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Suskie Susquatch

Title: Two excellent articles on The Escapist that sum up some of my biggest thoughts on Alpha Protocol.
Posted: June 25, 2010 (05:58 PM)
For those who are still debating whether or not to check Alpha Protocol out -- and this is something you should definitely be quietly debating with yourself if you're a role-playing fan -- allow me to direct you towards two recent articles on The Escapist that both make very valid and insightful points about the game.

First, there's this week's Extra Punctuation. For those of you who don't know, Yahtzee Croshaw (the guy who does Zero Punctuation, and in fact reviewed the game last week) has a weekly column in which he elaborates on points he made in his most recent video. He's semi-serious about it and he occasionally makes arguments that I agree with.

This week, he talked about why the forced boss battles in Alpha Protocol detract from the game's play-as-you-want attitude, and how offering the player extra freedom in character customization may make the game harder than it should have been. This is essentially required reading for anyone who plans to play the game and doesn't want to run into dead-ends down the road when faced with bosses they can't handle (and I see Fastkilr already ran into this problem, as he noted in the gaming progress thread). Yahtzee also points out that Deus Ex is one of the few games that really does allow players to complete the game however they want. Alpha Protocol should have been that game's second coming, but it fell just short.

Secondly, Shamus Young (who actually beat Yahtzee to the punch on the boss battle issue in the most recent episode of his comic strip, Stolen Pixels) wrote up a rather compelling argument in the game's favor in today's Experienced Points. He tackles the concept of "role-playing," and how Alpha Protocol is still more about choices than most other games on the market. He draws some comparisons between the design strategies of Bethesda, BioWare and Obsidian; namely, he illustrates why Bethesda's games have recently failed to hold my attention, why BioWare's middle ground works well and why Obsidian should by all means rule this genre. He paints a flattering picture of Alpha Protocol which should really sell the game for what it accomplishes.
[reply]

BenUser: Ben
Title: Re: Two excellent articles on The Escapist that sum up some of my biggest thoughts on Alpha Protocol
Posted: June 25, 2010 (06:47 PM)
I just found out that the HTML messed up here because the topic title exceeded the character limit, so the "/i>" was cut off.

Anyway, I've spent a bit of time on the game today, and I finished Saudi. I dared to try Recruit -- if I do end up playing it a second time, I wouldn't mind having Veteran available to me. I've been pumping all of my points exclusively to either Pistols or Stealth; it was tough at the start (with no AP to spend) until I got to Pistols Rank 2, which allowed me to critical hit guys. I've not really run into trouble since then despite the occasional death, though I've been using hand-to-hand quite a bit. I'm considering investing in Martial Arts later on as a result. Also, if I did that, Mike Thorton would be like Jason Bourne!

I'm liking it so far. It's pretty engaging, particularly the dialogue stuff, but some of the smaller aspects are unsatisfying like the shooting (hence why I've been using hand-to-hand at close range, I guess, when the alarm's sounded).
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: Two excellent articles on The Escapist that sum up some of my biggest thoughts on Alpha Protocol
Posted: June 25, 2010 (09:56 PM)
In one of the Saudi missions, I was trying to kill a guy who was relatively far away with my not-yet-proficient pistol. I was waiting for the reticle to shrink every time, yet I was literally wasting entire clips on the guy and his health meter wasn't budging. Meanwhile he literally would not stop throwing grenades at my exact spot, by which I mean I would step away to dodge a grenade, run back, fire a few useless shots and then run away to dodge another grenade, and so on. I eventually just said "screw it" and went in for a close kill. I think that was the moment when I decided Alpha Protocol wasn't a great game.

Still, glad to hear you're enjoying it despite its problems and Recruit. Enjoy the extra ten achievement points, haha.
[reply]

BenUser: Ben
Title: Re: Two excellent articles on The Escapist that sum up some of my biggest thoughts on Alpha Protocol
Posted: June 26, 2010 (12:08 PM)
Yeah, it's a shame some of the stuff isn't better designed. For instance, I just defeated Brayko after several attempts, and he was a fucking pain with a stealth-orientated character. Definitely the least favourite moment of the game so far.
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SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: Two excellent articles on The Escapist that sum up some of my biggest thoughts on Alpha Protocol
Posted: June 26, 2010 (02:25 PM)
Yeah, Brayko is easily the worst single moment of the game. First time I played, I saved Moskow for last and had fantastic assault rifle proficiency by that point, and I still had trouble with him. Thankfully, the remainder of the boss battles aren't nearly as bad (with the possible exception of Omen Dang).

I kinda want to try taking on Brayko with martial arts maxed out. It probably wouldn't work, but imagine how awesome it would be if it did?
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