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  • ckim 6:02 am on June 3, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Alpha Protocol, , , Review,   

    Alpha Protocol (PS3, 360, PC) — Review 

    “Ever hear of anger management?”

    “No, because I killed all my therapists.” (More …)

    • Pete Davison 12:07 pm on June 4, 2012 Permalink

      I adore Alpha Protocol. Reading this just makes me want to play it again. Great job, sir. 🙂

    • pepperized 4:03 pm on June 18, 2012 Permalink

      My brother picked this up. Sure I liked it, sure as hell didn’t think it was bad.

    • Pete Davison 4:18 pm on June 18, 2012 Permalink

      Right. I think the sloppy console port and the fact it was a lot more of an RPG than Mass Effect didn’t help matters. People went into it expecting certain things and were disappointed/confused when that didn’t happen. It’s best to take it as its own thing, not as a contemporary of Mass Effect, which is the mistake most reviewers made around the time of its original release, I think.

    • pepperized 4:20 pm on June 18, 2012 Permalink

      Yeah about that… One of my biggest shames on the shame pile is the Mass Effect series.

  • bowlisimo 4:31 pm on November 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol   

    @beige Well, like I said before, you have to get through some average (at best) third person action gameplay to enjoy the strengths of that game. Thankfully it’s never long or drawn out, and the barrier for entry is low as it goes on sale regularly for 5 dollars or less on Steam (2 dollars last time), and it’s only a 15-20 hour game.

    Worth trying at that price, but it can wait. Just keep it in mind if it sounds at all interesting to you.

  • bowlisimo 3:55 pm on November 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol   

    @angryjedi @sinfony Amen, and it’s refreshing to get away from the typical binary, be an asshole/don’t be an asshole, conversation responses. Sure, it can still boil down to that sometimes, but with this game the ways Thorton can respond are all contextual. Like, this guy is threatening me, do I stay calm? Do I get angry and threaten him back? Or do I make fun of him, like James Bond? All the while you’re aware of how that person may react, which could affect their opinion of you, and subsequently the way things play out down the line. Then that game changes completely if you’re talking to someone else, such as a no nonsense leader of another secret organization, or an old Russian information dealer you’re meeting in a bar. It’s also cool that if you do your spy homework by getting some dossier intel, you can get a leg up on these conversations.

    All of that, combined with the fact that you only have as long as it takes for the other person to finish talking to pick your responses, means they end up with fluid and often amazingly tense conversations.

    At the end of Mass Effect 2, I sat around for at least 5 minutes before I finally decided. Imagine how that could have been if you only had a few seconds to choose.

  • Pete Davison 11:41 pm on November 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol   

    @bowlisimo I played Alpha Protocol earlier this year. It’s brilliant. The fact that you can effectively make Thorton as complex a character as you want him to be through the conversation system is a masterstroke. And discussing this gives me an excuse to post this video. Spoilers, obv.


  • bowlisimo 3:57 pm on November 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol   

    @redswir1 Yeah, you bet your ass that game will at least be half off by the time Christmas rolls around. I hope you get it, we need a bigger pool of players for multiplayer, the more the merrier.

    In other news, Alpha Protocol surprised the hell out of me last weekend, especially with the low expectations I had going in. @cgrajko I’m sorry for doubting you.

    Here’s the deal, if you can handle a less interesting and less varied version of Human Revolution’s action, with a simplistic RPG leveling system instead of augs, and some general mechanical jank, there’s an awesome James Bond meets Burn Notice, globe trotting Sunday afternoon political thriller waiting for you. Seriously, the dialogue is great. It won’t be anything you haven’t seen before, but it hits all the right spy notes, and the plot runs red hot with the (timed!) consequence heavy DNA of the aforementioned Deus Ex, as well as Mass Effect, and a bit of Indigo Prophecy to boot.

    It’s too bad the game was largely forgotten by the majority of us last year, but with the way the third person action shakes out it’s not really hard to understand why. For me, I will point to Alpha Protocol’s genuine feeling conversations and character interaction and say, “THIS! MORE OF THIS, PLEASE!”.

  • unmanneddrone 8:26 am on August 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol, , , , , ,   

    @redswirl It’s hard to say what the quintessential cyberpunk game is…I’d say Deus Ex belongs to a clutch of titles that showcase the styling of this beloved geek-chic subset. Don’t forget the incredible Dreamweb from way back. I’d put that up there as a much more pure cyberpunk experience – taking its cues from the defining authors much more heavily. But, you’re right that Deus Ex is steeped in the thematics and aesthetics of cyberpunk or post-cyberpunk fiction and ideas.

