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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Alpha Protocol - Review Flood #1

Default Alpha Protocol - Review Flood #1

May 29th, 2010, 01:46
The Alpha Protocol review avalanche has hit and it's a ridiculously mixed bag. The scores and opinions are contradictory (even on the same issues), although "unpolished" is a common theme. I'm going to break out some bigger reviews and line list the rest. Note that most of these are console reviews.
Eurogamer has what reads as a balanced article, with a score of 7/10. They say they weren't impressed at two hours but really enjoyed the game at eight hours. Here's a snip:
As the cast list expands and the action abilities opened up by the levelling process become increasingly cartoony - two favourite unlocks are an evasion skill which allows you to go unnoticed for a few seconds even if you absolutely blow your cover, and a temporary shotgun boost that lets you knock down enemies as you hit them - Alpha Protocol starts to come to terms with itself as a slightly tongue-in-cheek enterprise. Helpfully, the script has plenty of classy moments, both in terms of the cut-scenes and the text, if you're willing to plough through the emails you'll constantly receive from both friends and enemies. Even the action, formed from pieces which are only really second-rate by themselves, eventually comes together into something that tugs you forward with surprising insistence.
And while it's a linear adventure at heart, the game takes its commitment to player choice fairly seriously. It offers plenty of moments where you have control over the big things - who lives, who dies, who becomes an ally and who becomes a boss battle - as well as the little things, like how your approach to a mission changes what your handler thinks of you.
VideoGamer says AP "plays like a sub-standard third-person shooter" but it's still "more enjoyable than it should be". Graphical issues, texture pop-in, frame-rate and other issues hit hard and the score is 6/10:
Despite borrowing the mechanic from BioWare, the dialogue system happens to be one of the game's strongest assets. Obsidian is well known for its talents in the dialogue department (KOTOR2 being a shining example) and Alpha Protocol has been treated with the same care and attention. How you decide to react to different situations determines what missions you're given and what characters you're likely to encounter. Supporting this branching narrative is an impressive 30+ endings, and the mid sections will differ dramatically from game to game, too. To see everything the game has on offer will take a serious investment of time. […]
Thorton's mission is orchestrated out of several safe houses acting as the hub for real world locations including Tai Pei, Rome and Moscow. As far as spy-pads go, these safe houses are pretty swanky, offering services to check email, change weapon load-outs and even watch the news. It's the kind of place you imagine James Bond chilling out with a Martini before a mission. This is one thing that Alpha Protocol does reasonably well: it makes you feel like an undercover agent. Whether you're flipping through enemy dossiers on your PDA, catching up on new emails or tinkering with your equipment you'll feel suitably like an employee of the secret services.
1Up says 'B+', which is a certainly a decent score. They describe the action as competent but are really taken with the dialogues and choices. The article uses a spoiler as an example (be warned), so here's a quote straight after a situation that impressed the writer:
I like this sort of thing. It's always left me a little bit dismayed that the modern definition of a role playing game has been "pretty much any other kind of game, except with a lot more numbers in it." Alpha Protocol has XP and skills to level up and whatnot, but the dialogue is what has me paying attention. I don't have a lot of patience for cut-scenes, but cut-scenes where at any second I may have to make a snap decision that will determine how a good chunk of the rest of the game plays out, as well as how other characters will relate to me? That's the textbook definition of roleplaying, which doesn't enter into games all that often, and almost never in a context that doesn't involve elves.
Going to to the other end of the scale, Destructoid hated everything and the score is a brutal 2/10:
[quote]
The game is supposedly able to be played one of three ways — using stealth, using brute force, and using gadgets. Stealth is no good because the enemy AI is so unpredictable and spotty, not…More information.
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May 29th, 2010, 01:46
Gametrailers has a review up, too: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/re…rotocol/100743 They gave very high marks for story, very low marks for gameplay.

Watching the review at Gamespot pretty much kills this game for me. I was wanting to do some really good sneaking! Instead, you just push your inviso-button, crouch in that stupid way, and go anywhere you want. Sad.

I wonder if we will ever know what the story is behind the big delay? The real story, not the one approved by marketing.
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May 29th, 2010, 02:57
the dialogue system happens to be one of the game's strongest assets. Obsidian is well known for its talents in the dialogue department (KOTOR2 being a shining example) and Alpha Protocol has been treated with the same care and attention.
Well, that's good news at least.
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May 29th, 2010, 06:50
I don't have problems with sneaking and all abilities have a certain amount of active time and a longer cooldown. Sneaking without using abilities is hard so having the abilities to use is very useful.

The destructoid review is totally worthless and it sounds like they didn't even play the game at all so it is not even worth commenting on.

The other reviews seem like are mostly console reviews because many of the problems they have I don't even see. I don't have graphical or fps problems and the AI works well for me and the enemy does what it should.

