Review: Alpha Protocol

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Review: Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol has plenty of great ideas. Unfortunately, it also has plenty of bugs.

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I will pass. I was excited. But my excitement was killed very quickly for this game as reviews pored in. For some reason, the shooting looks horrid, too. The stealth gameplay looks like it works fine, though. Especially with the dumb AI.

And with those bugs, you'd have to save every few minutes, or before attempting a hack. He really just walked into a corner like that on his own? When the controls don't even work properly something has gone wrong. Even really, really, really bad movie games at least have controls that work.

This is pretty much what I've been expecting since the first gameplay trailer - a broken, half-arsed mess. Nice to see my suspicions validated.

Aww. I liked the sound of this game. An RPG that isn't all about wizards. If they patch the bugs maybe I'll rent it, or buy it cheap.

thenumberthirteen:
Aww. I liked the sound of this game. An RPG that isn't all about wizards. If they patch the bugs maybe I'll rent it, or buy it cheap.

Same, luckily I'm out of my 'pre-order everything and anything that looks interesting' phase so I've saved some money.

Still, it looked promising :(

lol, expenses account...heh, if you're not British then it's not as funny

I was kind of hoping that this would be good, now?

I'll just use any copy of this I get as a $60 coster.

I never noticed any control problems or visual glitches on the PC version. Bad port maybe?

Wow sounds like a serious development rush job. Bugs like that are seriously inexcusable. I can understand the shortcomings of the AI in a way, but the controller issues are a serious deal-breaker.

Nice video supplement, by the way. Felt like an actual addition tot he review, rather than someone reading out the main points over a demo of the game.

Nimbus:
I never noticed any control problems or visual glitches on the PC version. Bad port maybe?

Quite possibly, yeah. And yes, he really does just go wandering off on his own from time to time. The controller will also just plain stop working - you'll be moving the blocks around to hack a computer and suddenly, nothing works. Very disappointing.

As for the shooting, I could never get the sensitivity to a place where it felt right, so I was constantly swinging back and forth with the reticle. Again, possibly just a bad porting issue.

Nimbus:
I never noticed any control problems or visual glitches on the PC version. Bad port maybe?

Same here, haven't noticed any of the visual glitches or control problems in the PC version, just some jittery framerates.
But again, the retarded AI does ruin the experience sometimes.

I have it on PC and controls work just fine for me ,except that it sometimes lags when you move mouse around (my pc is pretty powerful ,im not the only one with that problem) and shooting mechanics are terrible ,60% chance that you will miss a headshot even if your target isnt moving and he is pretty close + other problems that the review mentioned. All in all its playable ,i liked the story so far and im a major rpg junkie so i like it ,its not great but i dont wanna play mass effect 2 for the third time yet.

Nimbus:
I never noticed any control problems or visual glitches on the PC version. Bad port maybe?

That post kind of contradicts Rock Paper Shotgun's post-release playtest. Although maybe it's a case of "it's designed for a 360 controller, not mouse + keyboard".

It does look like a bad port... from the 360 version.

Poor Obsidian, and they try so hard....

Tactical, espionage, RPG? Yes please!

Alpha protocol? Yes please!

Branching plot that is affected by your actions? Where do I buy it?!

Obsidian? Oh shit....

Dammit Obsidian! Why ya gotta let a brother down! I TRUSTED you! I TRUSTED YOU!

In all seriousness, I frequently trust Susan Arendt's reviews (unlike those of a certain be-hatted brit in Brisbane, it is Brisbane right? or was it Melbourne... dammit) and hence I will accept that Alpha Protocol probably isn't worth my money.

I'm going to go against the grain here. I like this game.

I won't defend the flaws, but the only ones I've run into are occasional enemy AI glitches (I've seen bad guys stuck in doors twice total since I started playing, and I've put about five hours in) and frequent texture loading glitches.

The graphic loading problems bother me, but the gameplay is fun and challenging and has managed to successfully build tension. The hacking and lock picking is always a welcome boon.
I'll add a disclaimer: I am a horrible twitch gamer. I suspect that I'm in the bottom 10% of gamers when it comes to raw skill, so the bad AI is probably right at my level.