    For me, the top three would be the original System Shock, Dreamweb, Syndicate and Deus Ex. A shortlist would include Uplink, Hacker Evolution, a slightly tenuous Omikron: The Nomad Soul and a little-known Aussie-made sandbox RPG called The Creed – think an open-ended RPG-lite Syndicate Wars – one that shipped with an incredibly deep mission creator; user-generated NPC logic chains and parameters, dialog options, the works. It’s existed on the PC in certain titles henceforth, but The Creed certainly blew my young idiotic mind back in 1998.

    Certainly looking forward to Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    In regards to @angryjedi’s always-enjoyable Whatchyabeenplayin’, let me throw down.

    Frozen Synapse @mjpilon and myself opened fire on each other for the first round of the tourney and by some stroke of luck, the deciding round had two bazookas on each team. Luckily, my rockets found some masonry to detonate against and bathed opponents in the warm wash of a high-explosive shockwave. HOWEVER, I must duck out of the tourney due to continued internet woes – woes that will now be fixed via the installation of fresh, faultless, flawless fabulous fibre-optics on the 20th of August. Thus, my worthy opponent, I had thee the baton and encourage you to make wurst from your bested opponents. Godspeed, @mjpilon.

    Alpha Protocol Oh how I wish I had the time to marathon games like the old days. Alpha Protocol would be done and dusted by now, but for what it’s worth, still enjoying it immensely. Rather janky in places, and certain areas feature some of the most pedestrian level design and furnishings I’ve seen in the modern gaming era, but you play for the conversations, and that’s what I’m enjoying most. And when the action sequences are this unreliable in terms of stealth mechanics (enemies either oblivious, or somehow they know you’re there from a mile away), I eschewed the stealth agent run and got busy with the Assault rifle proficiencies. Having a blast. I’ll keep the stealth antics for a more reliable system…like DE:HR or something. Or….

    Hitman Blood Money Doing another run on this in anticipation of the SoS mission. You really cannot beat Io Interactive for urban flavour. They craft the darkest and most delightful missions and scenarios. Looking forward to reading/hearing Squaddies’ thoughts on the game who’ve never played it prior. Contracts still reigns supreme for me, but Blood Money is definitely the most inventive and varied.

    Men of War: Assault Squad / RUSE Always going back and forth between these two. Nabbed the DLC packs for RUSE over the Steam Sales, so nuclear artillery, the Japanese faction and a nice selection of maps are now things to play with. Sad to see only one Pacific map, but the game at its heart really isn’t a grognardian RTS…it’s a beautiful real-time boardgame. Men of War…well…you know how I feel about that glorious RTT experience. Outside of the incredible physics and sheer danger enemies present, nothing beats taking direct control of an infantry flamethrower and flanking around a barn to hose a nest of German artillery with Yankee chilli-sauce. @beige and @bowlisimo, I do hope you fellows end up owning this one down the line. It’s great fun and terrific co-op.

    Supreme Commander 2 And finally, ol’ SupCom2. After fighting and besting an aggravating problem involving my Mobility Radeon and for some reason, it turning off geometry instancing (hideous graphical glitching thereafter), I’ve been continually enjoying just skirmishing against the computer. There are so many wonderful units and options within. Going back to what @bowlisimo said about the Chris Taylor titles being quite soulless, I’m in complete agreement…right up until SupCom2. I REMAIN IN A CONSTANT EROTIC TRYST WITH THIS TITLE. It’s a military science-fiction hardware lover’s wet dream. Dropships on automated deployment runs loading freshly-constructed ground units in batches of fifty, ferrying them to the front from the designated marshalling yards. Mobile shield generators flaring with every enemy shot made. Gargantuan experimental units thundering up out from their construction scaffolds and beginning their lumbering trek towards their rally point. Artillery raining down in salvoes of hundreds of shells, leaving the shattered hulks of quadruped gun platforms smoking and blackened. And need I remind the reader of an entire naval force crawling up the beach on newly-researched legs, their cannons brought to bear on the defenders?

    What’s more, SupCom2 has one of the best strategic zooms this side of AI Wars or, to a lesser extent (perhaps, more aptly, to a different extent), RUSE.

    It might look like a Michael Bay effort compared to the nuanced subtleties of Starcraft, but I would argue it’s as enjoyable and deep in its own way – just on a much grander scale. Amazing options in the tech tree to really direct what kind of force you’d like to build. More enjoyable for me, at least. Here’s a rather finely-soundtracked 4v4 video that sums it all up perfectly.

    How I wish these were marathon sessions, but home duties and scribble sessions dig into the gaming time. So, a mission here, a quarter-skirmish there, you know how it goes.

