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Epic Alpha Protocol Review Extravaganza

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Epic Alpha Protocol Review Extravaganza

Review - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Tue 1 June 2010, 20:05:12

Tags: Alpha Protocol; Obsidian Entertainment

Alpha Protocol, a game that splits the masses (basically like every other game before), triggered quite some dissent among the resident mental giants. Let's see what other mouthbreathers got to say about it.

 

Giant Bomb figured the traditional treatment of espionage in video games leaves a little something to be desired, 3/5.

If you decide to play Alpha Protocol, just know that your main enemies over the course of its 15-or-so hours will be its collection of misery-inducing technical issues and the clash between its action and role-playing elements. There are parts of Alpha Protocol that I feel are totally amazing and absolutely worth seeing, but you'll have to trudge through a lot of very disappointing stuff just to see it.

Hooked Gamers are dishing out an epic score of 8.5/10. Epic, if you keep in mind that our formerly beloved Obsidianites don't have the bribe funds real devs like BioWare or Bethesda can muster.

Decisions, Decisions

From ally to enemy to ally - this is the engrossing world of Alpha Protocol. There are no good guys or bad guys, only individuals and organizations with their own agendas. Islamic terrorists, weapons manufacturers, private military corporations, and mafia bosses can all be your hated adversary one day and your best friend the next. It all depends on the decisions you make as rookie spy Michael Thorton, who is thrust into this murky underworld when tasked with finding the culprits behind a missile attack on a passenger airplane.

Sometimes these decisions are straightforward. Most of the time, you're forced to make decisions with too little information and no favorable consequences. Choosing to ally with one faction over another always nets you a new enemy. Saving the damsel in distress just leads to more distress for both you and the damsel.

There are no right or wrong or easy decisions in Alpha Protocol, but they are all unavoidable. And the most prevalent decision is choosing how to interact with other people.

Gamer Limit humbly grants 6.5/10 points, relieved, because it could have been much worse.

Overall, Alpha Protocol is simply underwhelming. Poor AI, equally shallow stealth and RPG elements, a bland presentation, and stiff characters all make for a dull experience. Though the narrative has some strong points, and much detail was given to the system of choices and dialogue, it appears the rest of the game lacked even half the same treatment. Various bugs and odd behavior contributes to a feeling that Obsidian didn’t put much effort into making sure their product was solid.

It should be noted that I played Alpha Protocol on the PC, and though the PC usually boasts better visuals than its console counterparts, the game still looked old and bland, and my mouse control was inexplicably jerky. I had to play with a 360 controller, as I could find no solution to this problem.

Esteemed RPG site Guardian doesn't feel compelled to give more than 2/5, because on screen the potential of an espionage based RPG is rarely fulfilled.

The most frustrating thing about Alpha Protocol is that there clearly is a decent game hidden away here. Choosing a specialisation for your agent and customising him with individual skills and looks is as gnawingly compulsive as in most RPGs. Possibly even more so here, given the real-world setting. But a general lack of visual polish, coupled with clunky gameplay mechanics, means Alpha Protocol is a missed opportunity.

xbox360achievements.org don't score it more than 70/100, despite calling Alpha Protocol a cult game.

Essentially, Alpha Protocol is going to be like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. There’s no middle ground here people! If you can look past the outdated third person shooter mechanics and its ordinary visuals, and view it as an RPG, then Alpha Protocol could very well be a title that will be in your console for months as you try different approaches to the task at hand. However, after Mass Effect 2 proved that combining the two genres is most definitely possible, Alpha Protocol pales in comparison. Where Mass Effect falls down by giving you very little control over the major aspects of the story and its outcome, Alpha Protocol shines by putting a real emphasis on choice. If you want to play the bad guy, switch sides and sacrifice civilians to save a world leader, you can – it’s as close to being Jack Bauer as you’re going to get. However, whilst Alpha Protocol doesn’t fail on its choices mechanic and its dialogue system, it does pretty much fail on everything else and it holds it back from being a great title. We’d love to see them take the best bits out of the title, combine them with some real shooter mechanics and high production values to make a sequel, but unfortunately, that’s probably never going to happen.

Game guys want to love it but their love only suffices for a "C".

Alpha Protocol is one of those games you want to love. It tries new things in a third-person game that add depth and incentive to replay the adventure. Alpha also features deep weapon customization and a conversation dialogue tree that works well. While the game succeeds on the RPG side - it doesn't feel as polished on the action side. The gun play, melee combat and even the way Thorton moves around feels awkward.

It's unfortunate that the control and even graphics don't live up to this game's potential. You may want to rent Alpha Protocol, to see if these shortcomings don't sabotage your experience as a spy.

Dealspwn, 7/10, reasonably liked the game but spotted one of the big design fails:

The game itself becomes more enjoyable over time if you opt for the stealth route; it’s just a shame that things go a bit pear-shaped when you’re forced to shoot your way out of a situation.

Hardcore Gamers, 4/5, are pondering whether Alpha Protocol will be the shining example of the RPG genre or just another action game to throw in the wind?

Despite these flaws, Alpha Protocol is still a fun and entertaining experience with a dynamic storyline and solid RPG mechanics. The open branching pathways and options ensure for multiple playthroughs and the action is varied enough so you won’t find yourself bored. In the end, Alpha Protocol will sneak into the hearts of players all around the world with its immersive DSS feature and colorful cast of characters. It may feel like a hybrid of the Splinter Cell  and Mass Effect series, but it meshes the best aspects of both to create a brand new promising entity.

And last but not least we have Gaming Union with a mediocre score of 6/10.

For all its faults Alpha Protocol features one of the best dialogue systems seen in an RPG for a long time. It helps to keep things extremely fresh and certainly makes the whole story-aspect of the game feel much more engaging. However, for all the good this brings, Alpha Protocol is severely let down by the game's other major aspect, the gameplay. It really is one of those games where you're left thinking, what if? Alpha Protocol surely didn't necessarily plan out how Obsidian wanted it to, but there were some amazing ideas present amongst all the bad ones. Hopefully they'll be able to make a sequel and really sort out those areas, because the concept has some serious potential if done correctly.

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