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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Alpha Protocol - Review Mini Roundup

Default Alpha Protocol - Review Mini Roundup

May 28th, 2010, 00:19
A couple of Alpha Protocol reviews have hit the net, although it's hard to tell the quality of the articles. Bit-tech systematically pulls the game apart, criticising almost everything you could imagine. While they do acknowledge some good ideas, they clearly don't like the overall presentation and basic gameplay. There are several references to "the opening portions", which did leave me wondering how much they played. The score is 5/10 and here's a snip:
Ostensibly an RPG at heart, Alpha Protocol also suffers a bit from the way it attempts to fuse this structure onto a shooter frame. It wants to be a new Deus Ex, but poor balancing and over-simplified mechanics mean it feels more like Invisible War at best.

The RPG-side of the game isnít all that well presented or interesting either Ė basically a case of dropping a point into weapon skills to get an accuracy boost or recoil adjustment. All out action characters will unlock a range of bullet-time abilities, while those who want to be a bit sneaky are lumbered with endless minigames and terrible pistols.
A site called Gladriel has a very short article, with a score of 7.5/10:
Still, there are some saving graces in this game: the role-playing and storyline are both excellent. We can level up our spy the way we want, just like in Mass Effect, or other good RPGs. Thereís a plethora of specializations and special skills to develop and itís really fun to use the latter on the missions. The story is top-notch, with well-drawn characters, exciting missions, double crossings, back stabbings, and many other surprises as well. So should we buy Alpha Protocol? Well, if you are itching for a good spy thriller with tons of customizations and a cool story, and if you can pass by its glaring design faults, then this game is clearly for you.
Gamespot has a score of 6/10 up, but the link to the review currently just circles back to the summary page. The review summary is up, though, and says "Alpha Protocol's astounding intricacies are tarnished by bugs, clumsy gameplay mechanics, and rough production values."
Finally, CVG reports one of their magazines called Gamemaster has a review in the latest edition. The score is 84%, though we can only read their summary:
The mag's awarded Sega's espionage RPG a very respectable 84% thanks to its, "dynamic shooting, insane levels of customisation and a thumping near-future dose of espionage and sinister conspiracy."
More information.
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May 28th, 2010, 00:20
Extremely varied results. Not sure what to think at this point, some say the story is excellent and the combat far superior to that of ME1, others say the writing is poor and the characters lack depth of any kind. I don't mind taste differing, that's quite natural, but they're describing the exact same elements so entirely different.

Oh well, I'll just have to buy it and make up my own mind about it.
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May 28th, 2010, 01:06
I can imagine gameplay is bad. But bad writing ? In Obsidian game ?!
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May 28th, 2010, 01:11
Gameplay is good and the writing is fantastic, I have no idea what these people are on about. Honest to god, I can't even begin to imagine how people could praise ME2 (which is a game I like quite a bit just to be clear) and FO3 and slam Alpha Protocol. It. Does. Not. Compute.

Maybe the game turns to crap after the first hub (which is what I've played so far) but the gameplay is dynamic and nice, the characters are great and the writing is spot-on (within the context of the spy-genre).
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May 28th, 2010, 01:25
No way I believe Obsidian has a bad story or characters, no way. I can forgive bugs, gameplay issues and lower quality graphics for an excellent story and character development which Obsidian always delivers.

The one thing that would make the game an extreme hit no matter what? An Editor, fans can fix almost anything. It's how games like Morrowwind, Oblivion and Fallout 3 manage to be so popular. I know Sega and Obsidian could use a MAJOR hit, right about now and that's all it would take.

Even if you guys are working on a patch as we speak, DROP IT, release the tools and sit back and count your money.

Good Luck

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May 28th, 2010, 04:32
Gamespot's number has vanished.
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May 28th, 2010, 05:48
Early buzz is inspiring me to ask a lot of questions from Obsidian….

Is this game gonna go down as Obsidian's Lionheart?

If Alpha Protocol turns out to be a dud, will it force Obsidian to go the way of Black Isle and Troika?

Is New Vegas going to redeem Obsidian because they're safely riding on the coattails of another developer?

Does Obsidian lack core talent in the gameplay 'feel'/mechanics dept?

Did Obsidian not learn from their inventory / camera control issues with Neverwinter Nights 2?

Do Bioware games just 'feel' better then Obsidian games because Bioware has more talented devs?

Does Obsidian's relationship with mega-publisher Sega help or hinder Obisidian's ability to 'polish' their games?

Is Obsidian's relationship with Sega similar to that of Creative Assembly?

Did Sega nerf quality control on Empire: Total War, and did Obsidian get similar treatment?

Is Sega a dubious publisher to work under? More than most?

Do Triple-A RPGs deserve to be dumbed down if developers like Obsidian can't deliver core solid gameplay mechanics on more ambitious pet projects?

-Gumbomasta
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May 28th, 2010, 06:48
Well, let's wait and see until more of us play the game. I expect a lot of mainstream sites will review it with the expectation that it will be a good action/shooter with RPG elements, and then mark it down because it doesn't play like Gears of War or something.

Should have my Steam download finished by the time I get home from work tonight, I'll post impressions in roughly 24 hours, if all goes well.
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May 28th, 2010, 09:37
Got the game yesterday but didn't have time to install it. Hopefully will have a chance to play it tonight. The mixed reviews worries me a bit, not that I'm afraid for my own game experience but Alpha Protocol is a nice breakaway from traditional RPG settings and I was hoping OE could pull it off and be rewarded for being innovative.
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May 28th, 2010, 09:57
I'll buy the game later after work (if the local shops have it). I hope I can play at least a bit on saturday and sunday.

