Taff did an article on his blog entitled Homefront Isn’t Very Good which saved me from rushing out and purchasing it – so I decided to respond in kind by writing about Alpha Protocol. Except my job is to persuade him and others to buy it, as it’s one of the best video games I’ve ever played.
Alpha Protocol is a game that has a LOT of critics….and I’m not really sure why. I’ve never read much on the critics, but I’ve been told from others that it’s disliked by a lot of people – which just blows my mind.
You’ve heard before about games where “you play it how you want it” but most of them don’t do a very good job at that at all – the decisions you make are either small and don’t really impact the game much, or are laid out in front of you as clear cut decisions. Don’t kill a guy in Fallout and all it will mean is that other factions may like or not like you as much, and you’ll get a different ending slide. Even the end game of Fallout New Vegas is so clear cut: basically you have a choice of 4 endings, and it’s very clear cut and dry how to select each one.
Alpha Protocol is a much more natural game – even the smallest decisions affect the game outcome. A large part of the game is conversations with other people where how you interact with them changes so much about the game. All conversations are handled like real conversations too – as soon as the person is finished saying something to you, you have maybe a second to choose how to respond which is really neat, so keeps you on the ball.
Alpha Protocol is so good that immediately after finishing it, I immediately started a new game. I probably haven’t done that since the days of the ZX Spectrum. This playthrough I am going to do completely opposite decisions from my previous game, to see how everything plays out.
What’s great is you can play the game however you want. Want to be a Splinter Cell like spy, sneaking around and never getting detected? Go for it. Want to be Hobo with a Shotgun with messy hair and a lumberjack beard, walking around in street clothes and shooting the shit outta people? You can do that! Want to be a Jack Reacher like hero, who beats the utter shit out of people with his hands? Also an option. The game is set up to accommodate all playing styles and it also changes the story of the game.
It’s just such a ridiculously fun game, and I can only give it the highest compliments: it reminds me of the Syphon Filter series. That may not mean much, but to me it means a lot. Pre-XBox 360 and achievements, I very rarely played video games. I never beat them at any rate. I owned over 200 Playstation games and over 100 Playstation 2 games and over 60 Dreamcast games. Of all those, I beat GTA 4 once and Metal Gear Solid once. Never did finish the other GTA Games, or Metal Gear Solid 2. Yet the Syphon Filter Series – I beat all 3 of them, and I beat Syphon Filter three or four times, and Syphon Filter 2 at least twice.
I’m kinda curious about the negativity Alpha Protocol receives so I’ve decided to look around the net and see some of the complaints:
The stealth in it is a joke, everyone sees you all the time
Um….no. I was wearing street clothes and just had 2 slots out of 20 of my stealth attributes filled, yet I was able to sneak around all Sam Fisher like. It’s called being good at a game you retards.
The enemy AI was awful, could walk within 2 feet of them and they wouldn’t see you
Ah the polar opposite of the last complaint. I never had this issue at all. If I wasn’t careful with the stealth they’d detect me, simple as that.
The cover system sucks
I guess it was a Gears of War style system – honestly I didn’t use the actual cover system in the game much so I can’t really say. I hid in cover and all that but it was mainly by crouching down behind walls, hit hitting “A” to latch onto them.
The melee system is glitchy and has collision detection problems
I beat up over 100 guys and I didn’t find this once. And I was doing running knees and all that shit.
The levels are predictable and repetitive
What the hell? There’s a solid variety of levels, and so many different ways to go about each level. Need to get into that building? Use a zipline, use a diversion, sneak in etc.
Braykov(one of the level bosses) is broken and impossible to beat
Um yeah….if you’re doing it wrong. I was having problems with him too and I looked at strategies to beat him and they’re ALL WRONG. If you don’t want spoilers on how to beat him skip to the next paragraph. Anyway you let him run around and chase you when he comes down from the balcony, and the second he stops running and takes a breather before going up on the balcony – THAT’S when you attack him. Easy peasy.
The accuracy in this game is pitiful, it’s like your character is blind
Ha, what? If anything it’s the complete opposite of this when I can hit someone with my shotgun from 20 feet away(only when it’s lined up for a critical hit). People are seriously idiots – they think this is a run and gun shooter or something like Call of Duty. The gun physics are a bit more realistic and you need to focus more on lining up your shot is all – and even then not once you get your skills up.
This one kills me:
As Thorton progresses through the levels, there’s a skill set tree that you can upgrade. The player can choose to upgrade Thorton’s ability with specific weapons, martial arts training, general stats and stealth ability. Adding abilities helps with the poor stealth detention on the AI, but it seems like a secret agent should already have those skills.
Jesus this is retarded. First of all it’s a goddamn video game. Second of all if you choose a class like soldier, you do start off with the abilities. Third of all if you choose recruit there’s a back story as to WHY you don’t have these abilities yet.
Honestly I thought there would be some valid complaints, but instead it just reminded me why I never trust reviews of games, or the general publics opinion on anything. Idiots.