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Default Alpha Protocol - Retrospective @ Eurogamer

January 8th, 2014, 15:47
Eurogamer has a retrospective for Obsidian's Spy RPG Alpha Protocol.


It's understandable that nobody's picked up the baton here, unfortunately Alpha Protocol failed as a game, and people don't generally draw inspiration from failures. More over, even if the ideas are taken up, they're a ton of work for an experience that people aren't currently crying out for - if only because we're all used to game responses being limited to binary morality checks, and optional love interests.

But screw that. That way lies stagnation, boredom, and madness. Any RPG or adventure designer without a copy of Alpha Protocol and a notepad with its name surrounded by little hearts is an RPG or adventure designer not doing their homework properly. Like Vampire: The Masquerade: Colon: Bloodlines, Alpha Protocol is nothing short of a treasure trove of ideas and unspoiled systems just waiting to be cracked open and presented as new innovation.

Whatever game finally picks up the baton won't, and shouldn't just copy Alpha Protocol. It makes far too many mistakes, many of them obvious, and anyone repeating them would deserve all the face-slaps in the world. Luckily, the good bits and the bad aren't intertwined, and the fact that Alpha Protocol didn't live up to its potential doesn't mean other games couldn't on their own terms. Even if one only pulled off its tricks half as well as it did, though, it'd still have twice the reactivity that any other RPG is likely to offer in the next couple of years. I'd like to think that counts for something.
Thank you Thrasher for the link.

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January 8th, 2014, 15:47
Man I could go for an Alpha Protocol 2 about now. Or at least, something in that same vein.
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January 8th, 2014, 15:50
Nah, game really was quite crappy and confused - sorry.
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January 8th, 2014, 15:59
Agree, Alpha Protocol is a typical Obsidian offering. Lots of good stuff with some batshit crazy decisions marring an otherwise decent game. The only time Obsidian actually delivered a game without some really awkward design choices was with Fallout New Vegas. Of course, they ended up with the Bethesda bugs instead

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January 8th, 2014, 16:03
AP was a great game. The game system could have used some polish, though.
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January 8th, 2014, 16:08
Can never really understand the hate for AP - both myself and my wife loved it to bits. Some of the boss fights (the russian guy on the dancefloor) were a bit curse-inducing but the same can be said of those in Deus Ex HR. The RPG content was top-notch, with decisions affecting gameplay, and viable stealth or action play styles. The plot was better than your average Bond movie, so what's not to like?
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January 8th, 2014, 16:13
Writing was horrid, especially their take on humor. Setting up a semi-realistic game with RPG mechanics for headshots - and then having a young drugged up rockstar boss that's immune to headshots is unforgivably stupid. The animations were awkward, the gameplay a confused and clunky hybrid of RPG and shooter - neither of which worked well enough. The levels were linear in the wrong places and lacked backtracking that would have been satisfying, and I could go on.

To each his own, but I think this game has been anti-backlashed quite sufficiently already.

Sure, it's sort of quirky fun if you can get past how confused and clunky it is - but to dismiss valid points because you're fond of it is a bit silly.

I don't hate it at all - I just don't think it's very good.
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January 8th, 2014, 16:16
Never bought AP. The reason? Some said it uses saving checkpoints. Hell I'm on PC, not on a console.
Sadly I did buy some games with such stuff because noone stated you can't save whenever you want. I mean if it's so great design, why are publishers hiding it from the list of game features?
Some of those no-save-anywhere games turned out to be not bad, but were they awsome? No. Not a single one.

So Irien, it's not hate for AP. It's just a refusal to buy something you generally can't stand. You mention DX:HR - and in that game you can save anywhere.

Lemme wrap it up. If modders make save anywhere mod, I'm buying the game.

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January 8th, 2014, 16:24
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Writing was horrid, especially their take on humor. Setting up a semi-realistic game with RPG mechanics for headshots - and then having a young drugged up rockstar boss that's immune to headshots is unforgivably stupid. The animations were awkward, the gameplay a confused and clunky hybrid of RPG and shooter - neither of which worked well enough. The levels were linear in the wrong places and lacked backtracking that would have been satisfying, and I could go on.

To each his own, but I think this game has been anti-backlashed quite sufficiently already.

