Review: Alpha Protocol

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Looks like I might get this one, in a year or two when the price drop. And maybe they've patched it by then :)

pneuma08:
Sigh. Still continuing with the love/hate relationship with Obsidian. They always come so close to making a stellar game...hopefully one of these days they can pull it together and overcome their faults, whatever they are (I'm guessing poor management and overbearing publishers).

Still looking forward to New Vegas though. If they screw that up (which would essentially be taking Fallout 3 and ruining it - it would have to be a spectacular failure), that'll be the end.

qwagor:
That is precisely what I hate about most game reviewers. Stop trying to be so bloody objective! Reading between the lines of this review I figured that Susan quite liked the thing but was worried that Joe G Public cannot enjoy what is actually a good game because it's not polished enough.

There's a difference between lack of polish and brokenness, though.

I think people blaming the publishers for Obsidians increasingly poor track record is a little played out by now. Other studios manage to consistently deliver engaging and fun games under publisher pressure, I don't see why Obsidian should get a pass, 3 or 4 times in a row on this score.

To me, the problems with this game seem to be all project management/design. For instance, the game has this great customization and upgrade system that is very engaging, but when you get into the field and encounter the enemy, their AI is so bad you could defeat them all with a can of silly string and a salami that has been sitting in the back of your fridge for 3 weeks. That's just terrible - it's like someone dreamed up this great system, focused a ton of effort on getting it implemented, then never bothered to actually see if it enhanced the gameplay (or even brought any actual value to the game experience).

Crashes aside, if the AI in this game wasn't so poorly implemented (even if it cost them say, half of the customization elements) the game would instantly become so much better.

Also, I think Susan should have mentioned how unbalanced the RPG elements of the character building are in this game. She might not have noticed because it doesn't seem that these type of games are her bag, but several of the skills (most notoriously in the stealth branch) are obscenely over powered to the point of making a very easy game ridiculously trivial.

I rather enjoyed this so far, however one thing I will say. You can "Gears" every level, there is no need for stealth or subtlety at all. Go in in Swat armour with the assault rifle and you literally cannot loose at all.

Which in some ways is a bit annoying. I look on it as if Mass Effect and Splinter Cell had a baby unfortunately they didn't know they shared a surname!

Get the pc version. Visual glitches are still there, but the controls work great, the hacking mini game is anoying, since you need to contol the other thing with your mouse, the speech choices worked better in mass effect but, good game, needs an overworld.

I'm renting it atm, and I'm really enjoying it. It feels like Mass Effect, but in my opinion, better. The dialogue is smoother with the spontaneous options.

I'd reccomend it but hey, not everyone like it.

(mines the PS3 version and I have found no bugs except for the odd graphics one)

OK I dont understand why many people hate Alpha Protocol. I have almost finished the game and I DIDENT FIND ANY BUGS ON PC VERSION. I dident experience any game freeze, graphic glitches. Yes shooting is terrible but it is a stealth game. That mean you should sneak around and take down enemys quiet. AI is very stupid. And about jumping it is a RPG for gods sake it isent a shooter.
And I dont care about consoles, because I dont know anyone how has one. Every one of may friends has a PC. And from what I just sow I can say PC is still the best.
In the end the game is far from perfect but it isent that bad and AI, jumping, shootings arent bugs.

But even the AI isn't that stupid on the PC.
I mean don't get me wrong, it's bad, but I don't recall enemies not shooting me when I was above them.
Also the visual glitches are minor (like some textures overlapping on you character).
It does however stutter when it loads a new part of the level, which I found to be quite annoying.
Overall I enjoyed the game, but it could have been a lot better.

stardroid:
Yes shooting is terrible but it is a stealth game. That mean you should sneak around and take down enemys quiet.

No, it's not a stealth game.
Technically it's supposed to allow you to play any way you want.
You can go stealth or you can go all out Rambo and shoot everything on sight.
Personally I played both ways and it worked fine. Again it could have been better, but it's functional any way you choose.

cavalerie:
But even the AI isn't that stupid on the PC.
I mean don't get me wrong, it's bad, but I don't recall enemies not shooting me when I was above them.
Also the visual glitches are minor (like some textures overlapping on you character).
It does however stutter when it loads a new part of the level, which I found to be quite annoying.
Overall I enjoyed the game, but it could have been a lot better.

stardroid:
Yes shooting is terrible but it is a stealth game. That mean you should sneak around and take down enemys quiet.

No, it's not a stealth game.
Technically it's supposed to allow you to play any way you want.
You can go stealth or you can go all out Rambo and shoot everything on sight.
Personally I played both ways and it worked fine. Again it could have been better, but it's functional any way you choose.

