Graphics:
5.2
Gameplay:
5.5
Sound:
5.9
Control:
5.6
Replay Value:
6.3
Overall Rating:
5.8
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Sega
Developer:
Obsidian Entertainment
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
RPG


We really enjoy the stories of persevering studios, those that managed to work through a series of setbacks and delays to eventually provide gamers with a polished and appreciated product. You will often hear about these feel-good results for years after the embattled developer releases an impressive title, but the failures fade into obscurity. Sadly, Alpha Protocol falls into the latter category. We’ve been waiting on Obsidian’s “espionage/RPG” for quite a long time and on the surface, the concept and premise were both very promising. The apparent goal was to expand on the sci-fi, plot-based structure of an epic like Mass Effect , and then combine this with the covert spy atmosphere of James Bond. Sounds quite appealing, no? Well, if you can somehow find a way to overlook the mediocre gameplay so as to enjoy the storyline, you might just be able to work your way through Alpha Protocol . …but it’s far more likely that the glaring flaws and severe lack of refinement will prove far too disappointing and frustrating.

The graphics vie with the gameplay for the dubious honor of being called the worst part of the adventure. These visuals very much remind me of a PC game from about a decade ago. It’s very bland and stark; far too much of the environment is merely painted in, the entire atmosphere feels lifeless and decidedly devoid of intricate detail, and the animations can be stiff and jerky. There are a myriad of technical issues as well, including major clipping, silly collision detection issues (has anyone caught on to the fact that PC-based software, or software from PC-oriented devs, seems to suffer from this one significant flaw more than anything else?), and boring, generic effects. We can interact with almost nothing in the immediate vicinity; level design is standard and rarely allows for much in the way of exploration/approach ingenuity, and when up close and personal, most everything fails the critical inspection. I suppose the one highlight might be some solid face detailing and animation, but beyond that, it’s just ugly.

The sound is a bit better, mostly due to some decent voice acting and a soundtrack that is fitting yet repetitive and uninspired. There is a great deal of talking, so that can be a benefit; the main character, Michael Thornton, sounds all right and there are a few other characters who sound quite genuine and realistic. Unfortunately, they put little to no effort in giving us a musical score that really enhances our immersion; it’s appropriate, yes, but it’s nowhere near prominent enough. And the big technical problem focuses on the terrible balance issue: music and effects can be all over the place; one minute, one greatly overrides the other and the next, it’s vice versa. It’s just another example of the buggy nature of this lackluster role-playing experience, and it even seemed to get worse the more I played. There are plenty of different weapons but far too many sound exactly alike, some of your skills and abilities don’t receive any help from accompanying effects that can often disappear entirely, and overall, the graphics and sound are well below par.

If Obsidian had still come through in regards to the gameplay, we could’ve overlooked at least a few of the visual and audio shortcomings. Besides, even if there are a few problems with particular elements of the gameplay, maybe we could’ve advised you to simply avoid sneaking and treat it like a third-person shooter. After all, the entire purpose of Alpha Protocol is to promote choice and freedom: you can choose the type of operative you will be, you can distribute experience points however you see fit, and even better, there are literally hundreds of different ways to interact with those you meet. The latter feature is by far the most attractive part of the game but before we get to that, we have to address the serious issues that plague the general mechanics. Sure, you can choose to be a Soldier and specialize in weaponry and explosive combat tactics, or you can stick to the shadows and enhance your stealth and gadgetry knowledge. But either way, you end up with a mostly poor setup; i.e., it’s either a dreadfully mediocre Splinter Cell or it’s a dreadfully mediocre third-person shooter.

Let’s take my experience as an example (and I guess you kinda have to): being a fan of games like Splinter Cell , I really wanted to create a Field Agent – “an intelligence specialist” who excels in “both stealth and infiltration” – with a special emphasis on shadowy, deadly effectiveness. For the record, your other options are the aforementioned Soldier, Tech Specialist (“mastery over computers and electronics”), and Freelancer (“an independent contractor who has chosen his own way”). But anyway, back to my quest. So one of the first things I do is sneak up behind a foe and perform a takedown with the simple press of a button. That was kinda cool. I noticed that snapping into and out of cover was a little jerky and erratic, but I figured it would suffice. Than I went to shoot an enemy with my tranquilizer dart and immediately encountered the first major flaw; the aiming reticle was trained directly on his upper back and I missed. Worse yet, he somehow knew I was firing at him and he turned and attacked. The next strike came when I nailed a dude with my dart when he was just inside a doorway… He collapsed, the door inexplicably closed, and when I opened it, the body was gone.