Sure, it's sort of quirky fun if you can get past how confused and clunky it is - but to dismiss valid points because you're fond of it is a bit silly.

I don't hate it at all - I just don't think it's very good.
That

And I agree with the author: I also could not play DE:HR without thinking of Alpha Protocol!
Last edited by zahratustra; January 8th, 2014 at 16:48.
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January 8th, 2014, 18:04
One of my top five games ever. Love it.
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January 8th, 2014, 18:59
I loved it (& wish GOG would get ahold of it). But at the same time it definitely was very confused and clunky.

Like the nut said it's typical Obsidian but this time to even more extremes. What they did right was so far ahead of any other game (choices & consequences) but what thay did wrong was such a clusterf**k it overshadowed it for most people. I think if they'd had another 6 months to work on it it would've been amazing. Oh well.
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January 8th, 2014, 19:57
Exactly Majnun! After I have finished it I thought - what a great game it could have been!
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January 8th, 2014, 20:51
Obsidian typically jumps to new stuff rather than fixing what's broken. They're always chasing new money rather than polish. Not a lot of pride from the group. It's the scariest part of backing those guys for Project Eternity. I thought the marriage of Obsidian with Bethesda was great because the modders were able to clean up most of the crap that Obsidian left behind in Fallout New Vegas. The parts they couldn't clean up was the leftover bugs from Bethesda/Gamebryo.

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January 8th, 2014, 23:04
Hmm, I'm liking it but it's far from perfect, as I said in the now playing thread. Liking the challenges of pure stealth non-lethal takedown / tranquilizer gun where possible.

Here is a new bug for me. I reload after setting off an alarm, and 3 enemies disappear. Reload for insta-win!

Also, why does chainshot stop headshotting after a certain distance? It would be nice if the game gave you a visual indicator when it knows you're going to miss. :/ Lots of trial and error gameplay for me.
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January 8th, 2014, 23:17
AP was a very enjoyable game. Clearly it has its detractors and haters, but then again many games have that even the great games.

"Writing was horrid, especially their take on humor."

I disagree. The writing was good, although not great, and the sense of humor worked for me. I similarly disagree with each of your other points, all valid, but to each their own.

The bottom line is that AP was apparently unsuccessful in terms of sales, and that's unfortunately really what counts unless a game becomes a cult classic like PST (something AP does not come close to approaching).
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January 8th, 2014, 23:24
BTW, I would rather have innovative gameplay, than a polished FPS bore. This game is not boring as the intrigue and characters are revealed.
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January 9th, 2014, 03:05
I enjoyed it … but it is also a reminder to me that Obsidian is NOT Troika … if you know what I mean.

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January 9th, 2014, 08:25
Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
AP was a very enjoyable game. Clearly it has its detractors and haters, but then again many games have that even the great games.

"Writing was horrid, especially their take on humor."

I disagree. The writing was good, although not great, and the sense of humor worked for me. I similarly disagree with each of your other points, all valid, but to each their own.

The bottom line is that AP was apparently unsuccessful in terms of sales, and that's unfortunately really what counts unless a game becomes a cult classic like PST (something AP does not come close to approaching).
Fair enough, we all like different things.

As for what counts, I'm not sure I agree.

I'm very, very fond of several games that never sold well - the most prominent example probably being the first System Shock.

That's all that matters to me.

Personally, I don't think AP deserved to be a success, and unlike System Shock - I don't consider it ahead of its time by a long shot. But with a bit more focus and dedicated developers, I think it might have done well.

But let's not forget that the developers themselves have admitted that the process was a bit of a mess.
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January 9th, 2014, 09:10
I loved the setting and the atmosphere of AP.
Really enjoyed the game.

But clunky, so very clunky.
I had some real issues with the camera etc.
A similar game with better mechanics and coherent playstyle and Im on the bandwagon.

(concerning coherent, it was just plain stupid to have a game in a "realistic" setting and then have the russian boss)

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January 9th, 2014, 09:23
Granted I went into AP with very low expectations but, I rather enjoyed it. When I was younger I played tons of Goldeneye 007. AP felt like 007 with a new story (which I rather enjoyed for the most part) and C&C. I absolutely hated the minigames though, felt like the hacking stuff was designed with controller use in mind.
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