PDA

View Full Version : Eris reviews Alpha Protocol



Eris
02-02-2011, 09:40 AM
Alpha Protocol is a shooter game in the spy genre. It's story has obvious influences from various spy-franchises, including things like James Bond, 24, Alias, and so forth. Many game events feel like familiar scenes out of spy shows and films, for example the gunfight in the subway and the assault on the fancy European mansion.

I will not go into the details of the story of Alpha Protocol, as much of the joy in this game is exploring the story as it unfolds. I will say as much as it is unpredictable, and a significant element of the game is deciding who to trust. Your decisions have ramifications that are difficult to predict, which makes this the sort of game you play at least twice to get things straight on the second play-through.

The gameplay captures the feel of spy shows fairly well. Sneaking and ambushing is a significant portion, but when that fails, you can just as well switch to an assault rifle and go for a more direct approach.

It's hard to accurately convey the gameplay in words, but if you take Deus Ex, add a cover system, and mix some martial arts into the picture, you're fairly close.

Although, this takes a bit of getting used to. At first, I thought combat felt glitchy, but as I gained further experience, I realized that a lot of these perceived glitches was me not playing the game correctly, relying too much on stealth and not enough on bringing on the hurt. This is a bit of an issue with this game: It isn't particularly good at explaining how it wants to be played.

The cover system is occasionally a bit glitchy, but you learn to work around it. It's not a game breaking issue.

As for the AI, your enemies aren't the shaprest crayons in the box, but while smarter AI would have been nice, they're for the most part not so dumb you're annoyed by it.

The hacking, electronics and lockpicking minigames are quite well designed, and when played with a controller demand the same skill the actual task demands (e.g. hacking requires you to sift through numbers, lockpicking requires fine motor skills).

Alpha Protocol also sports a refreshing dialogue system where you get to choose from a number of ways to deal with the situation (e.g. professionally, like a sleazy douchebag, or with the fury of a thousand suns.) This works pretty well, and feels novel, if occasionally the options are somewhat vague and limited.

The game initially received bad reviews for crashes and glitches, but having played the latest patched version, I don't think I encountered a single crash.

Alpha Protocol featurs a number of colorful characters. They're not super-believable, but in the context of spy-shows, they wouldn't stick out in a Bond movie or an Alias episode, so it's acceptable. Over all, voice acting is okay. It's not tremendously good like what Bioware spoils us with, but it's acceptable. There are occasional performances that are better than others, but it ends at that.


Summary

It's a good game. It's not a fantastic game, but if you're a RPG fan and/or if you're into secret agent shows, then you will most likely enjoy it, given you take the time to get to know it.

The game is fairly short, but it lends itself well to at least a couple of replays to fix the mistakes you'll most likely make the first time.


Graphics: 3.5/5 - Looks good without being groundbreaking
Gameplay: 3/5 - Well executed, but the score is brought down by glitches.
Plot: 4/5 - I thoroughly enjoyed it
Characters and Voice Acting: 3.5/5 - Interesting, but not spectacular
Overall: 3.5/5 - When I think back of this game, I remember the fun I had more than I remember the glitches. It's actually a long time since I've found a game so enticing.

Eris
02-02-2011, 04:47 PM
I shall sprinkle some screenshots in the post in a day or so.