I hope this will not be the first Obsidian game I'll regret buying because up until now I bought every game nearly on release day and was never disappointed. I would hate it if that were to change.
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May 28th, 2010, 11:22
That guy who did the bit-tech interview apparently has *another* review up on another site where he gives the game 2/5.

I don't think you'll be disappointed Roi Danton. Just be patient, play your character and it'll be fun.
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May 28th, 2010, 11:46
Gamespot's number has vanished.
Looks like another Gamespot scandal…… Sega bought adds all over the gamespot page!
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May 28th, 2010, 12:04
Saw on Obsidian forums that Canard PC gives the game 9/10.

Spanish meristation.com gives the game 80 and Hobby Consolas gives it 85.
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May 28th, 2010, 12:26
I can't even remember the last time a game varied this much from gamesite to gamesite. It might be because it's attracting a crowd that would normally stay away from RPGs, due to its setting and gameplay being closer to action games than RPGs.
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May 28th, 2010, 12:44
It seems the European sites and magazines are generally giving higher scores to the game.
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May 28th, 2010, 12:48
I will wait for you guy's opinions. Sounds like a typical Obsidian release, which for me means that I should wait for the patches. I want this game to succeed, but the gameplay videos were actually a turn-off. Well, we will see.
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May 28th, 2010, 14:15
Will be getting my copy next week. Local release is only next week, went with the local store cause they have the preorder weapons pack. Actually regretting not going with steam instead.
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May 28th, 2010, 14:45
Originally Posted by gumbomasta View Post
Is this game gonna go down as Obsidian's Lionheart?
You ment Reflexive's Lionheart.

I'm getting this game no matter what.
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May 28th, 2010, 17:36
Bought it from Gamersgate.co.uk. Digital delivery at only 25£ (Around 40$).

Played through the tutorial and I'm nearly done with the first hub - which amounts to between 5-7 hours of playtime, I'd estimate.

I think it's really good so far, and better than I thought it would be.

That said, it's flawed in some significant ways - which is really sad - because it COULD have been a true masterpiece of the genre.

The writing is awful - but that's me, and I think some people will like it. But I think it's incredibly unoriginal and the attempt at humor is way off. Surprising, given it's Obsidian.

In fact, the game is really surprising in a lot of ways, and good ones too. I find it pretty smooth and polished for an Obsidian game. I was particularly puzzled by this, given the comments and reviews around the net. Sure, it has some oddities - but as far as I can see, this is THE most polished Obsidian game I've played.

It's technically OK - but I expected nothing special, so that's fine. It's typical Obsidian stuff here, with stiff animations and slightly awkward stuff in terms of overall "coolness" factor - something which Splinter Cell excels in.

However, the game mechanics are MUCH better than Mass Effect (both of them). Tons of neat powers that really matter during combat, and character development is really great. That's something I did NOT expect, and I was thinking it would be a Mass Effect dumbed down experience in this way, but it's not. Equipment customization makes sense and feels right, unlike Mass Effect where it's a mess.

Clearly, this is a demonstration of how Obsidian designers are far better in terms of game mechanics and the "gamey" stuff, but Bioware wins in terms of polish, visual aesthetics, and the cinematic flow.

That said, it's TOO gamey - actually. A few of the powers are simply not fitting with a realistic spyish atmosphere, and I think they went over the top here, and I'm sorry to say that I really don't like the conversation system. It makes even less sense than Mass Effect, given the limited time and completely non-sensical keywords. Half the time, I have NO idea what my character is going to say, and what's worse - I don't even think the tone or delivery matches what I'm picking during the talks. This is also an area where they went overboard with the gamey mechanics, because your dealings with NPCs and the results just don't make sense in terms of human interaction. But that's probably just me.

The best thing I can say is that it feels QUITE a bit like Deus Ex. It's sort of a mix between Deus Ex and Splinter Cell. It's somewhere between Deus Ex and Invisible War in terms of complexity and freedom to approach missions.

The levels are too linear for my tastes, but they're of a decent size, and they DO give you multiple ways to do certain things.

But I don't like how you're relatively restricted in terms of movement. They give you "hotspots" where you can jump and climb, but if they're not there - you can't do ANYTHING, not even jump. You can't climb over cover either, which is really annoying. After playing Assassin's Creed 2 - it feels pretty artificial and rigid.

Luckily, you can do some amazingly cool stuff with powers, like slow down and place multiple headshots (ala Red Dead) - and you have stuff to make you "invisible" for a few seconds right as a person is about to spot you. Gamey stuff, but great stuff. I've made some really cool moves, and that's very much in tone with the genre. I just wish the movement system was a lot more flexible.

Possibly THE worst aspect is the checkpoint system. AWFUL. HORRID. CRAP. Sorry, but it's 100% consolised - and even though they're not spaced that badly, you can't do anything to save your progress manually - even though it says so in the menus (and manual). It lets you save "at last checkpoint" - but absolutely nothing gets saved. That means if you level up or find some secret stuff and you'd like to save your progress…. you're screwed, because you can't. So you MUST get to the next checkpoint or waste a lot of cool moves and energy playing right.

In my opinion, that's inexcusably stupid, especially on the PC. This game is screaming for a quicksave feature mod. Sorry, Obsidian, but you f*cked up big time with that one.

Sounding bad? It's not, really. Overall the game is - as I said - very good and well worth the buy if you're into stealthy shooters.

I'm not ready to render final judgment, but given my tastes and love for mechanics and character development (which seems to inspire a lot of replayability - as well) - I would give this game 8/10 at the moment.
Last edited by DArtagnan; May 28th, 2010 at 18:12.
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May 28th, 2010, 17:41
I am very surprised you don't like the writing.

Perhaps its just the begging that is awkward ???
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