You don’t even have the option of carrying bodies out of the sight of other roving enemies, and that sight scope is all sorts of screwy. Sometimes, they’ll see a body from a ridiculous distance and other times, they’ll fail to notice when their felled comrade is right nearby. And no matter how you build your character, you never have access to some of the really cool gadgets you often see in stealth-based adventures. It got exceedingly boring just sneaking up behind people and taking them down, only to return to the shadows, rinse and repeat. So I tried the straightforward approach and started over with the intention of attacking the game as a third-person shooter. Okay, so more collision detection issues – regardless of the weapon I have equipped – and overall, just a lame, generic shooting mechanic that gets tiresome within the hour . It really seems as if there’s a lot of inherent depth; there are plenty of available skills and tools, for instance, but none of them really seem to add any flash or flavor.

Then there are the downright awful mini-mechanics used for hacking computers, bypassing alarm systems, and picking locks. Okay, that last one isn’t too bad; you just carefully hold the R2 button so the pins line up and then hit the L2 button to snap them into place. That’s just fine, I suppose. But the other two…holy God. To hack a computer, you have to stare at a screen of blinking code and somehow manage to find the small group of letters and numbers that match a designated string before time runs out. And , you have to do it twice . Then there’s cutting circuits for bypassing alarms; this requires you to trace a circuit to the outer edge, where you’d cut the wire by pressing a button. It sounds easy, but you have to cut each in order and tracing the maze-like circuit out of the box with your eyes is a ridiculous chore; the circuits all blend together and again, it’s timed. It’s just a mess. I also noticed that certain gadgets you could utilize didn’t function effectively or reliably.

Like I said earlier, the only good part is the fact that you can adopt different “stances” when dealing with other characters. In certain situations, you are given the opportunity to respond and you can choose from a variety of options, including Professional, Aggressive, and Suave. Depending on how you respond, the character will say something different and this does indeed directly affect the storyline. Furthermore, you can conduct research on any character you will interact with, thereby allowing you to figure out what approach would work best with them. There are even times when you can perform an action during a conversation to take the other person by surprise. Due to the large number of times you select a stance, there are any number of branching possibilities, and the many characters can respond to you in a bunch of different ways. The only downside is that you have a certain amount of time to pick a stance, which wouldn’t be so bad, but the time bar starts counting down before the character has even finished their statement or question. This leads to times when you have mere seconds to pick a stance once you’ve heard everything you need to hear.

But hey, it works out well. It’s really a blessing because it’s the only thing that kept me playing for a while. Eventually, though, all the severe problems began to pile up and infect most every movement I made. Nothing seems catastrophically bad but at the same time, nothing seems right , either. This game feels and looks very, very outdated and anyone who plays it will recall many games that did something better; we’ve seen far better role-playing, action, and stealth mechanics and in all honesty, I doubt this game would’ve been considered anything special even four or five years ago. We’ve already heard bad things about the development process and in the end, this is one project that should’ve been nixed. I just can’t figure out why someone somewhere didn’t stand up and say this would bomb…I mean, it’s painfully obvious. I just don’t get it.

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tridon
tridon
11 years ago

Wow. A 5.8? I can honestly say that I saw that coming. Whenever a game gets pushed back as much as this one has, you know you're in for a craptacular gaming session.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

STOP replying to spam. You have to realize these are not PEOPLE. They're BOTS. They don't know anything 'cuz they're not sentient beings.

So just don't bother; we can delete a bot and all his posts in seconds.

RadioHeader
RadioHeader
11 years ago

"They're BOTS. They don't know anything 'cuz they're not sentient beings."

I don't like their choice of console but that seems a little strong.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Easy fellas, when we reply to these Ben has to delete our comments too. Just ignore them. Sorry Ben.

CharlesD
CharlesD
11 years ago

Ok, I knew this one wasn't going to be raking in any awards but this is worse than I expected. I know the review is accurate I guess I just didn't grasp how much of an epic fail it was going to be.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Oh snap, even lower then Ben originally thought he would give it.

BusyBeingBorn
BusyBeingBorn
11 years ago

Sad, I was really looking forward to this. No I don't know what to think about New Vegas

BlackBriar
BlackBriar
11 years ago

Damn! I was hoping this game would be good, I'll give it rent. Watch this game drop from a $60 to $40 or more,by the end of the month.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

It's actually higher than I expected. When I watched the video's for this game I automatically gave the game a 4 on graphics and dialogue.

Game looks like they designed the main characters face and then made everything else as quickly as they possibly could. All the background is flat and smooth with no texture at all as is most of the clothing and pretty much everything other than the characters face.

