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May 31 2010, 9:42pm Anchor

Ok so I assume most people have read the reviews on this game, specifically the ones from IGN and Gamespot, well my opinion is that they are completely wrong about this game- how is this game any worse than Mass Effect 2? As a shooter its not incredible but it works, the stealth play is a bit exploitative at times, and the decryption mini-games suffer from MASSIVE problems on the PC version sure. But despite these flaws this is easily one of the most non-linear games you'll probably ever find, its a very BioWare esque game that combines some similarities between Deus Ex and Deus Ex Invisible War, and surprisingly it actually works...

pretty damn well! whilst sure there's a bit too much talking in the game, the story is fairly well written getting into the nitty gritty of the political struggles that occur in the countries you fight in, based on what you do will determine these nations futures and how characters react to you in the future, as a result every choice you make has a butterfly effect on the end-game, surprisingly this is actually better than Deus Ex's implementation of this system, where Deus Ex blatantly ignored your choices for the entire middle of the game (only giving you an important PICK ONE ending at the end- which wasn't relevant to your choices earlier in the game) and in some cases enforced linearity on you, Alpha Protocol avoids this completely, wanna work for the good guys, you can, want to work for the bad guys, you can, want to work for everyone in between.. You bet your ass you can!

In terms of bugs I've not found one crash yet, most of the issues are really minor (where as games like Fallout 3 constantly crashed at launched and got GOTY awards for it :P in other words fuck you Gamespot!) you can at least tell that Obsidian QAed the game but ran out of time to put the polish on. Unfortunately it appears Sega wasn't counter QAing on their end (which I've noticed they haven't done in the past 10 years.. those unethical bastards.. I only have to mention Storm Rise and you'll know exactly what I mean..)

I feel like Obsidian actually didn't do such a bad job at this game, but I mean I also liked KOTOR2- Granted it was disappointing that most of the content was dropped in the process.

What I'm not happy about is the gaming presses reactions to this game, everything that's been said about the game is a bit overly negative for a game that actually when compared to Deus Ex, Mass Effect 2 and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 really isn't that bad of a game, Deus Ex had similar issues (specifically referring to the strange walk and the AI behaviors) yet Deus Ex is considered one of the best games ever made despite its flaws. You can definitely see that the way they structured the story was based on the same model for Deus Ex- that same Non-linear Consequence system, but Alpha takes it to a much more extreme level.

To be honest when I compare this game to Mass Effect 2 its about on the same level-- granted Mass Effect 2 had a bit better gun mechanics- but the level of voice acting is about the same, the cinematic are also in the same style.

The Martial Arts in the game is quite awesome, its very button mashy and I highly recommend putting as much points into it as possible, like Deus Ex you are rewarded for non-lethal solutions.

Overall a great game with some flaws, if they patched the game it could be pretty awesome. Don't let the gaming press discourage you from experiencing what is basically an under-rated game- you will enjoy alpha protocol- there's a lot of enjoyment to be had from the game, heaps of re playability, some amazingly well written dialog and a very character driven experience.

Its probably best to play the game on console because the games controls on the PC are a bit strange, on the Xbox and PS3 they seem to be a lot better (especially with the hacking mini-game.. there's a few bugs with the PC version that have forced me to loose a few rounds- Investing in the skill however improves my chances of beating it but its very very clunky!)

I suspect Fans of Deus Ex, Mass Effect and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 will really like this game- but FYI don't play it like a shooter, guns probably aren't the most favorable solution in the game.. the gun gameplay is actually not its strong point.

Henley
Henley the sun never sets on the eternally cool
May 31 2010, 10:47pm Anchor

If you make your decisions based on what the games press tells you your making a huge mistake. Case in point, a large majority of press find Demon Souls to be difficult therefor not enjoyable which is false to myself and many other people I know. The other is darkest of days which by the standards of modern computer games is faulted the game was very enjoyable.

Alpha Protocol was indeed fun, but as far as games go that don't feel like they could have altered a few aspects to make the gameplay smoother or made more hairstyles other then short, short, tiny bit less short, and short with gell. If your going to pick it up for the shooting because of games like modern warfare or mass effect your going to find the experience to be short-lived, if your getting it for the experience of converse and story telling much to the likings of Deus Ex then you will enjoy it.

Just dont expect the game to wow you with combat.

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Cryrid
Cryrid 3D Artist
May 31 2010, 11:19pm Anchor

Never heard of it, saw a commercial for it on tv that was purely devoted to gamestop exclusive content rather than the game itself (and really the commercial made it sound like the game was all about the arsenal), thought it looked thoroughly unenjoyable and unpolished. Theres my experience with it.

