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Gamebanshee: Alpha Protocol Review
Review - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 11 June 2010, 22:34:22Tags: Alpha Protocol; Obsidian Entertainment
Brother None took a closer look at Obsidian's latest "shooter-based RPG".
Alpha Protocol is a cover-based shooter with stats determining the precision of your aim, and a contracting reticule showing the need to steady your aim before shooting. This should be familiar enough to anyone who has played FPS/RPGs or cover-based shooter/RPGs. Alpha Protocol doesn't get too creative in this. There are four weapon types (pistol, SMG, shotgun, automatic rifle), each of which is uniquely fitted to a particular combat style, combat range and subtlety of approach. Add in some gadgets, from simple firebombs to proximity mines, and it's a solid enough basis.
Despite that, the combat is not very good. It's not terrible either, but a combination of bad camera work, sub-par enemy AI, and poor variety in combat scenarios makes for a rather tepid combat experience. The game doesn't throw too many trash mob fights at you and the poor AI makes most of them a breeze, but considering the paucity in design here it's probably still too much time in combat, which is an odd thing to say for an action RPG. The poor variety in combat scenarios is a part of a fairly poor, oddly linear level design, which at times makes the game feel like a corridor shooter with a strange layout.Your lack of mobile range – you can't jump – means a foot-high fence can stop this international superspy.
No one can pretend the flaws don't exist, but it's also a mistake to focus on them alone. I can guarantee they won't turn you off the game completely, but I can say that even with its flaws Alpha Protocol was one of the more satisfying RPG experiences I've had in years. It doesn't play it safe with the predictable blandness that has become the industry standard, instead daring to throw more choices your way than any game in recent memory. Actually challenging the player, rather than insulting his intelligence. If this sounds like something you can identify with, I would give it a shot to try and get past the game's flaws, it's definitely worth it.
update: BN decided to flipflop and *correct* himself. Now he can't guarantee they won't turn you off the game completely...
Spotted at: GB