People think james bond can sound cheesy, this game sounded like it was written by a drunken james bond wanna be. 5.8 is pretty low, but I think maybe Ben's niceties and politeness might be shining thru. lol.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
11 years ago

Ben, you wrote Solider in the fourth paragraph instead of Soldier.

I suppose it's a good thing I never had anything more than a passing interest in this game, but the whole stances for the talking sounds interesting. Alas, that it will be at best a rental for me.
Peace.

BeezleDrop
BeezleDrop
11 years ago

Excluding Gran Turismo 5, when a game is delayed that many times, it cannot be good. Case and point.

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

true that bro true that . GT5 will be awesome 🙂

Jalex
Jalex
11 years ago

Can't say why exactly, but I think I will respond to this much as I did 'White Knight Chronicles.'
I'm not expecting it to be Game of the Year, but it looks like my kind of game, and I'm still planning on picking it up this week, critical opinion be damned.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
11 years ago

Exactly.

This game is in no way as bad as Ben's review states.

It's not a great game, but it does some really cool things.

Caanimal
Caanimal
11 years ago

I'm about 7 hours into the game and I'm having a blast. Granted it isn't the best looking game on the market, but then again some the best selling games & most played games don't have outstanding graphics, or even great graphics… A good game doesn't have to be cutting edge.

frylock25
frylock25
11 years ago

i watched a few of the videos on the psn. this game always looked generic and cheesy. i am not suprised to hear it sucks this much. whatever plenty of other good games to play anyway.

Zorigo
Zorigo
11 years ago

oh i agree with that cheesy comment. its so true, i saw a custscene somewhere, and it looked fairly shocking i must say

Zorigo
Zorigo
11 years ago

one thing… 😀 HAHA

coverton341
coverton341
11 years ago

Wow. Apparently there is someone here who despite all the overwhelming evidence is just not pleased with the negativity that this game has garnered.

It was a good concept but concepts don't always translate into equal execution.

Maybe they should have axed this game, maybe they should have come out and said they were going to put it on an undetermined hiatus while they rethought the design portion. Hell, maybe they should have enlisted the help of a different studio or designer to give pointers and guidance.

Whatever they should have done and should have made is irrelevant now and I guess we all see what we are left with, crap.

Sol
Sol
11 years ago

I agree, beacuse after all I've seen of this game is that it needs more time, but that chance is gone since the game was released.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

If there was an embargo on this, why was it on sale on ebay for days?

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

Ouch. And now I know which reviewers not to trust. The ones that gave this a high score.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Sounds like a decent litmus test.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Someone disagrees with us in hiding Fluffer.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

__________ was singing it's praises, maybe he's one of your non fans'.

If not, my apologies to _________.

How can you be certain the exact amount of key presses to write his name? I may have been misspelling it.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

I like to call him Anonymous Cowherd…

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

__________ thinks Call of Duty should be game of the year along with Splinter Cell and Alan Wake.

Tells you all you need to know.

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

@ JawKNEE

yes alan wake deserves a spot in GOTY, Alan wake is awesome, splinter cell although it's not as the same as the old franchise its still good, as for COD now that one sucks.

Dude believe me we all hate M$ but for God sakes man C'mon.

I'M NOT SAYING IT SHOULD WIN THOUGH

P.S. WHY DO WE ALL HATE MR. BLANK AGAIN ????


Last edited by TEG3SH on 6/1/2010 7:55:28 PM

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

My dislike of MS has nothing to do with my dislike for Alan Wake. My friend has it, and i didn't see the big deal.

Besides, you and _________ have similar tastes so….

Oxvial
Oxvial
11 years ago

I dont see whats the big deal with Alan Wake too, just looked like an average shooter game with a decent history but bland characters.

Also the sales are really low…wonder if Remedy gonna end selling hotdogs in Helsinki.


Last edited by Oxvial on 6/1/2010 10:06:16 PM

___________
___________
11 years ago

WTF i think COD should be GOTY.
dude if you have ever read what i have posted you would know i HATE COD.
that, halo and GTAIV are the most over rated games in the history of the universe!!!

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

@ __________

Dont worry Jawknee is PMSing again.

FYI JAWKNEE, how can we have the same taste while I hate all FPS(except Bioshock), I don't even know whats my taste in games is. YOU BEING THE FANBOY U ARE can't see anything beyond Sony

DUDE GET OVER IT U DON'T OWN THE COMPANY.

P.S. sorry to burst your bubble 🙁

___________
___________
11 years ago

truth is id quicker give rouge warrior GOTY than any COD title.
and that said rouge warrior wasnt exactly a stellar title, in fact theres a reason why its got a average review score of 6.
wait, for once im actually agreeing with reviews.
faints.