Edited by: Cryrid

May 31 2010, 11:35pm Anchor

Agreed Henley thankyou for your comments ;) I feel like word of mouth is probably going to be the only way this game will survive. What'd be nice is if Obsidian would release some mod tools so we won't have to hack their game like what happened with Kotor2 (most of the improvements to the game via mods were all 3rd party as I'm to understand).

Someone wrote:(and really the commercial made it sound like the game was all about the arsenal)

But they do that.. EB/Gamespot seems to think people will just buy to get DLC so they hype up "We're the only place to get your GOLDEN AWESOME GUNS! *warning obsoletes after the first 10mins of play*". Nearly every game that's come out in the last few months has had that treatment. Let me just say, no its not about arsenal when you consider your bare hands are more powerful than any of the weapons in the game when fully leveled up. But as I've always said, DLC is a joke anyway- especially pre-order exclusive ones.

Edited by: formerlyknownasMrCP

frosty-theaussie
frosty-theaussie Sonny Jim
Jun 1 2010, 3:12am Anchor

has everyone read [url=http://www.msxbox-world.com/xbox360/news/article/12353/Alpha-Protocol-developer-not-proud.html]
the anonymous Obsidian dev's rant[/url]. revealing, and disappointing.

Edited by: frosty-theaussie

Jun 1 2010, 3:41am Anchor

I read this too and he's right about some of the mechanics just not working, but I feel he's being a bit over dramatic here.

if you play the game you'll see what I've been talking about. It really isn't "That" bad, but yes the shooter mechanics, the hacking system and some of the inventory UIs are a bit wtf. For the most part though the game is playable, its fun, its extremely well wrtitten. I think he may be right though about some of the systems in regards to the shooting.. it is terrible.. it doesn't work at all and there's no benefit for using it- yet the entire game's customization relies on the arsenal of your character... fortunately there is armor that you can buy, so if you go for Stealth or Martial Arts you're not completely left in the dark.. and to be honest the weapon customization isn't that amazing.

I do however agree that the Aliens RPG would probably have been better.

Edited by: formerlyknownasMrCP

SinKing
SinKing bumps me thread
Jun 1 2010, 4:11am Anchor

Yeah I watched a couple of previews and the game always looked interesting. In the review I finally watched, it got a beating for its bad AI and mechanics (also for some bugs like shooting through walls). However, the interview on GT.com didn't even mention the freedom you have in gameplay. It was presented as a fairly linear shooter with RPG elements that has a lot of flaws in its mechanics. The one comparison I heard the reviewer made fequently is that to Splinter Cell, not to Deus Ex.

That's not what Alpha Protocol is though - at least not all it is. The annoying thing to me is that there are reviews on a game like this, which fail to capture the difference to games that may appear similar, like SC. Not once did I think that Alpha Protocol would play anything like Deus Ex. The only thing mentioned briefly is that the story can take you down various alleys, but that can mean anything from different endings to character's behaviour changing towards you. I don't really like when the sites do such superficial reviews.

I can judge the graphics quality for myself and can decide if I want to look beyond flaws in the mechanics for the overall good of the game. I don't need a reviewer to tell me the obvious. But if a reviewer presents a game as just another Tom Clancy clone, I completely lose interest in it. Positive reviews can make you buy bad games, negative reviews can deceive you about a  game's true quality. I'm sorry for the developers. Essentially, the message of those reviews is: "We don't want any new ideas - we don't understand them and won't comment on them, positively."

Edited by: SinKing

Jun 1 2010, 10:08am Anchor

Yeah, the bad AI bugs aren't really that big of an issue, well at least not on Normal Mode, and I actually discovered that the shooting mechanics are MUCH MUCH better when you have a scope attached- press F and the camera turns to an almost first person mode allowing you to get a better shot, simply move towards the target and in a Deus Ex like fasion wait for the targeting reticle to turn Red and shrink the BOOM headshot! (even better with a silencer on- only possible on a pistol I think). Basically Pistol = good for stealth, Rifle = good for long range, Shotgun = good for elites, SMG = for AoE == Many enemies in a tight bunch.

I would kinda compare the game to Splinter Cell.. but not much- Splinter Cell focuses heavily on Stealth, whilst Alpha actually punnishes
you for trying to improve your stealth (its the hardest ability to level up.. but the easiest to exploit since its basically one big "I Win" button)

I don't get how anyone could mistake this game as linear- there's so many options to change the story, and its those cutscenes that make it very Deus Ex like, but for the rest of the game it plays out just like Mass Effect 2 or to some extent Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (which also shares similarities with the gunplay in ME2 in terms of its Third Person option).

I've also discovered that the reason why I've had so much trouble with the mini-games is because I've had my Sensitivity up too high, so using my G9 Mouse I turn it down during those mini-games, now I've had no problems.. every mini-game is actually pretty sinch really.

Cryrid
Cryrid 3D Artist
Jun 1 2010, 10:50am Anchor
Quote:Splinter Cell focuses heavily on Stealth, whilst Alpha actually punnishes
you for trying to improve your stealth (its the hardest ability to level up..