My favorite feature is the conversation system. This is the first time I've seen believable conversation trees in a video game. Rather than the other characters staring dumbly while you select from a dialog list, you have a limited window to select an attitude. I really want to see this concept expanded in other games. Bioware, I'm looking at you guys to pick up on this for ME3.

I was really looking forward to this. Next time Obsidian have a great idea that they can hand it over to Bioware so that we're not all sorely disappointed.

Ah well, it's only 25 on Steam so assuming it has the shit patched out of it I might buy it. I mean, you can correct most of the problems (like the peashooter pistols, grahpical glitches, etc.) in the patch.

Also, I doubt anyone's played both versions but the PC version does seem to have received higher scores - is it much better? It's just that most reviews are done on consoles (to my great annoyance) and it'd be nice to know if not all complaints are present on the PC version.

Have the PC version. I love the game, however all the reviews are pointing towards me having to dislike the game. The PC version isn't as glitchy/buggy. The thing with this game is, it has nothing in it that's wrong. Only things that require a bit more polish.

However, as a poster above me noticed. This game has some amazing concepts. Concepts BioWare should learn from. But the presentation is just amazing. Honestly, I feel bad that the game has negative feedback, since I'm actually enjoying it, but maybe I can just overlook the flaws.

I'm finding this incredibly frustrating, having preordered it through Steam and I still can't get it to even start up, let alone deal with the bugs. I preordered largely because I'd seen a talk from last summer by Chris Avellone on the dialogue and storytelling system the game uses (which even the most damning reviews seem to say is pretty stellar), and honestly I'd even have been happy with something that was a flawed gem, much like how KotOR2 was. However, a game that I can't even get to start is pretty ridiculous -- I don't think I have had this problem with anything I bought through Steam ever, and so far nothing that's been suggested by technical support has worked to fix it. :/

To be fair, I suspect my issue is actually something with the DRM, since I don't even get the prompt to enter my activation code when I try to launch it, but that doesn't really make it any better. I've had really high hopes for Obsidian, just from their pedigree: KotOR2 really was excellent until the rushed-out last act, and I actually applied for a job there years ago and got some of the most thoughtful feedback I've ever gotten on a practical test. Unfortunately, my experience with Alpha Protocol has made me reconsider preordering New Vegas, which should be a sure bet. I'm sure I'll end up getting it (and I suspect a game built from an existing engine should be a bit more robust), but I'll probably wait for the reviews before picking it up.

On the one hand, all I knew about this game were how badly its advertisements sucked. So finding out it's at least better than the shovelware it appeared to be is a huge step up.

Alpha Protocol didn't particularly scream out at me and I'm not quite surprised either. Oh well, better luck next time.

kasperbbs:
I have it on PC and controls work just fine for me ,except that it sometimes lags when you move mouse around (my pc is pretty powerful ,im not the only one with that problem) and shooting mechanics are terrible ,60% chance that you will miss a headshot even if your target isnt moving and he is pretty close + other problems that the review mentioned. All in all its playable ,i liked the story so far and im a major rpg junkie so i like it ,its not great but i dont wanna play mass effect 2 for the third time yet.

I actually really enjoy it, too, but I just plain can't recommend someone pay full price for it. The RPG parts really are very satisfying, but everything else...yeeeesh....I mean, only being able to use the sniper rifle in specific spots because you can't carry it with you? Lame. Sorry, just plain lame.

Sad to hear. Obsidian doesn't have such a great track record, does it? And they've just signed on to help with the Wheel of Time RPG...oh dear...

This sounded like it could have been really fun. To bad it has so many issues.

I'll be getting this game from Gamefly in about six hours, so we'll see. As for the mysterious wandering off glitch, I experienced that glitch in a great many PS3 games, so I'm a little curious if it's indicative of the game or the console. In any case, it probably explains why this game was so heavily marketed.

Could not most of the issues be fixed with a big fat patch?

