anti-war game any more than apocalypse now was an anti-war movie.
The discussion about on subject of Apocalypse Now
being pro-war or anti-war is one over authorial intend (i.e. whetever what the author put into the finished product is supreme over what the audience takes away from it); Coppola himself did however state that the movie should be considered against the glorification of the Vietnam War, not against war itself. But he did not deny that an anti-war reading of the material was accurate.
It's called "the line", which i take as an obvious statement on how far the individual would go (or not go) in a high stakes combat situation.
Which is a typical anti-war story narrative throughline and considering the ending(s) of Spec Ops: The Line
Turns out the commanding officer of the unit you were supposed to rescue has been dead for weeks. Every of his taunts over the radio was imaginary, the protagonist creating a villian in his mind as to allievate his guilt over the events as the unfolded. Meanwhile your superiors, or at least elements in your chain of command, have been coverly engaged in operations that to rather kill everyone than letting it get out that an American military unit basically turned into a totalitarian police state when left to its own devices (you known the whole buisness with the CIA stealing the water trucks).
For there it procceds depending on whetever or not you fired on civilians in previous missions and a few other triggers I don't recall, but then you have the option to either a) shoot yourself, b) surrender to the next group of US forces, c) murder the next group of US force to become the next dictator of the city. (and maybe I am forgetting something)
Anyway, the stress from the events and combat have damaged the protagonists psyche to the point on non-functionality
- I find that it comes very much down on the side of a common Consequentialist anti-war stance.
I agree with this. I think a more accurate characterization of Spec Ops: The Line isn't that it's an anti-war game, but rather that it's an anti-Modern Military Shooter game. The focus of the game is about tearing down the power trip action hero fantasy of CoD-style videogames, and the anti-war appearance is more a result of the Modern Warfare tropes than anything else. There isn't even an actual war until the PC shows up and basically starts one--the game begins as a rescue op.
Uhm actually -
After the first encouners with the hostile US troops, it is revealed that they are basically operating their own little police state and oppressing the locals under the guise of controlling and rationing the essential supplies. You actually come across them during a raid on civilian housing at one point, as well as intel on the "Insurgents" that they are actually a local resistance group against the US forces, not a pre-existing terrorist group as which your team originally identifies them.
As to make adaptation of Modern Warfare-tropes a game more or less anti-war or pro-war, let is just be said that several lines of though on how to write "subversive" texts consider using the narrative motives and devices used to express the an idea in support of "authority" a valid method, e.g. by telling a fairly convential pro-war story but then denying the usual pay-offs as the story concludes.