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Forums > Submission Feedback > Suskie's Alpha Protocol review

This thread is in response to a review for Alpha Protocol on the Xbox 360. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Genj
Posted: June 22, 2010 (09:05 AM)
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I was waiting for you to review this. Sounds like it isn't a lost cause, but I think I'll still be waiting for additional price drops since it still sounds far from amazing. The game is selling like shit anyway so I'm sure it'll be even cheaper soon. Thanks for writing this.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 22, 2010 (12:30 PM)
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No problem. Yeah, I definitely wouldn't recommend that anyone buy it at full price, but I would recommend that anyone who's interested try it out at some point. I think our old friend Draqq over at Game Revolution put it well: "If thereís one thing that is certain about Alpha Protocol, itís that youíre going to have an opinion on it that at least one-third of gamers will disagree with."

Because really, Alpha Protocol is brilliant. It's just also a mess.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Ben
Posted: June 22, 2010 (01:37 PM)
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Great review. I was already leaning towards trying out Alpha Protocol based on other reviews, but you fully convinced me that it'll most likely be a game that I'll enjoy (for the most part).

Though, like Genj, I'll wait for a price drop first.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: June 22, 2010 (02:40 PM)
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I'll admit that I wasn't terribly interested in Alpha Protocal before reading this review, but you've piqued my interest while also letting me know that some of the issues that I built up in my mind without playing the game are--as expected--quite genuine. I'm getting pretty good at judging games like this by their cover, I guess. Maybe I've played too many video games. Still, despite the score of 7/10, I think that this sounds like something I might enjoy in spurts and that's more than I could have said before your well-constructed review. I think you may be the person on the site who writes the reviews taht I find most convincing on a gut level that hits my wallet. That's no small accomplishment, so keep up the good work!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 22, 2010 (06:14 PM)
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Thanks for the comments. This was actually an extremely difficult review to write, simply because I was so conflicted about it. I wasn't kidding when I said that I had to play through the game twice before I could come to any sort of conclusion about how I felt towards this game. I'm glad to see my thoughts seem to have come through, at least.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: fleinn
Posted: June 23, 2010 (04:47 AM)
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:) really like the review, Suskie. Good approach with the "on the one hand, but" - sounds like that mirrors the game. Definitively going to pick this up eventually.

"That’s almost as good, though, because it makes everything about Alpha Protocol no less than tolerable." ->..makes everything horribly wrong about Alpha Protocol tolerable?

..How do the levels play out, by the way? Do you go down a virtual corridor until the boss, or do you get a lot of mission things in between?


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 23, 2010 (04:55 PM)
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"Thatís almost as good, though, because it makes everything about Alpha Protocol no less than tolerable." ->..makes everything horribly wrong about Alpha Protocol tolerable?

Well, that's what I was talking about in the preceding two paragraphs. Basically, the Michael Thorton I started out with under Recruit was so horribly underpowered that the game appeared frustratingly broken. Unlocking skills made the weapons more useful, the AI less of an annoyance, etc.

I tried to limit what I said in this review at the risk of rambling, but one of the things I would have liked to discuss in greater detail was the variety in mission design. Much of it is typical spy thriller stuff, where you're sent to a warehouse or a terrorist hideout or something and given a list of simple objectives (secure this intelligence, take down this villain, etc.). But there's plenty of variety in the types of locales you visit, and what exactly you're doing. I also liked the missions where you'd simply meet with a contact or informant, since the conversation system is one of the best things about Alpha Protocol.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:04 PM)
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...Yep, something's definitely wrong with the HTML coding.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Genj
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:04 PM)
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Let me see

hmmm

edit - yankees suck


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:05 PM)
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Test

Oh. Lower-case works, then.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Ben
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:07 PM)
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Ignore.

EDIT: Oh, I ordered Alpha Protocol earlier today. It was already less than half-price on Amazon, which seems ridiculous to me. I guess it means sales have been abysmal.


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Author: Genj
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:08 PM)
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Oh so you were using capital letters for the html tags?