Was kind of tempted to get this, but if it really is currently as broken as people say it is, I think I'll hold on to my money.

And heh, expenses account - as an earlier poster said, its quite funny if you're British.

Wow, apart from the bugs, I actually find this game quite interesting. Does any know if there is a major patch coming up so I might consider getting it?

Obsidian Entertainment does it again!

Knights of the Old Republic II: Missing the last 1/4 of the game.
Neverwinter Nights 2: A frustrating camera you had to fight with at all times, poor level design, bad AI and the game is missing its ending.
Alien the RPG: Canceled
Alpha Protocol: Buggy, poor camera, awful control's, broken AI.

A company is supposed to make better games as time goes on, not worse.

So who is looking forward to Fallout: New Vegas? After Alpha Protocol, I'm not.

Nuts I was hoping this one would be a spiritual successor to Deus Ex...alas it too has been hit with the Obsidian Curse.

Playing on the 360 version:
The only "Mike wanders off" I've experienced actually came from the thumb-stick on my controller sticking.

Enemy AI wasn't even /that/ bad. Pumping Stealth and getting the Evasion skill was actually a lifesaver at many points (As was getting Awareness in "always on" mode.) because often the enemy would spot me out of the corner of his eye with some vector I hadn't even considered.
It was pretty common (before I learned and purchased "Reduce enemy sight range" gear and leveled Stealth like Nobody's business) to see baddies go into full-blown alert mode because they saw me taking down their buddy from across the room.

The gunplay was... well... It was pretty shitty. For a spy, Mike seems ridiculously inaccurate until far, far too late in the game. Only one weapon class is anything resembling covert (the pistol), and while you could buy "Silent bullets" for the Assault Rifle, they're prohibitively expensive, which is a shame, because it's the only thing that gives you accuracy to a range beyond five meters in the early game. (This is bollocks, as apparently, Mike can't hit a slow-moving, man-sized target at thirty-five meters in the early game, despite all incarnations of him being listed as a decent marksmen.)
That said, Leveling the pistol eventually lead to his ability to shoot like somebody who actually knows the difference between the end of the gun you hold and the one that makes people dead. And it gave you the Chain Shot skill, which, next to Awareness, (Which, as alluded to, you can get in 'always on' mode anyway by leveling Stealth) is likely the best skill in the game, and certainly invaluable for boss fights (Hint! The critical hit timer doesn't decrease and you can put multiple bullets in one target. Do the math.)
I actually enjoyed the game quite throughly on the 360, and am genuinely disappointed to hear that the other versions weren't up to snuff.

sounds like another hit and miss. I will just stick with Mass effect 2.

Id pretty much agree. It could have been so much greater but it just failed to hit the mark

I got the 360 version and I haven't had any trouble with bugs or crashes, the only weird thing that's happened was when I began to climb down a ladder the same time a guard was climbing up and Mike suddenly began floating in midair.

I would agree with the retarded AI, and the stealth skill tree just breaks the game difficulty. With enough points you can turn invisible for 20 seconds and then one hit kill every guard in a room and none of them even think "hey our fellow guard was just stabbed in the neck by some invisible force, maybe we should do something?"

Don't even get me started on the gun targeting. You have to train it on a target for a few seconds before you'll even have a chance of hitting them and even then I ended up blowing a dozen bullets at one guy and not hitting him once.

But despite the frustrations I'm still enjoying it. The choices you make in the game feel like they have a real impact and can dramatically alter the story. Even a single dialogue choice that you have about 2 seconds to think over can make a huge difference. It's a great system that puts you under a lot of pressure, coupled with the genuine moral ambiguity of almost every single situation. There are parts that make me want to hate it, but others that I feel make up for it. So I'm kinda mixed about what I think of it. Great review by the way susan, but because of the negative reviews this has been getting you can bet it'll damage the sales for Fallout new vegas.

Well I'm still enjoying it (playing PC version), and apart from a wee bit of lag I haven't run into any of the major glitches you were on about, the minor ones were sorted by turning off the motion blur.

Maybe PS3 version is just a bad port.

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