Sunday, June 5, 2016

Video Game Review: Alpha Protocol

Hello and Welcome To The Basement...

Normally when it comes to video games, I prefer to have some game footage so people could get an idea of where I'm coming from with my opinions of the game, or just for a Lets Play lark.

Unfortunately, the tedious nature of Alpha Protocol published by Sega in 2010... really didn't put me in the best of moods... and I chucked the video I was recorded. Not because I wasn't making progress... oh no... it's because the game feels like a chore.

For those of you who may not know, you as the player step into the shoes of an agent named Mike Thorton, and you get a couple of different options to start, I started off as a recruit, and he's a new guy from Langley who wakes up after being abducted and is searching for his captures.... and then after orientation, your real mission starts. Basically, it's the start of a 'spy' career.. (at least with the path I picked).

So let's talk the positives, and this is going to be quick. The game looks great, the textures look solid, the people look well polished... then again I'm very easy to please in this regard.. And the dialog system is a great concept, as you can customize the personality of Mike (being Suave, Professional, Aggressive, etc), but it's 'timed' meaning you don't get much time to mull over your choices as say you would in just about every other game.

Which leads to the negatives.... the combat system is just horrible. I get the realism aspect it's going for with having to aim and shoot, but it's clunky and just not fun, and that's not even talking about the use of things like gerunds  or the melee combat. Menu navigation is pain in the real.... and then there are the 'mini games'.... for things like hacking (trying to match two sets of random combination of letters and numbers on a grid where of randomly moving characters), lock picking (having to perfectly line up the pins to unlock the door) and turning off alarms (finding the right 'paths' of circuits) are frustrating, timed and just takes the life out of the game. With the exception of the alarms, all three games also involve having to remember what buttons does what, so it's multiple control schemes one has to remember.

Maybe it's because I'm 'old' as a gamer at the age of 33, but when I'm playing something I hate for anything within the game that takes me out of the action of playing. If I 'm playing a 3rd person perspective action game, I like the controls to be as stream lined as possible so I don't have to think of trying to remember what I need to press, and the 'mini games' to be something that can easily be identified to get them done with as quickly as possible.

And this brings me to the tag line of Alpha Protocol: 'The Espionage RPG'... and it's the RPG part that really gets to me, as in who wants to worry about STATS and leveling up in action game as if it was an RPG? Sure I've played games that had a 'level up feature', but in those cases (mostly MMORPGs and classic Squaresoft RPGs) it made SENSE! Here it doesn't make sense, because the RPG half of the game feels forced.... in fact the whole game feels that way. The negatives out weight the positives by a large margin

And for that reason, you won't see me revisiting Alpha Protocol anytime soon

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