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Default Alpha Protocol - Previews @ 1Up, Kotaku

June 11th, 2009, 12:15
A decent Alpha Protocol preview is up at 1Up, describing the scenario in Obsidian's E3 presentation. Here's a bit on the dialogue system:
When the actual mission starts, Thorton is immediately presented with a dialogue/decision point: the Russian Mafiya is under attack by another organization known as the VCI. The VCI representative, Sie, is best described as a "mercenary cougar", and she proposes a temporary alliance with Thorton. Throughout the whole dialogue system, I notice that the responses are timed, and they never repeat; you can't dilly-dally while talking and you can't just have the characters endlessly restate stuff over and over again. The conversation briskly moves forward, and depending on the choices you make, you gain and lose reputation with the individual character you're dealing with. So there doesn't seem to be a global "are you a good or bad dude" meter; it's more like how much does each significant character likes you. Rorie has Thorton make direct, aggressive, and no-nonsense statements, gains quite a bit of reputation with Sie as a result, and then agrees to a temporary truce.
Kotaku has a much shorter piece - here's a bit on player vs character skill with weapons:
I was most intrigued by the way the weapons operate. Since the game plays like a shooter, but is actually an RPG, Obsidian had to find the right mix to reflect both styles of play. What they ended up with was a system that used your skill ratings and the weapon type to impact the size of your targeting reticule. The more skilled you are with a weapon, the better the weapon is, the smaller the reticule is.
So when you're fire off shots with a gun you're not proficient with, your reticule is pretty big and the shots can go anywhere in that targeting circle, either hitting or missing your target depending on how much space they take up in the reticule. It's a great way to have skill levels impact a shooter without taking control away from the player.
The Obsidian site also has news of some E3 award nominations for AP.
More information.

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June 11th, 2009, 12:15
So when you're fire off shots with a gun you're not proficient with, your reticule is pretty big and the shots can go anywhere in that targeting circle, either hitting or missing your target depending on how much space they take up in the reticule. It's a great way to have skill levels impact a shooter without taking control away from the player.
Novel, too.

The more I hear about this game, the better I like it. I especially liked what they had to say about the dialog and reputation system — seems a significant step forward from the usual good/evil and endlessly-looping-tree system, while reinforcing the role-playing aspect of the game.

Starting to be seriously hyped-up by now.
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June 11th, 2009, 14:41
I can't believe the secret-agent-James-Bond-Jason-Bourne-theme has not been explored more in RPGs. Roleplaying a secret agent has loads of potential. I haven't seen anything in Alpha Protocol that makes me go "woah!" yet, but it's certainly on my "must buy" list.
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June 11th, 2009, 15:47
I used to play a secret agent themed PnP RPG called… what was it again… Top Secret? It was a long time ago. I quite liked it. There was a canned module that involved rescuing the POTUS from some Canadian terrorists holed up in a haunted house. I played a kick-ass Japanese secret agent whose only weakness was really crappy eyesight; he kept losing his glasses every time there was a scrap.
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June 11th, 2009, 20:36
Oh god, I remember Top Secret. The closest I ever got to LARPing was in the junior high days when my friend and I would act out fights using the martial arts rules from that game. You got like three actions per round, offensive or defensive. I think. Fun and nerdy.

I also remember Microprose's Covert Action. Also fun and nerdy.
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June 12th, 2009, 09:58
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I used to play a secret agent themed PnP RPG called… what was it again… Top Secret?
Yup. I remember being impressed with the fidelity of the firearms rules. Being a starting agent, it was really hard to hit anything with a handgun that was beyond 10ft. A thug and I exchanged several shots in an alley at close range before I finally nailed him.

Agree that a spy-themed CRPG is long overdue.
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June 12th, 2009, 10:19
Could this game end up being a modern day Deus-Ex? A lot to hope for, but it would be great if it even comes close.
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June 12th, 2009, 11:11
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
Yup. I remember being impressed with the fidelity of the firearms rules. Being a starting agent, it was really hard to hit anything with a handgun that was beyond 10ft. A thug and I exchanged several shots in an alley at close range before I finally nailed him.

Agree that a spy-themed CRPG is long overdue.
It really was so long ago that I don't remember much of the mechanics, other than that they were fast, fluid, and fun — the pacing was much better than AD&D. (Also, for once, I wasn't gamemastering, so I didn't even *know* the mechanics all that well.)
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