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Moral Choices the Alpha Protocol Way
Preview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Sat 8 May 2010, 13:11:58Tags: Alpha Protocol; Obsidian Entertainment
Videogamer had some hands-on time with Alpha Protocol.
Lets be honest from the start: this isn’t as pretty as Mass Effect.
Let’s be clear right now: this isn’t as pretty as Mass Effect. Lead spy Michael Thorton and his chums would never be described as “da hotness” by hormone-fuelled street yutes, but nor would they be described as “well butters”. Fine, so those particular slang terms both went of out of use years ago – but hopefully you get my point: it’s solid-looking, rather than spectacular. On a similar note, the action doesn’t feel quite as pant-dampeningly pleasurable as BioWare’s sci-fi romp. The controls just aren’t as immediately responsive, so pleasingly contoured to your destructive whims, and the battles lack the same “instant blockbuster” feel that you get while battling with Shepard and company. If Alpha Protocol had made its original release window, it wouldn’t have had to suffer these comparisons – but it didn’t, and so it must.
But it features muddied morality instead:
For example, at one point on your travels you may need to deal with a particular Russian informant who has some info that you need. If you’re polite, he’ll give you what you need, and he’ll also give you both an optional side mission and the contact details for a new arms dealer. If, on the other hand, you shout at him and then glass him like an ASBO yob on a government grant, he’ll be so utterly terrified of you that he’ll give you give you a five per cent discount in his shop (everyone in Russia sells guns, apparently).
In most RPGs this would simply be another throwaway morality choice, linked to a binary good/evil karma system – but here, things aren’t so clear-cut. If you glass the informant he’ll run crying to the local authorities, so when you later turn up to burgle a local embassy you’ll find it staffed by grizzly marines. This might sound like a bad thing, but if you approach them in the right way you get nice and chummy with them - so when the embassy gets attacked by terrorists, ten minutes later, they’ll help you out. If, on the other hand, you were squeaky-clean and nice-as-pie with the initial informant, the embassy will be staffed by wimpy security guards. No prizes for guessing what happens to them when the bad guys show up.
Spotted at: RPGWatch