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Default Alpha Protocol - Preview @ NowGamer

August 2nd, 2009, 23:27
Alpha Protocol has been previewed at NowGamer, covering familiar material:
This means that Alpha Protocol can be completed endlessly, in theory, as you experiment with what’ll happen if a key person is turned against Thorton, or what would happen if you decided not to execute someone at an important juncture in the story. This structure might play with your head a little bit. Games always tend to boil decisions down to good or bad – you’ll say to yourself, ‘I’m going to beat Fallout 3 and be bad this time’, or, ‘This time in Mass Effect, why don’t I punch that reporter in the face?’ In Alpha Protocol, sure, you’ll be able to take on the role of the good or bad guy, but making tense decisions on the spot – ones that, maybe, you’ve never experienced before in a game – may not push you down such a distinctive route.
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August 2nd, 2009, 23:27
That's a pretty strong review. I have no idea, however, if this site is prone to over-hyping.
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August 3rd, 2009, 02:36
It sounds like each conversation option leads to a totally different place to all the others, and it's not just a matter of what order you say each line - it actually sounds more like a real conversation. A conversation that has totally different outcomes depending on your approach.

I think this game is going to feel really fresh and original. It's a completely new kind of setting for RPGs. It also sounds like the game is pretty tight, 25 - 30 hours of gameplay per playthrough with no filler, and very high replay value.

It should be interesting to compare this to DA:O, which feature a familiar setting, a familiar conversation system, familiar gameplay, and is epic. The two games seem like opposites, which is great since they come out at the same time.
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August 3rd, 2009, 04:18
Originally Posted by Santos View Post
That's a pretty strong review. I have no idea, however, if this site is prone to over-hyping.
It is always hard gauging previews, as most sites don't want to publish negative previews … it pretty much is like poison to a publisher.

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August 3rd, 2009, 07:37
Well you have to learn to read previews, I think. One thing they sometimes do, is rather than say that X is bad, they will say that they expect X to be improved before release - this is a positive way of saying it. It implies that X leaves a bit to be desired though. Also, I try to ignore it when they say how they can't wait for the game, and try to draw out the facts. In this case, I mostly took from it that the converstions aren't like the traditional trees, and that your choices in conversation will effect things in missions, and that there are lot of different ways things can turn out depending on your approach to conversations. They also mentioned that the game distinguishes clearly between lethal and non-lethal takedowns, so you can try for a no-kill playthrough like in Dues Ex (although you had to exploit DX to avoid killing one particular NPC).

Not totally sold on the stance system, I like the idea of it, but I'd prefer if the conversation options told you a bit more about what Thornton will say if you choose them. Also, I'm concerned that it will just be a matter of figuring out which stance each NPC reacts well to, and then just using that stance repeatedly with them.
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August 3rd, 2009, 09:14
Sadly, I've learned that previews are essentially information neutral.

Sometimes they're absolutely right and contain key information, but the rule is that they're not to be trusted. Not only are previews, by nature, a first impression - they're also part of a now very large business with many strong interests to be taken care of.

Most AAA titles live or die by their hype and first impressions, so naturally the first hours of gameplay will be the strongest. Bethesda is a very good example, because their games tend to make a very strong first impression - even on seasoned gamers. Previews in this case will be nearly 100% positive - and this is without the corruption factor.

In effect, I simply don't use previews for anything except a hollow passtime. Sometimes they contain interesting factual information, but even that is something to be sceptical of.
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August 3rd, 2009, 09:15
Originally Posted by Badesumofu View Post
Not totally sold on the stance system, I like the idea of it, but I'd prefer if the conversation options told you a bit more about what Thornton will say if you choose them. Also, I'm concerned that it will just be a matter of figuring out which stance each NPC reacts well to, and then just using that stance repeatedly with them.
Yup, it's all in the implementation. It would be a bit of a letdown if it was as simple as that — and way cooler if the "best" way to play was to modify your stance depending on how the conversation flows.

Edit: Goodness, that *was* a positive preview. Interest level +1, to "stoked."
Last edited by Prime Junta; August 3rd, 2009 at 09:53.
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August 3rd, 2009, 13:15
Originally Posted by Badesumofu View Post
Well you have to learn to read previews, I think.
I didn't expand enough on my thoughts … I have written many previews for several different sites, and seeing what the requirements were upfront and the editorial tweaking that happened, it is difficult to glean the true intent of the person writing too often. Sure there are little hints, but often they mean what they say - they might have had a discussion with the devs who said 'yeah, we know element X is weak in the build you played, we've already improved it by Y and will have Z done before release.'

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