    I shall leave it there. I’ll be offline at home until the 20th, but will browse via phone and hopefully drop a few comments when I’m at work. Keep it up, Squaddies.

  • unmanneddrone 1:33 pm on July 10, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol, ,   

    @feenwager I’m going to get into Darkspore probably later in the year. Loved the beta and strange take on the loot ‘n’ level it had. A price drop is all it needs for me to jump in. I found the narrative quite charming/interesting in the beta. Rarely do you get such care put into a game of its ilk…though, many didn’t agree with me on that one. Ho hum.

    In the end, my Steam pile (this is my first Steam sale, would you believe!) ended as follows:

    • AI War: Fleet Command
    • Alpha Protocol
    • Audiosurf
    • C&C4
    • GTAIV+Episodes from Liberty City
    • Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light

    Plus, Civ V from Gamersgate slotted into Steam like a duck’s gut, as they say.

    Been playing a few hours of Alpha Protocol over the weekend, and wow…what a classy effort. Some bugs, like having to turn off forced AA in my ATI manager to stop invisible conversation text and reworking a few choices in the config INI to stop a strange flitting camera issue, but for someone who hasn’t really played an RPG for a while – not counting Ukrainian curiosities – it’s nice to dip one’s toes back in the water with AP. The dialogue/VA is a highlight, even if there’s a little mechanical jank here and there.

    I’d be interested to hear other Squaddies’ thoughts on this title.

  • bowlisimo 5:38 pm on November 29, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol   

    @cgrajko Ok, if STEAM does a “most popular sales” day today, I’ll jump on Alpha Protocol. Although, it does sound silly that a rigorously trained spy would start a mission not knowing how to fire a gun effectively…

    When RPG mechanics fail to translate.

  • unmanneddrone 1:09 am on November 25, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol, , , , ,   

    @RedSwirl You’re an addict, sir! A twitching, opportunistic, uncontrollable addict! And I would have done exactly the same, had I been in your shoes and packing the right hardware. It’s not often we get contemporary Western RPGs, so I say you’ve chosen wisely.

    In regards to the Marky Mark business and the Uncharted film…I don’t mean to be negative, but can anyone really see this movie being anything but average? Nathan Fillion wouldn’t have saved it, and I’m shocked people are so excited by the prospect of yet another game-to-cinema project. At best, as stated on @feenwager‘s FB, it’ll be on par with National Treasure. At worst, we’ll be looking at something comparable to Indy riding out a nuclear blast in a refrigerator. Uncharted 2 had great character interplay, a nice rollicking story, but I fear there’s too much of a balancing act of hitting the chords of the gameplay/narrative combo in the game and what needs to be achieved on the celluloid side of things to prevent a “been there done that, but nice fan service” affair. Prince of Persia seemed to have everything going for it, but fared rather poorly!

    I’ll be happy to eat my words, though.

    Oh, and I have a very dishonourable, dog-like revenge against the hardened @angryjedi SWAT team. May I present “Nuke to a Knifefight”, or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Bazooka. http://bit.ly/gRpXlQ

    One thing’s for sure, had Pete’s Bazooka survived that encounter (in my experience, a CQC Bazooka face-off is as efficient as a waxen teabag until you can connect a rocket with a wall – hence the gamble rush), I would have been looking at at least two of my men going home in boxes within the first two turns.

    EDIT: Following in the glory of @angryjedi’s brother’s classy showcase of racing kindness, @poimandre has stepped up to the plate and kindly ordered me a copy of Nail’d! Racer inundation! I hope sometime in the new year a few squaddies with a lingering predilection for high-speed offroad insanity join in on the craziness. Here’s a taste of the Polish underdog.

  • unmanneddrone 10:55 pm on November 24, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol,   

    @bowlisimo Man, one of the biggest travesties of the modern era is the loss of the tactical planning mode in the new Rainbow Six games. I think it’s why FS hits that wonderful chord. You’re right, too, those icy blue hues are all sorts of Introversion-esque goodness. If you’re keen, jump into FS! It’d make for a nice little slew of games between @angryjedi and myself. A small tourney wouldn’t go astray.

    And Alpha Protocol. As soon as the reviews came out and said it’s a busted misfire, my interest was piqued immensely. 🙂

  • bowlisimo 10:09 pm on November 24, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Alpha Protocol,   

    @RedSwirl Not clear on that, my guess would be no (because they can’t give you a game that isn’t released, right?), but who knows.

    Anyone try Alpha Protocol? $7.50 is pretty cheap, even if they said it was a poorly designed game with great dialogue.

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