Alpha Protocol Review & Strategy Guide by Honorabili
One Sentence Review:
“A great RPG despite its shortcomings.”
7 out of 10
Overview & Replayability:
In Alpha Protocol, you take the role of Michael Thornton a secret agent for a “does not exist” US Government intelligence agency by the name of “Alpha Protocol”. The plot of the game quickly consists of you getting screwed over by the agency and its master Halbech (a Halliburton-like company, although Halbech is a military weapons manufacturer and Halliburton is focused on energy/oil) and you set out to get revenge/expose them/cause chaos/sell out to “the man”.
The storyline was very engaging and I might actually replay this game in the future. The characters feel like actual people who have personalities and do respond based on your actions and your attitude. The game pops up a reaction rather than a sentence of text like every other RPG and you have a short amount of time to react (like real life conversations).Alpha Protocol Main Character RPG dialogue options
If for instance a character likes joking around and you’re acting “professional” and by-the-book they’ll think your character is an asshole and they won’t get along with you. I, for example, got along with most people because I just told them what they wanted to hear and I became the best friend of some character that’s a loose cannon CIA agent that is usually like a serial killer that cleans up their dirty laundry (he literally owns a laundromat in Taiwan).
The game feels a lot like the first Deus Ex game in the sense that it has very good characters that are innovative. Just because they send you on a mission to kill someone doesn’t mean that they are a badguy or that they deserve to die. In fact, my guy was so charismatic (with me at the helm, ahem, of course) that I befriended everybody pretty much in the game, even the villains.
I have a feeling that there are many paths of outcomes regarding letting people live or die in the game and each time you make a choice it changes the total outcome of the game. THIS IS A GREAT THING TO HAVE IN A GAME. This kind of thing makes me want to replay a game even if simply to see all the endings and outcomes. I did it before with Fallout 2 (it had like 50 possible variables for the ending) and Blade Runner (this game had 300 different endings, check it out) and I’ll do it again with Alpha Protocol. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the game has this since the lead designer was Chris Avellone which is legendary for that kind of logic branching in such games as Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, KOTOR 2, and Neverwinter Nights 2.
The game is very enjoyable and overall most of the way it was made are great but why did I give it a score of 7? The game has a big problem and that’s where most people will just say “fuck this shit”. That problem lies where the controls of the game are…
Controls & Gameplay & Fun Factor:
Overall, the controls respond too slow, especially looking around with the camera which is a deadly problem in an action/fps kind of game. Sometimes I found myself dying saying “where the fuck did that guy come from” because I was too busy trying to aim my gun and some guy just ninja teleports by me (it felt like it) and filled me up with 4 bullets from a heavy pistol or unloaded an uzi into me. I did play it at the max difficulty though but a lot of the time because of how slow the camera panning is on top of making the right mouse aim mode shit when at close range, I was forced to melee the guys and usually the computer can outmicro your attacks and you will die like a bitch.
But… that’s not really my biggest problem with the game. The biggest problem I had is that I had to continually make my guy buy emp bomb/grenade supplies because the hacking system in the game is so terrible. I played this game on a PC and I have both a mouse and keyboard, which are usually vastly superior to me over a gaming controller for a console or joystick (for these kind of games, not arcade games). The way the hacking works is that there is a series of words and letters at the top left and top right of the screen which you have to match up in an ocean of changing letters and numbers. In that ocean, the two sequences of numbers and letters will be there (most of the time) and you have to put the sequence code on top of the corresponding one and press spacebar for the top left one which you control with the keyboard and the left mouse button that you control with the mouse. While doing all this you have a time limit and if you put it in the wrong place or the code changed place you lose ten seconds of time each time. I’m really really good at identifying sequences BUT the controls were really bad and no matter how many times I pressed the corresponding key on the keyboard to move the sequence around the speed at which it can move around is FIXED meaning that even if you press down 6 times in one second, it will only move down one row every second, just about. The other part which you control with the mouse is even worse. If you want to know how bad it is, it’s as hard as trying to drive a car in a racing game with a mouse. I’m not kidding.
Alpha Protocol Sis and papa
As as result of the shittiness of the controls for the hacking I just loaded up with EMP supplies to just skip all the hacking in the game. There is also the security alarm hacking which just makes you pick paths to a reverse puzzle but that is at least beatable although I hate it when they gave you 10 paths to follow in just 18-20 seconds worth of time. You might as well be defusing a real bomb in real life, it felt like it. The only puzzle part that is easy is the lockpicking and I can’t complain about that. I give the controls for the action part a score of 5 out of 10. They should have tested this game more.
Below is a screenshot of how you can’t sometimes shoot through a door that you could in real life:
The game plays like a Splinter Cell kind of 3rd person stealther shooter but to me I just made it be a shooter, especially since the stealth missions are fucking impossible. If you like playing games like that, you will enjoy the gameplay. I give Gameplay a score of 6 out of 10. It’s not the best but the RPG element makes up for it, and by that I don’t mean the leveling up, which this game has but the element of dealing with characters that are real people with real agendas.