Stealth would probably be easier if his sneak animation wasn't so comically awful:

I don't know, watching more gameplay footage it seems less and less like the games you've been comparing it to, and more meh/something I wouldn't even want to rent.

Edited by: Cryrid

Arxae
Arxae Resident Stepmania Freak :D
Jun 1 2010, 12:15pm Anchor

wo, if you do some action 50 times you get an achievement..since when did achievements turn back to "special" features?
(don't want to start a achievement debate here, just think its stupid to point it out as a special feature)

--

°w°

AJ_Quick
AJ_Quick Arty type thing
Jun 1 2010, 12:47pm Anchor

I wouldn't compare it to Deus Ex.  It's not even in the same league.    

The horrendous animations / characters / environments aside,  the  game is at the very least "interesting"  though.  

I just landed in the middle east and i'm checking out my super spy pad.   My character looks like an insane lumberjack, which is nice.

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"I will play but only if there is clopping" - Alex Quick, Sep 15 2012, 6:56am

Jun 1 2010, 8:16pm Anchor
AJ_Quick wrote:I wouldn't compare it to Deus Ex. It's not even in the same league.

The horrendous animations / characters / environments aside, the game is at the very least "interesting" though.

I just landed in the middle east and i'm checking out my super spy pad. My character looks like an insane lumberjack, which is nice.



Well if you recall Deus Ex wasn't exactly a perfect game either, it had very crappy animations (which HDTP has been trying to fix). I was referring more to story progression and the non-linearity when comparing it to Deus Ex, its on the same level if not better than Deus Ex's and the story is actually pretty similar-- minus the cyberpunk of course (FYI the original concept for Deus Ex is actually VERY similar to this game, the design document for Deus Ex was called Shooter and specifically says its a Spy game set in the modern era that combines RPG and FPS elements. Which is what Alpha essentially is.) The way the game works, if you shoot a particular character in the story, they are absent from the rest of the story and you're punished/rewarded based on who you kill and who you don't. Deus Ex worked like this. I'd also say that the skill stats are very Deus Ex like too, be good at Lockpicking/hacking, or Close Combat, or at taking damage, or at using gadgets.. its very similar in that regard too. But due to its very console controls the gameplay is more on par with Invisible War than it is on par with the original Deus Ex.. and that's really where the similarities end.. what the game does "Good" seems to have been derived from the same formula that Deus Ex has.

Someone wrote:wo, if you do some action 50 times you get an achievement..since when did achievements turn back to "special" features?
(don't want to start a achievement debate here, just think its stupid to point it out as a special feature)

I totally agree with what you're saying here.. but again.. EVERY game in the past few months has been given this treatment.

Someone wrote:I don't know, watching more gameplay footage it seems less and less like the games you've been comparing it to, and more meh/something I wouldn't even want to rent.

You're basing this on firstly its known to be broken stealth system- and its the main mechanic I feel that totally doesn't work- and theres really no reason to use it at all. Secondly as I stated even Deus Ex had a completely shit house crouch animation- hell most of the animations in that game sucked- didn't stop it from being a brilliant game though. FYI if the animation is bugging you that much then press F when you have a scoped weapon attached and it goes to an almost first person camera perspective. My advice would be to actually play the game- I found watching the streams initially to be VERY disappointing, I initially thought the way you did at the start.. but on actually playing the game it completely changed my opinion of it.

Also I have a bit of a reputation for being really harsh and its strange I've not found the case to beat up on this game yet. I usually say reviewers should grade games a lot lower than what they usually are (Eg. Red Dead Redemption, Metal Gear Solid 4, Empire Total War- I say they shouldn't be getting no more than 8.5s. Empire especially should be pretty low, since its published by the same publisher as Alpha Protocol and has way way way way way more bugs and gameplay issues which ruin the entire experience).

Anyway these are just my opinions, people are sure to have different frames of mind, but I advise you at least try to play the game before passing judgement- Alpha has actually been getting good reviews outside of the US so I'm wondering what the hell happened to have such a wide spread range of scores as half gave it 6.0 or less, and the other half gave it 8.0 or higher.

Edited by: formerlyknownasMrCP

AJ_Quick
AJ_Quick Arty type thing
Jun 1 2010, 10:43pm Anchor
Mr_Cyberpunk wrote:
AJ_Quick wrote:I wouldn't compare it to Deus Ex. It's not even in the same league.

The horrendous animations / characters / environments aside, the game is at the very least "interesting" though.

I just landed in the middle east and i'm checking out my super spy pad. My character looks like an insane lumberjack, which is nice.



