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June 21st, 2008, 07:15
Oh my.
The team has still made some potentially controversial choices, however, such as offering unlimited ammo (except in the case of very special weapons), and an inability to pick up guns from enemies. Obsidian is explicit that it really wants players to get to the end – or ends – of their game, but there’s a danger that this streamlining of resource management, coupled with Alpha Protocol’s brand of simplified stealth, may result in a game that has removed too much of the challenge for some of its audience. Alongside the ditching of classes and the – increasingly clichéd – morality meter, some may argue that Obsidian is dismantling scary amounts of its own beloved RPG architecture.
It's not a great sign when even Next Gen is questioning how much you've simplified things.

Avellone remains confident his team is on the right track, though. “The concern we have is that if we specialize too much we’ll dilute the experience. We could make a super-intensive stealth game, but we wanted to immerse the player in the story rather than get involved in the super nitty-gritty.”
That's an awful lot of the "i" word to justify not fleshing out the gameplay systems. Not especially reassuring.

Some will say that with a move towards shooting and a dialogue system similar to Mass Effect, Obsidian is still following in the footsteps of BioWare, but that would be unfair. Alpha Protocol seems less self-consciously grandiose and po-faced in its ambitions, and potentially more competent with its action: without the stilted, dice-roll firefights of the former title, combat is already feeling more complex and involving.
No Mass-Effect-level of combat complexity here. I'm trying to stay optimistic, but I'm not sure how this is much of an RPG at all at this point. It seems like a System Shock 2/Deus Ex level of RPG, but less complex (with unlimited ammo, exaggerated reality). I'm waiting for preview that dispels that notion. With bated breath.
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