Why would you make more work for yourself?

edit - venter's crappy etc


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:09 PM)
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Well, see, you need to hold down the shift key anyway to type greater than and less than symbols, so actually, the act of releasing the shift key and then pressing it again is more work. So there.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Genj
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:10 PM)
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It was already less than half-price on Amazon, which seems ridiculous to me. I guess it means sales have been abysmal.

Huh, really? Still $40 on US Amazon. Then again don't games start out at around $80 USD in Europe? If VG Charts is correct, it's only at around 200,000 units sold worldwide. I'm not biting until $25ish.

edit - Constantly applying pressure with one finger is too much work for me.


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Author: Ben
Posted: June 23, 2010 (05:13 PM)
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Huh, really? Still $40 on US Amazon. Then again don't games start out at around $80 USD in Europe?

I bought it for £21 on Amazon UK when RRP was £50. Maybe it's doing worse in Europe?


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: June 23, 2010 (11:35 PM)
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I eliminated a few italic-codes and things don't look fucked up now. In the event the things that were italicized were quotes by others, I'd guess things are code-fucked badly, as from entering "edit-mode" everything looked A-OK.

EDIT: No...the coded stuff that was fucking everything up on at least the "last 50 posts" page seems to be non-quotes with proper markings that didn't work. Anything that looks like intentional italics works right, but there were a few randomly placed ones I deleted that didn't work and turned an entire page into italics.


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Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: June 26, 2010 (03:20 AM)
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I'm very much broke, Suskie, so I have a question for you before I run out and spend the money I don't have on this.

It will be your fault, too, when I can't eat next week. Maybe I'll call it the "Suskie Diet..."

My question is, simply, is this a 7 or an 8? I know we're getting into score questions here, but there's a deeper meaning to this. What I'm seeing from your review is that this is a game that is replayable, has a great setting, and is one that you'll want to try over and over. My question is, with all of that, where does the drop to an average-seeming 7 come in? I'm not distrusting your review, mind you, I'm just trying to clarify. My big fear is that it would be the kind of replayability that left me feeling like I was doing the same thing over and over, once I'd figured out the proper way to do it. Is that the case?


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: June 26, 2010 (02:07 PM)
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First of all, know that a 7 on my rating scale is very much above average. Of course, you're better off interpreting the text of the review and coming to a conclusion about the game yourself, which obviously you're trying to do.

There are a lot of things I love about Alpha Protocol, but there are also a lot of things that hold it back from ever being "great," in my book. Like I said, many elements of the game (many of which have been commonplace in the gaming world for ages, like stealth and cover-based combat) feel clunky and dated at best. Alpha Protocol defines unpolished. It's ugly, it's buggy, it's unbalanced, the mechanics never feel smooth and the AI is finicky as all living hell. Realistically, there is no reason a game this unpolished should exist in today's gaming market, and that's where the disappointingly low score comes from.

But then again, there are things that Alpha Protocol does brilliantly that would appeal to any serious RPG fan. Consider the positive things I had to say about the game in my review: the story, the conversations, the NPC relationships, the freedom of choice, and the flexibility in character creation. If that all sounds appealing to you, then know that there's enough of that in Alpha Protocol to override what the game does wrong.

As far as replayability is concerned, I'd be surprised if anyone who legitimately enjoys Alpha Protocol isn't looking forward to another run by the time the credits roll. The story really is ludicrously open-ended. I can't overstate that. Don't think in terms of Mass Effect-style moral choices, where all of your decisions more or less lead to the same end anyway, but where you define the character along the way. That sort of thing is fine, of course, but Alpha Protocol is precisely the other way around: Michael Thorton always has the same distinct personality, and it's up to you to direct him. And while the basic plot is the same every time you play the game, there really are drastic large-scale consequences to every major decision you make. You'll see them, I have no doubt.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: June 26, 2010 (04:58 PM)
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Cool! Thanks for the post-review and I think you've sold me.

!@#$! you for that.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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