Well if you recall Deus Ex wasn't exactly a perfect game either, it had very crappy animations (which HDTP has been trying to fix). I was referring more to story progression and the non-linearity when comparing it to Deus Ex, its on the same level if not better than Deus Ex's and the story is actually pretty similar-- minus the cyberpunk of course (FYI the original concept for Deus Ex is actually VERY similar to this game, the design document for Deus Ex was called Shooter and specifically says its a Spy game set in the modern era that combines RPG and FPS elements. Which is what Alpha essentially is.) The way the game works, if you shoot a particular character in the story, they are absent from the rest of the story and you're punished/rewarded based on who you kill and who you don't. Deus Ex worked like this. I'd also say that the skill stats are very Deus Ex like too, be good at Lockpicking/hacking, or Close Combat, or at taking damage, or at using gadgets.. its very similar in that regard too. But due to its very console controls the gameplay is more on par with Invisible War than it is on par with the original Deus Ex.. and that's really where the similarities end.. what the game does "Good" seems to have been derived from the same formula that Deus Ex has.
 


The issue I have with the game is not so much with its presentation as with the fundaments of the gameplay.   The lock picking / hacking is pretty simple if you upgrade your Sabotage ability and stops offering much challenge fairly early on.   Even if you fail and set off the alarm, there's no real consequence.  Enemies rush your position and you spam the E key to take them down with a flurry of badly animated punch attacks.   It's almost comical how little the stealth in this game actually matters when your missions are ostensibly meant to be super secret.   Another deal breaker is the AI.     Now you can tell me the AI in Deus Ex was poor too, and I'll agree.  But guess what?  That was ten years ago.   The AI in Alpha protocol seems to ignore ever leap in logic that has been made since then.  Enemies hump walls,  fail to notice you in plain sight,  spot you in total darkness,  refuse to walk through doors,  and generally act like hilariously broken foes.  This eliminates a great deal of the satisfaction you get from taking them down.   At least in Deus ex the guards would wax you if you weren't careful.   In Alpha protocol I was able to defeat a boss and all his minions by running around the battlefield like a madman (lumberjack beard and all) Punching them down one by one and soaking up bullets. 

The Story is fairly generic and overly reliant on clanceyspeak(tm)  which I stopped paying attention to almost as soon as the game started.    Where Alpha protocol is actually worthy of note is in the Speech system, and the way you can influence characters.  I was quite impressed when I was able to turn someone I had been sent to kill into an ally at a certain point.  

I am enjoying the game more than I thought I would , and am continuing to play because I am a fan of role playing and rich character interaction, which this game has in spades.  I am not a fan of much else.  I do not think it compares well with Deus Ex, and I am pretty shocked at the state of many of the fundamental gameplay elements.   If I were not such an RPG / dialogue nut, I doubt i'd find much redeeming about it.

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"I will play but only if there is clopping" - Alex Quick, Sep 15 2012, 6:56am

Jun 2 2010, 12:00am Anchor

I fully agree with your above post, and yeah I'm being very forgiving, you're right to point out those flaws as I've noticed them too. And same with you, if I weren't such a sucker for good written dialogue I probably wouldn't be playing right now. And yet all the issues could be fixed so easily, but we know that Sega probably won't front the bill to patch it unless heavy DLC payments come in- which I doubt because of the games bad press.

There is a lot of potential here and perhaps a lot of the negativity is towards seeing that potential but seeing it not met. It'd be an extremely bad move to firstly deny people their ability to mod the game, but also suicidal if they fail to even patch the game once- the only way Empire Total War was even a success (and I use that term VERY VERY lightly- because in my eyes it wasn't, it still crashes even today and if it weren't for Darth Mod I'd be really depressed about it still. Darth Mod ftw!) was because they continued supporting it and people stayed around to make sure they hadn't blown $80 on a game that should have never passed QA.. whereas Alpha Protocol is fine, the game design is really where it falls flat on its ass- but this has been addressed by nearly every critic of the game, including myself. I hope Sega learned their lesson with Creative Assembly and aims to at least salvage what isn't a bad game- just under designed and under polished, but hey it functions like a game so I have no reason to hate it.. its just not going to blow me away as much as I'd like it to.

I think you can only really say you hate this game if the game is playing unfair to you OR simply its buggy and crashing out all the time stopping you from enjoying what is there to be had- if the game were doing that this thread would probably be MUCH more hostile towards the game- especially from myself.

And again, Obsidian doesn't have a track record for Polished releases, so I expected this.. perhaps for someone that's never played an Obsidian game before this would come as somewhat of a great shock and disappointment that the game isn't 100% awesome, its 50% awesome and 50% potential (but then I'd also go as far to say Kotor2 was the exact same- great game and everything, but missing half the game!)

Anyway I feel like opening a form of communication up with the developer to hopefully persuade them to open the game up for mods and on top of this consider some way to keep support for the game coming- else they run a risk of total failure- at the moment its really only a partial one that can be fixed.

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