I genuinely had fun playing this game and it didn’t feel like “let me just play this crap to review it.” I wondered what characters I would meet next and liked seeing characters with different philosophies interact and fight with each other. Fun Factor gets a score of 8 out of 10. Some of the bugs were FRUSTRATING but the rest was FUN.
Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:
I only played this game on hard and it was at times a GREAT challenge. I don’t know what the lower difficulties are like and I don’t care to. The problem that it has is that this game does NOT let you change the difficulty in-game once the game started. If it’s too hard for you you’ll either quit and go play something else or you will start all over again… from the beginning, which I doubt. Just make sure you’re up to the challenge and suck it up! Difficulty gets a score of 8 out of 10, especially for parts like being stuck in a mansion where they took all your gear and everybody you meet is a martial arts expert with a shotgun, pistol, or uzi! Difficulty Versatility fails because it doesn’t let you change the difficulty and that will piss off a lot of players. It gets Difficulty Versatility of 2 out of 10.
I would say that I recommend renting this game or borrowing it from somebody rather than buying it. I would say it’s safe to buy it for 10 bucks because it’s not that much and hopefully by the time that this game costs that little they fixed all the bugs (which I doubt). If you want to check it out anyways, GoGamer has it for around 40 bucks right now. Gamestop also sells it for 40-50 bucks right now. Steam has it as well. At that price Value is terrible for me and I would not get it! Value gets a score of 2 out of 10 at that price. The game took me about 12 hours to beat. Anything that has under 30, 50, or 100+ hours I usually recommend renting or borrowing.
The guns sounded pretty authentic as well as glass breaking and other similar sound effects like the alarms and doors opening or shattering. The voice acting was really well done as well and it helped a lot with the role-playing dialogue process. Sound gets a score of 9 out of 10.
The music for this game was actually really great. It gives a great feeling of a spy environment as well as it’s exciting enough to keep a feeling of suspense running most of the time during the game.
The authors of the music are BT (Brian Wayne Transeau) and Jason Graves. I give the Music a score of 10 out of 10 because I pretty much enjoyed the songs for every part of the game, even the few slow parts (for which there weren’t many).
I had the game crash and make my Windows XP run out of memory when I had it alt-tabbed and watched 2 hours worth of video at the same time. Other than that there was a buggy part that forced me to crash the game after completing the 3rd or 4th mission. Those were the only times the game ever crashed on me and I did alt-tab more after that crash. Stability/Reliability gets a score of 8 out of 10.
Sis and her “dad”
Graphics & Performance:
The game uses the UT3 engine but I found the performance laggy at times. Most of the time the performance is fine but when it lag-spikes, it’s really god-awful and that sometimes ends up getting you killed. I found this happens a lot when there is some crazy action about to happen and then some character talks to you especially one over the headset (such as the mission handler). The graphics look nice and they get a score of 7 out of 10. Not the best but not too bad either. There were parts that you could see a character that was trying to walk through a door, like in Thief: The Dark Project. Performance though gets punished because it lagged when I needed it specifically NOT TO. Performance gets a score of 4 out of 10 because of the timing of the lag-spikes.
Sis is a hot mute!
Conclusion of Review:
Although this game has its annoying parts it’s worth at least checking out. Give it a chance. If you do, it’ll grow on you.
Hot Russian Mercenary Babe rawr
Strategy Guide for Alpha Protocol:
As far as armor goes get anything that gives you damage resistance first, then anything that boosts endurance. This will be very important especially on the missions where there are TONS of guys assaulting you. Anything that boosts your health or life is great too.
As far as the weapons of choice, max out assault rifles as that to me is the main weapon to use in the game. You will see this when you fight bosses, especially annoying ones that snipe or ones that will just rape you like the Russian guy that’s obsessed with 80s shit and that loves using dual uzis and knife stabs up close!
Fuck stealth, go full combat build. Fuck hacking, get EMP supplies. Put the rest on one or two slots worth of healing supplies. You can just rape the game with the assault rifle, especially if you headshot everybody. For fun, I made my guy have the shotgun as the secondary weapon. The submachine gun was probably the worst weapon since it had no accuracy.
As far as purchasing info on the blackmarket get anything which increases your intelligence profiles and don’t bother to buy dumb shit like a sniper rifle which you can’t carry in the rest of the map anyways.
There will be one mission where you are in the mansion and they took all your weapons away. This would have been a good time to have put stuff into martial arts training but if you’re like me, you probably didn’t. When you run out to the balcony RUN fast as you can and hit the guy that has the heavy pistol, I found that if I make my guy turn a little and I spam the melee attack it increases the chance dramatically of hitting the computer because he won’t block as well. That’s the only tip I have as far as what I found to be hardest part of the game. I died like a little bitch in that part, probably 40 times in a row until I figured it out. Here’s a screenshot of me getting raped: