Computer games reviews and ramblings on games and gaming, from a gamer, roleplayer and LARPer.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Guest Review: Alpha Protocol, courtesy of Innokenti

Man, I love Alpha Protocol so much. After completing DE:HR:IT:QA I felt a desire only to go back to Alpha Protocol and play around some more. Obsidian toiled long and hard to produce a game with so much variety of character and interaction - they thought about as many situations as they reasonably good and tried to make sure as many of them were referenced as possible by the characters in the game. Where you go first, what you do, how you look, how you complete missions - so much of it (even the stuff that's not really relevant to the plot or progress) is picked up in conversation (and in how some missions occur).

It makes the game world feel alive. It makes you feel loved as a gamer. It's such a seemingly simple thing. Yes, you have the grander decision that change world outcomes - we've come to expect that, and it's there. But that's not what make you feel invested in the world - it's all those little things, and Alpha Protocol's decision to reward everything you do. Not to make it 'easy' or to laud the player unnecessarily, but to confirm that mechanically, they are not prejudicing a particular approach - there is no right way to play it, and the developers aren't just saying that, they're making sure it's reinforced. Kill lots of people? Earn some perks. Avoid everyone without raising an alarm? Earn some perks. Be an utter dick to everyone you meet? Earn some perks. Be courteous and professional? Earn some perks. AND, more importantly, do a combination of those? EARN SOME PERKS (valid middle-ground option you say? Woweee).

And everyone has their own agenda and preferences. And it's your job to pick it up and act accordingly - ignore what people want to hear or have you do and go your own way, pissing some people off and ingratiating others. Be a dick to everyone you meet, getting on their nerves intensely - be still rewarded for it AND get some of the game's best lines to boot. Pick and choose to be a friend to all - great.

And I don't really have a problem with the 'action' bit of it either. The animations might not all be swanky, and there are a few graphical problems, but none of them really affect the game.

So there. Also, Steven Heck is one of the most memorable characters in any game ever. And SIE is one of the most disturbing (and it's great that the devs have put in little things like Mike having a little smile when SIE is saying outrageous and offensive things to your handler who you hate...)

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