I do have issues with the game though from taste issues to bugs but mostly they are minor. I hate timed dialog and I also hate that they use a checkpoint system. I'm not sure if this is a bug or not (I think it is) but when I take cover while sneaking and then come out of cover I am not sneaking and then enemies see me and it is over. The problem when the camera sometimes turns on it's own but it hasn't really bothered me yet like it has in a certain other game where the camera is pointing at yourself whenever you move to another area. Other then the above I haven't had any other problems so far and I mostly use sneaking and stealth take downs to subdue enemies either from range or up close.
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May 29th, 2010, 08:41
guenthar, when you exit cover, how do you do that? If I stand in cover while sneaking I can move out of it by moving back (er, opposite direction against the piece of cover, so the S key for the most part) and Mike will exit cover and stay stealthy.
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May 29th, 2010, 09:40
Either use ctrl to stop crouching or hold space to sprint.
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May 30th, 2010, 06:15
So far I really like this game and haven't encountered any bugs at all.

I really like the dialogue system. It, like the rest of the minigames are an attempt to give you as realistic a feeling as possible. Conversations require quick thinking and they don't always go the way you plan no matter your intentions.

It may not be RPG stat or inventory heavy, but definately not a dumbed down game at all. Feels like a greatly improved Deus Ex from what I remember.

Did have to turn up the mouse sensitivity immediately by quite a bit though. Default will get you killed.
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May 30th, 2010, 15:47
Yeah, I had to do that as well. Took it up to about 70%.
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May 30th, 2010, 16:04
Quick steps to getting your U.S. version now.

1. Buy at Gamersgate.
2. Download Mozilla Firefox
3. Get a non U.S. proxy server from http://www.anonymousinet.com/ or other places.
4. In Firefox, go to, Tools->Options->Advanced
5. Click Settings, Select Manual Proxy, Enter Proxy IP and Port Address, Check all protocols.
6. Test Firefox by going to www.google.com
7. Go to Gamersgate, login, go to My Games
8. Serial Key should now be there.

Done
Last edited by tornnight; May 30th, 2010 at 18:32.
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May 30th, 2010, 16:44
Originally Posted by tornnight View Post
definately not a dumbed down game at all. Feels like a greatly improved Deus Ex from what I remember.
Interesting.
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May 30th, 2010, 21:54
I've been playing it whole weekend and I find it pretty awesome.

The overall story isn't something amazing, but all the characters, dialogues, individual missions and script are superb. Plus you've got a ton of choices that DO matter and I'm already itching to replay it allying with different factions and uncovering other parts of the back-story.

The graphics are not bad at all, anyone expecting this to look like Mass Effect or Crysis would be disappointed but that's their problem. What's a bit strange is that though the game runs 60 fps most of the time there is the occasional stutter when it loads up new parts of the area/enemies, but I've gotten used to it already and it doesn't affect at all kicking asses. Still some better optimization for those months they took for polishing would have been good.

And about the action gameplay - I'm enjoying it way better than Mass Effect (1) so far - I've played missions in a stealthier way or guns blazing and had no problems with any of it. AI's not very smart but usually comes in plenty of numbers, but there are usually multiple level paths so anyone can approach it his way. Also conversations, gathering contacts and intel really do matter a lot in and out of the missions, as which missions you choose to take and in what order you do that (and how you choose to end them).

I'm really very happy with the game so far - fans of Deus Ex and Bloodlines will be glad with this one - it's a very good mix of some of their strong points.


p.s. oh yeah, and people complaining about the mini-games? that's probably one of the few games I'm actually enjoying all of those - the computer-hacking can be a bit hard sometimes but I also like it a lot because it keeps me on the edge, electroncs hacking is spot on and locks - well, at least not annoying unlike a dozen of other games

..chasing a trail of smoke and reason..
Last edited by sfury; May 30th, 2010 at 22:14.
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May 31st, 2010, 10:26
I'm nearly through the first mission hub, and I'm enjoying this quite a bit. There are some graphical issues and crappy animations, but the conversation system is excellent, plot, characters, gathering intel, contacts, all that stuff is great. Combat is okay, I like that I can sneak around and make non-lethal takedowns. Sometimes I mess up and it breaks out into a firefight, but I handle those with my Assault Rifle skill.
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May 31st, 2010, 13:04
Originally Posted by Badesumofu View Post
I'm nearly through the first mission hub, and I'm enjoying this quite a bit. There are some graphical issues and crappy animations, but the conversation system is excellent, plot, characters, gathering intel, contacts, all that stuff is great. Combat is okay, I like that I can sneak around and make non-lethal takedowns. Sometimes I mess up and it breaks out into a firefight, but I handle those with my Assault Rifle skill.
Same here.

I've also become quite proficient with the pistol for delivering tranquilizer shots, though those seem to be always limited to 30-40 in the game and shops. But combined with the Chained shot ability - you can get rid of multiple enemies in sight quite fast and non-lethaly.

On my next playthrough I'm going to try out the martial arts skills more, though I'm usually dealing with baddies quite good with one point on it only. Except for the bloody triads and the lots-of-guys-with-lots-of-guns situations…

..chasing a trail of smoke and reason..
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May 31st, 2010, 15:22
Have any of you with graphical issues tried turning off motion blur. I noticed motion blur doesn't work quite right in the game and disabled it.
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May 31st, 2010, 22:19
From the eurogamer review
If you accept Alpha Protocol as a project made by a plucky team working to a faintly cruel budget, it's surprisingly hard not to get behind it.
I know that reviewers aren't unbiased and often consider how the games they review are the livelihood of the people making them, but to come out and admit it and imply the gamers should consider it as well? Ridiculous.
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