Oh, hey, I have a question. Did you encounter a *lot* of loading? There seemed to be a rather excessive amount in the PS3 version, but perhaps that's just me being cranky.

cavalerie:
You can go stealth or you can go all out Rambo and shoot everything on sight.

Provided you've developed and equipped your character accordingly, otherwise it gets a bit tricky... you know, like it should be in RPGs. :)

edit to add:

It does however stutter when it loads a new part of the level, which I found to be quite annoying.

There's a small fix for that involving tweaking the config file but it doesn't always work nor does it always completely eliminate the stutter when it does.

I have the PS3 version, and I've definitely never encountered any of the controller issues you've mentioned. Maybe it's to do with which country's version you're playing? I'm in the UK, so I have the PAL version.

Also, I love this game, despite it's faults. The visual glitches can be annoying, but visually, I'd say it's pretty good.

If I had one criticism for this game, is it seems like they added the Tech Specialist 'class' as an afterthought. I've never found any use for gadgets, other than using EMPs for hacking computers quickly. And you only need the first ability in the gadget line to do that. Then again, maybe I'm doing it wrong. I thought Rogues in Dragon Age were useless until I found out some 'proper' builds for them, revealing them to be my favourite class in the game.

i noticed no control issues on the pc but yeah the occasionally laggy bits sucked.. (especially the blackmarket.. for some reason it constantly lagged up everytime i tried to buy a medikit which made me.. not buy em..

but it is/was an interesting game though speaking of bugs.. raildroading cutscenes are always interesting if you've spent your time kicking some boss in the face.. only to have you shoot at him from across the room in the next cutscene...

Susan Arendt:

Oh, hey, I have a question. Did you encounter a *lot* of loading? There seemed to be a rather excessive amount in the PS3 version, but perhaps that's just me being cranky.

Not a lot, more than other games on PC but not that many.
It usually loads (and stutters) when there's a branching path in the level, or when you reach an area that closes up to you after you cross it (like elevator doors, or big gates, etc).
Can you do an install on the PS3? If so, you should. That should make the game load faster.

RhomCo:

Provided you've developed and equipped your character accordingly, otherwise it gets a bit tricky... you know, like it should be in RPGs. :)

Obviously but you can however get high boost from equipment.
The right combination of equipment can compensate for lack of skill.
The game is tricky only the first time you play it. The second time (if you remember all the missions) it gets a LOT easier.

cavalerie:

Susan Arendt:

Oh, hey, I have a question. Did you encounter a *lot* of loading? There seemed to be a rather excessive amount in the PS3 version, but perhaps that's just me being cranky.

Not a lot, more than other games on PC but not that many.
It usually loads (and stutters) when there's a branching path in the level, or when you reach an area that closes up to you after you cross it (like elevator doors, or big gates, etc).
Can you do an install on the PS3? If so, you should. That should make the game load faster.

Oh, it installs straightaway when you first pop it in. And the load time aren't overly long, they just seem more frequent than perhaps they should. It's just very jarring when you're racing down the hallway and suddenly you're frozen in time for a few seconds. Certainly not a deal breaker, but vexing.

First and foremost, I loved the story. It was brilliant and obviously follows Bioware's style (With slight in-game revisions).

However,
I would comment the game suffered greatly from something I like to call "Stealthitis". On bosses, on the final level and against mechanical opponents you should expect to see all those points you invested into stealth go to waste (Although there is one "invisibility" skill that by-passes that but that's only good for buying time/getting rid of goons).

A lot of characters are impressed if you managed to stealth by things without reaping too much havoc in the levels, however.

Gather:
On bosses, on the final level and against mechanical opponents you should expect to see all those points you invested into stealth go to waste (Although there is one "invisibility" skill that by-passes that but that's only good for buying time/getting rid of goons).

So, no, I disagree that stealth is a waste.

I've never liked to the looks to this games and this review only confirms my dislike. I hope their terrible advertisments go away now.

This game is worth a rent if you are suffering from mass effect 2 withdrawal symptoms. To me, this game was a weak version of mass effect 2 however, I have got to say the timed dialogue system is pretty clever. Other than that, there is nothing in this game that no other game has already done better.

Mike Thorton can open doors but not close them?!

I think people are too harsh on this game. I've been playing it since last week and have been enjoying it quite a bit! Yeah it's rough round the edges and there were certain times when I was left thinking "how the hell did they not see that?" and also "how the hell did they see that?". But all in all it's been a good ride. The gunplay is weird, the way I've found of making it work is to only use focused shots with the pistol (my characters weapon of choice) and short bursts with the assault rifle. Even if things have gone horribly wrong then a combination of those two guns has always got me through, even at long range.

I don't get it, for me it hasn't been anywhere near as bad as people have made out. As for crashes, well it's crashed less than RDR has - RDR has crashed on me twice and Alpha Protocol hasn't crashed at all. Go figure!

Well having been about 75% all the way through my second play through of the game I have to say I gotta disagree with the review. Granted it was the PS3 copy and I'm playing the Xbox copy which the AI isn't as stupid as advertised though it does have a hard time tracking me down at times. Though there were a few points I wanted to add to the review that I think are a tad misleading. Particularly the whole not being able to jump back over certain walls.

The point that the video review shows in the game is just after an extremely short and straight forward section with little to no importance and has three potential enemies/allies depending on the way you played the game up to that point. That was the only area that I noticed the not being able to jump back, though there doesn't seem to be a reason to do so, though there are plenty of flaws that could have been put in it's place beside that. IE. the liniarity of the game. The game is very liniar when it comes to the missions. Sure you have a few hubs and a couple missions to choose between them though the maps themselves do offer a limited way of variation in certian regard, but for the most part they are very straight forward affairs.

To say there aren't glitches is an understatement too. Though in the Xbox version I didn't notice the whole freezing up and going in it's own direction. There was also a moment where I was in Brayko's mansion and the floor didn't load at one point and I fell right through, but one reload later and I'm right there again floor loaded without a problem.

While I'm on this tyraid of bad about the game before I get to the good I'll add this sentiment. Martial arts skill is semi-useless. For the most part all the bosses will destroy you in hand to hand combat. Even with maxed level in martial arts the bosses destroyed me, but on the second play through I focused pistol and well let's just say using the pistol special ability I ended a boss that took me fifteen minutes to beat the first time through (with no gun specialization) in under ten seconds (With pistol specialization).

With all those complaints and problems which probably aren't even all of them I still like this game. The story is fun and interesting, the character interaction does have nuance because making them love you or hating you both has it's own benefits, and I was having fun stealthing around trying to sneak through missions undetected. To top it all off this is a new IP and even Mass Effect (another game I quite enjoy) had it's own share of problems coming out the gate IE. graphical glitches and the like. Do the graphics look dated? yes, but if you can look past the blemishes it really is a very fun and interesting experience. A tad shorter then I would like, but in my humble opinion it's still worth a purchase.

Alpha Protocol is buggy as hell and it's disappointing because it could have been epic. With all that said the story is and characters are so well done. I'm still very glad i bought this game. I'm very hopeful they make a squeal to this and fix there mistakes.

Maybe it's me but I never noticed any control issues on the 360. Mikey Thorton didn't go running off on me, he normally did what I told him to do.

My only two beefs with the game is the fact that it just doesn't seem viable to use the shotgun or SMGs on the higher difficulty as the enemies are accurate as hell and do more dmg with each shot and the other issue is that Michael Thorton cannot engage in hand-to-hand combat in the later levels unless you did some decent leveling in his melee skill, even the low level goons could take him.

All in all, I found it a fun game, worth the $60 bucks I spent.

PC version doesn't have the graphical glitches or the control issues of the consoles (I played with an Xbox controller on my PC) but the AI leaves a lot to be desired-- even on the hardest setting, I beat the entire game in less than 20 hours. For an espionage thriller that supposedly spans the globe, Alpha Protocol lacks little in ambition, but much in delivery. It's worth a peek and maybe a rental.

Read: the dialogue options and multiple endings are a great idea-- unfortunately no matter what you do, the ending is basically the same (unless you played an ass and killed virtually everyone). Nice try, SEGA. But try harder.

why is it that im one of the only people who enjoyed this game, there are bugs but there not gamebreaking

So has a patch come out for this game yet because I still want to give it a try despite all the negative press.

I just bought the Steam version on the sale, and I don't know if they've patched the bugs out...but this is one of the most fun games I've played in a LONG time.

Seriously, it's great. Fun, varied gameplay, varied objectives, interesting levels, decent storyline, massive re-playability...I can't get enough, went through 8 hours on my first day!

Without a doubt one of the best games I've played in the last five years, and the first game I've ever finished more than once (Currently on my third playthrough, first as operative (Starting XP in stealth and pistols), second as recruit (No starting XP), and now as a veteran (A LOT of starting XP)).

This is a game that many reviewers will mention a few years down the line as one of the most important games of this gen. Sure, it gets some stuff wrong, especially when compared to other shooters, but the stuff it gets right more than makes up for it. Funny thing is, most of the stuff it gets wrong as a shooter, actually make sense for an RPG. If you're not experienced with a certain weapon, it makes sense that you will have to steady your aim a little longer to hit your target.

I'm playing through Mass Effect 2 right now, and in addition to encountering WAY more bugs and stalls than I've encountered in my hours and hours with Alpha Protocol, I constantly find myself thinking "Why isn't this more like Alpha Protocol?".

Awesome game, shame we won't get a sequel.

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