Last edited by ___________ on 6/2/2010 8:29:19 AM

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

@_____________ posting on the internet can be a b*tch because what you say stays and you clearly said Call of Duty had a better chance at GOTY then Red Dead Redemption. They are your words now OWN IT!

"no matter how good red dead redemption is, it has absolutely NO chance of getting GOTY this year.
ME2, GOW3, heavy rain, GT5, agent, LA Noire, the last guardian, true crime, mafia 2, crysis 2, crackdown 2, alan wake (which im playing now, AND LOVING!!!!!!!!!!), splinter cell conviction, assassins creed brotherhood, medal of honor, COD black ops, and god knows how many others.
all have a much better chance of getting GOTY.

though i have only heard really good things about it, besides its repetitiveness which is no surprise since it is a R* title.
i got my PSM3 june edition in yesterday and they gave it a 9.5 not bad there normally really hard markers!!!

but than, hey, no one ever thought GTAIV would of got GOTY and it did.
almost every single title that gets GOTY simply does not deserve it!
COD MW over uncharted AND bioshock?
really????????????
come on, both uncharted and bioshock are 100000000000 times better than COD MW!

Agree with this comment 1 up, 9 down Disagree with this comment"

@ TEG, your wrong because i buy and play just about everything Nintendo as well. You have displayed time and time again that your tastes like _________ are either odd or at worst poor so i don't really care what your opinion is. not trying to be rude but its the truth. Once again your comment is incoherent and void of substance.

BTW, PMSing i am not. your the one who's butthurt and typing in all caps like so raving lunatic. 😉


Last edited by Jawknee on 6/2/2010 11:09:11 AM

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

Apparently the sand in ur vagina can't be brushed off, how is my comment incoherent, I was expressing how Alan Wake is a great game and if it got a GOTY nomination it will be more than fair, if not then who cares.

As for you being a fanboy, you always attack anything on the 360, while most of the times you're talking outta your ass as usual.

You ranting like B**ch for more than 3 paragraphs made me laugh though XD

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

The fact that you have to resort to petty name calling and attacks proves who the child is.

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

and a raving lunatic is a compliment ?!

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Obviously it was a joke. Your ability to comprehend humor is just as bad your taste in games.

Oooooh, need a disclaimer? that was a joke too.

sawao_yamanaka
sawao_yamanaka
11 years ago

Raving lunatic is not even remotely in the same ballpark. I agree with jawknee I hate anything microsft. Got rid of my 360 ages ago. I only have my wii and ps3 and loving both so sorry to burst your bubble about alan wakes averageness.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

sawao_yamanaka, add me so we can be "fanboys" together. lol

PSN: Jawknee1

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

apparently ur sense of humor is just as lame as u, so what ur saying is that I can insult anyone the way I like and then rationalize it by stating it was a joke, dude honestly u are one weird package…

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

@ sawao

from ur name I can see ur kindda new, I'm not defending M$, I hate M$ but I pay respect where is respect is due and believe me Alan wake is anything other than ordinary

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

You became unhinged because i said i didn't see what the big deal about Alan Wake was and I'm the weird one?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

I wasn't angered because u said that, believe me if u miss out on this great game, its ur loss.

I became unhinged when u tried to nullify my opinion by saying that Alan wake is bad due to my bad taste in gaming, if I liked it that meant it sucked, but as I found out trying to reason with you is as pointless as the second window at Mcdonalds Drive-thru

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

your opinion hasn't meant anything to me for a long time so why are you surprised?

I suggest you read the conversation again, i didn't attempt to nullify your opinion until after you started ranting about fanboys and owning companies.

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

I could careless about what u think, and u started it by stating and I quote " Besides, you and _________ have similar tastes so…."

and I'm kindda bored with ya and I have other crap to deal with( now thats a good Joke 😉 )

sawao_yamanaka
sawao_yamanaka
11 years ago

I post here although not as often but I was disappointed to say the least in alan wake. I do like remedy as a developer but this is not there best effort that's why reviewers weren't praising it as much. I'll pay respect if it deserves it but it doesn't. I'll add you jawknee when I'm back on. 😛 yes we will be "fanboys".

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

What the hell is this…?

Don't do it again.

TEG3SH
TEG3SH
11 years ago

Sorry Ben but that guy pissed me off, again sorry my bad 🙂

___________
___________
11 years ago

god your a idiot.
i said those games have a better chance of getting GOTY NEVER did i say they should get GOTY.
if you bothered to read any of my other posts instead of just selecting the ones that suit yourself, you would know i have not agreed with GOTY awards for ages.
does MW really deserve GOTY over uncharted or bioshock?

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