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Alpha Protocol (Xbox 360)

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3.1
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Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Jun 18, 2011
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars

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Summary

Maybe a little too rough

The Good

Sneaking around and trying to avoid enemies is a lot of fun and requires a lot more skill than simply firing your way through the levels. The game also rewards going through levels without alarms going-off or enemies dying, which is a good way to stimulate the player to act like a real spy. I also liked how you could upgrade your stealth, so you would receive bonuses that would prove invaluable to people who aren't that good at stealth, this made using stealth a lot easier for people who are used to shooters.

A lot of this game made a lot of sense to me, like how you shouldn't be able to spend government funds during undercover missions and how it was often a better idea to offend people in order to keep their feelings from interfering with the missions. This made me feel like the developers took their time to figure out how to make the premise of a secret government agency work, this is also interesting material for the story because people will often offer you better jobs by promising a different treatment.

The Bad

While sneaking is the most interesting mechanic in this game, it feels like it also has to be an action-game and that you can't possibly have a climactic boss-fight without cover-based combat. This thought is probably what killed the game for me. Whenever you have to fight a boss character he will run around the room and fire bullets at you that have four times as much impact as they normally do, they avoid every gadget you throw at them and you can't use stealth. Unless you focus all your points into weapons and toughness, there is no way to make it past these boss-fights without a ton of luck.

If you did focus all your points in combat-related skills you will have a hard time during missions, when you are forced to hack computers and open locked doors. Sometimes stealth is a requirement because there are enemies around that you aren't allowed to kill because they are innocent (cops, government-officials, etc.). The best way to do this kind of game would be to have different ways to complete your task, but apparently the producer's thought this was the better way. Consider this an expansion on the problem I mentioned in the previous paragraph because it's pretty much the same problem.

At first I wanted to praise the story because I personally thought it wasn't that complicated, but then I realized that I just looking at the summary of it. I wanted to say that the story was just about a government agency licking the boots of a military contractor and that you, an ex-agent, has to expose their boot-licking, but that meant I was ignoring almost everything. There are a dozen factions involved, some of which were only mentioned once or twice like the inappropriately named NSB (Dutch Nazi-party?) and all the characters are a mess of secrets and conspiracies. Aside from Steven Heck, there was just nothing amusing about this story.

This game wants to be James Bond so bad, that I feel sorry for it. The music in the boot-menu already sound very Bond-ish to me and I swear some of the locations reminded me of levels I played on the Nintendo Game-cube (like one in a big mansion full of paintings). I don't understand why Obsidian didn't just make this a bond-game, I am sure that whoever owns the rights to these games would be very impressed by this game's depth.

I don't get why every gun-type is considered a separate skill and the game constantly throws items at you for guns you don't use. Who in the world is ever going to pour all his points into shotguns? A shotgun only works on short-range, what are you going to do when you have to fight in an open-field?, cry in a corner? It would have made much more sense to have skills like "precision" or "Rambo" that change the ways you use the guns and this would also make it easier to switch to a secondary weapon.

The Bottom Line

While sneaking around and putting knives into people's throats is a lot of fun, it's not enough to save this game from the sinking ship it's chained to. You can't offer people to focus on gadgets and sneaking, but still confront them with boss-fights people can only win by shooting at them until their incredibly long health-bars disappear. That and the lack of a decent story and the constant feeling that you are playing a different, much better game (James Bond) are what kills this game for me.

I didn't finish this game because I abandoned it when I had to fight a boss that would kill me if I wasn't in cover for six seconds and was constantly sending the same pesky soldiers after me. This wouldn't have been such a big deal to me, if I wasn't forced to run through the part before this boss-fight, firing at enemies like I was crazy, just because there was a time limit and I didn't have any long-range weapons that could help me with the goons that waited for me across the mine-fields . I was having fun for a while, but eventually that sinking ship will catch up with you.