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Interview Is Alpha Protocol RPG Enough?

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Jason, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. Jason chasing a bee

    Jason
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    Tags: Alpha Protocol; Obsidian Entertainment

    In an <a href="http://www.vg247.com/2009/10/28/exclusive-obsidian-on-alpha-protocol-rpgs-staying-indie-and-much-much-more/" target="blank">interview</a> with Chris Avellone and Ryan Rucinski, VG247 brought up the <a href="http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=36649" target="blank">recent comments</a> from a Sony product evaluator who claimed that <b>Alpha Protocol</b> "felt barely RPG". Much soul searching and "what is an RPG" discussion followed.
    <br>
    <blockquote>The percentage that a player is engaged in each of the RPG elements also factors into the definition as well – Alpha Protocol is a pretty strong blend of action, character building, character interaction and reactivity (as well as providing options and optional content you never need to do). We have several major characters that you can kill, change the allegiance of, or never encounter at all, and all of these opportunities have major effects in the game. We think that’s core to the RPG experience; we want people to discuss “their” path and see how much it compares to someone else’s. (Our reactivity summaries in our debriefing screens showcase this pretty well.)
    <br>
    <br>
    As a side note, we had a debug option that showcased all the reactivity for each level, and when a reviewer took a look at it, it was one of the aspects he enthusiastically brought up – he found that seeing all the reaction results for a level was pretty fascinating. He was able to see how all the mission choices and dialogue choices could have played out and the effects it would have on people’s reactions, intel, and future mission structure.
    <br>
    <br>
    We’ve been tempted to provide the debug command to expose all the reactivity for the official reviews, but we’ll see. We may just want to let people discover them on their own.</blockquote>
    <br>
    <br>
    <i>Thanks to Darth Roxor for the tip</i>
     
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  2. circ Arcane

    circ
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    Oh wow, all it needs is a console to show its RPG'nes. I guess anything with a console and debug command showing all those pesky variables is now an RPG. Way to go Obsidian.
     
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  3. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I thought the point was that reviewers are dumb and they need to see the variables directly in order to understand what was happening.
     
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  4. Overweight Manatee Scholar

    Overweight Manatee
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    Considering that a reviewer might only play a few hours of the game and almost certainly won't be playing through twice to see different paths, this isn't a horrible idea.
     
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  5. Joe Krow Erudite

    Joe Krow
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    Yeah sure. Run your action game through a flowchart and it becomes an RPG. Does this game even give the character social stats? I get the feeling that the dialogue system will completely ignore the character being played.
     
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  6. Lurkar Scholar

    Lurkar
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    Yes and no.

    I think the issue is that 99% of the games that brag about having multiple paths end up being utter bullshit (See: Everything Bioware does). So when Obsidian brags the same thing the default is "You haven't bribed us, why the fuck should we believe you?" So Obsidian basically has to prove that they have it.
     
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  7. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    I think it's got about the same number of social stats as Deus Ex. I'm pretty sure of it. And we all know how badly THAT turned out.
     
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  8. janjetina Arcane Patron

    janjetina
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    Doesn't change the fact that Deus Ex was an action game, and that is precisely what Ass Proctocol is, though Obsidian is promoting it as an RPG.

    R00fles!
     
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  9. Hümmelgümpf Arbiter

    Hümmelgümpf
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    What's an RPG?
     
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  10. DarkUnderlord Bringing that old Raptor magic.

    DarkUnderlord
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    Oblivion.
     
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  11. Hümmelgümpf Arbiter

    Hümmelgümpf
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    Why do you guys have a site dedicated to such a shitty genre? :?
     
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  12. MetalCraze Arcane

    MetalCraze
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    Obsidian just likes to bullshit so hard - considering that there are absolutely no choices given to a player - you always ask 1 question and the difference is weather you ask that linear restricting question with or without gun pointed at the enemy which as reviewers stated mostly affects the difficulty of the same linear level (oh gawd what a reactivity)

    And notice how they completely weaseled out from the question about lack of "rpg" in the game - by stating how their shooter is full of LARP'ing - I think it tells how much RPG is there in AP.

    Lol look I'm bringing a completely unrelated game Deus Ex into a discussion of AP that AP has absolutely no relation to for #189490593 time am I smart?!
     
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  13. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    (a) Many people do, in fact, consider Deus Ex to be a rpg.
    (b) Putting that aside, it's been pretty darn clear that AP is aiming at being a Deus Ex / System Shock 2 style game rather than Fallout/BG2. They've just gone with the absurdly inflated concept of rpg that is the norm these days. But you can hardly claim that they're trying to fool people into picking up an isometric party-based DnD/GURPS game.

    I do have some concerns, but I'd love to see even a 3/4-attempt at Deus Ex or SS2. Neither of which need turn-based combat or social skills. My main concern is simply that the 3rd person-perspective, with its seemingly arbitrary map-barriers, with pipes you can't jump over and boxes you can't stack, so badly hampers the experimentation and exploration aspects of that style of game that it simply won't work.
     
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  14. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    Which is already more C+C than in Deus Ex. Quoting from an earlier post of mine:

    I posted Deus Ex's list of 'C+C' in an earlier post, and I can't be bothered looking it up again, or typing it all out, so I'll just give a sample (not that this matters, but I've played DE about 5 times a year, every year since it came out - it's my 'remember when gaming was great' game that I keep returning to. I find I can replay it almost infintely, whereas even FO and PS:T can only support about 3-4 playthroughs at most. I've also made numerous posts arguing that the game industries biggest fuckup was that they didn't make Deus Ex and Bloodlines the 'standard' for dumbed-down pseudo-rpgs, rather than KoToR and Oblivion):
    In 'choice: consequence' format:
    - go into ladies' bathroom: flavour text;
    - kill lots of folk on 1st level or kill hardly any: flavour text (and an insignificant weapon/ammo you'll get that level anyway);
    - handle the guys guarding the 1st vial of ambrosia yourself, or let your partner go in: flavour text;
    - kill the hostages / save the hostages: flavour text;
    - kill your partner / kill the terrorist leader / kill both: flavour text;
    - protect Paul or leave him to die: different character saying the exact same stuff later in the game (LESS than flavour text)
    - speak to the doc on your way out, or don't (ooohh...OBLIVION-style choices..): dadada...THE BIGGEST C+C IN THE GAME FOLKS, later you get to kill Gunther automatically in dialogue, or (GASP) kill him at the SAME spot in the SAME level of the game, with the SAME consequences either way!
    - kill Gunther or run away (oohhh...MORE Obilivion-style choices. Skyway must have just loved all those Deus Exish 'do my quest or don't' choices that Bethesda offers);
    - (when the copter gets locked up): kill the guards using guns, kill the guards using computer skills or kill the guards using gas (fun choice, but more on that later): ohh...different ways to kill the exact same guys with the exact same consequences...gee that's big C+C right there!
    - attack the Hong Kong actress/MI5 early or attack her later: no difference, still end up being attacked by her at the same later point in the same later way. Oh...and flavour text.
    - kill Simons / run from Simons - if you don't kill him you fight him instead of another guy later in the game...not even a flavour text difference...AND THERE'S THE EXACT CONSEQUENCE THAT SKYWAY IS BITCHING ABOUT IN A.P. LADIES AN D GENTLEMEN! EXCEPT WITH EVEN LESS CONSEQUENCE BECAUSE YOU END UP FIGHTING THE TOUGHER GUY (Simons) ANYWAY! But, hey, it's in Deus Ex so it must be good in THAT game.
    - save Jock or don't - flavour text.
    - help Illuminati / help Tong / help Helios - flavour text

    So there we go. There's some awesome C+C right there. Flavour text must be what FO3 was lacking, otherwise Skyway would have loved it.

    Fact is, you don't need revolutionary C+C to make a game sufficiently interactive - and frankly I don't think any game has given the kind of C+C you're looking for. Tougher guards, flavour text and mulitple ways to kill the same guys with the exact same consequences, can be perfectly sufficient to give an adequate illusion of freedom. They were in Deus Ex, after all (and that's a fuckload more freedom than, say, SS2).

    I'm not saying that AP is necessarily going to be great - the things that worry me most are (1) the crappy AI (though Deus Ex's AI was much mocked for being by far the crappest AI of its era when it came out - even Specter says he was afraid that people would compare the AI to other shooters and realise how crap the AI was in comparison, missing the point that it was crap because they were trying to include other options like stealth etc, instead of just making a good shooter-AI or a good stealth-AI etc), and (2) that it's 3rd person instead of 1st person. The few times I've played 3rd person (eg Dead Space) I've spent the whole game going 'fuck I wish this just had decent FP controls and perspective). There's a lot of 'stage-rules' for 3rd person shooters that folk who are used to them just accept, but which seem mindblowingly crap to folk who aren't - eg inability to duck and jump, and most importantly, the presence of 'can't walk here' bits. E.g. there's a pipe or a set of boxes in the way - you could easily just step over the fucking pipe, or push the boxes aside, or stack them to climb over them, but in 3rd person shooters they just act as magic impenetrable barriers. Worst of all is where games actually exploit that for difficulty - e.g. in Dead Space and others where monsters can move anywhere, but the player can't - it doesn't make it too difficult, but it makes the stupidity of the arbitrary boundaries just scream out at you.

    But crap C+C isn't something that I've seen so far - it looks like they're aiming at Deus Ex style fake-choices: flavour text and multiple ways of killing the same guys and then adding to that stuff which Deus Ex lacked, i.e. tougher guards and different skins/stats of NPCs to reflect faction choices."


    So where, exactly, in Deus Ex (or SS2) is this great C+C that AP lacks?
    _________________
     
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  15. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    Nope, but you're pretty damn stupid if you can't see the relevance or similarity between Deus Ex and AP.
     
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  16. MetalCraze Arcane

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    Deus Ex is a first person shooter where non-combat things entirely depend on a few character stats and AP is a third-person action game with crappy melee combat included and minigames.
    There is no relevance - and the irony is that fanboys try to prove AP's RPG'isness by stating a FPS as an example.
    In other words AP is as similar to DX as Oblivion to System Shock 2.
     
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  17. Gnidrologist CONDUCTOR

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    I never get this ''hey guise, i'm reinstalling DX again lol''. Deus Ex has zero replayability not only in the c&c aspect as accurately described by Azrael the cat, but also lacks any variety regarding how one could develop JC's stats. There is none.

    You take pistols, computers and maybe one more weapon skill or swimming for slight convenience. Everything else is useless and unrewarding. Being the master hazard suite wearer? Really? Medic? Yeah, right. Grenades? You can throw them with the same success having zero skill. Big guns? You can use them having zero skill with slight reduction of speed/accuracy that didn't matter anyway, because you blow the stuff up with them, not make headshots while sprinting. Melee? Ok, that ass whooping megasupahsword was nice.

    Alpha Protocol seems to have potential to be an improved version of DX.
     
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  18. Gragt Arcane Patron

    Gragt
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    Hey, masterring the suit skill is pretty nice and covers a lot of other skills!
     
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  19. Emotional Vampire Arbiter

    Emotional Vampire
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    Many people also consider... you know what? Fuck you. You know how it goes. So shut up.
     
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  20. Jim Cojones Prophet

    Jim Cojones
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    One might think that should be the reason for you to admire them.
     
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  21. Joe Krow Erudite

    Joe Krow
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    There is no character per se in AP, just some power ups that will make the twitch combat a little easier. The character development system is the equivalent of attaching a scope to your rifle in a FPS except that you can't take it back off (why would you?). You do get to choose a hair style though.

    Even worse, there are no social power ups. The "character" you're playing will have absolutely no impact on the dialogue you trudge through. In spite of that, they seem to be saying that your ability to larp is what makes this an RPG.

    Alpha Protocol is an rpg because you can make Mario shoot fireballs or wag his tail. You can even dress him like Luigi. Oh, and the choice and consequences- will you slide down the warp-zone pipe or proceed to the end of the level? Drama. This game is a joke. I can't believe there are so many of you buying in.
     
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  22. Dionysus Scholar

    Dionysus
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    I think the idea is that the dialogue choices determine the character being played. But I tend to agree with your point. Much of what I've heard about this game suggests that the character sheet won't be a big limiting factor. Hopefully it won't turn out like the Witcher, where all of the interesting RPing has nothing to do with the character sheet.

    Deus Ex was also promoted as an action-RPG.
     
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  23. godsend1989 Scholar

    godsend1989
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    freak.
     
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  24. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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  25. Clockwork Knight Arcane

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    I kind of agree with the fratboy soldier here, you'd have to be <s>a little</S> autistic for that
     
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