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Alpha Protocol Review

The sea of reviews out there right now are not looking very good for Alpha Protocol, and now it’s time for me to throw my two cents in there and see if I can’t turn the tide (see what I did there…nautical jokes are awesome).

Alpha Protocol is the story of Agent Michael Thorton.  After being sent on his first mission for “Alpha Protocol” and subsequently being betrayed and left out in the cold, he must now use his vast knowledge of spy gear, weapons, tactics and manipulation to fully uncover the conspiracy that caused him to be burned in the first place.  Thorto is on his own with the exception of the few friends he still has in “Alpha Protocol” and the enemies that you turn along the way.

So far the story is fantastic.  If it were a book I probably wouldn’t put it down until it was finished, but that is not the case with this game.  What really does help is the fact that the voice acting was superbly done; you can obviously see that a lot of time and care went into crafting the story and choosing the right actors.  Too bad that same care didn’t go into the actual gameplay.

The Dialogue Stance system, “DSS”, is a pretty cool feature.  With it you are able to choose how to approach a situation or handle a person to avoid a situation or even provoke one into starting.  Be careful what you say because you can end an alliance or start one you didn’t intend to, or you can totally cock block yourself.

When you level up the screen looks exactly like that of Mass Effect.  You can choose what areas you want to upgrade, and by upgrading certain categories you will unlock special action skills for your radial to use during gameplay.

Shooting your weapon is completely worthless, seeing as how your bullets are only hitting maybe 1 out of 5 times.  Instead of your reticle starting all close in for a kill shot and spreading ever wider if you hold down your trigger (basically teaching you to be conservative with your shots), it’s completely the opposite.  When you aim at an enemy you have to wait for the reticles to align for the shot, which takes FOREVER, and by the time you actually have a shot you have no health left.  Now, you’re probably asking, well, what about when they rush you as they get closer?  The spread shouldn’t matter because they are in the targeted area, right?  Nope, it will actually miss even more.  I was clearly aimed right at an enemy’s face numerous times, where their face is pretty much all you can see, firing away, and they took zero damage, so I just used my melee attack.  I have actually taken to just leveling up my martial arts skills so I can just bum rush an enemy and beat the crap out of them.

The Stealth system is pretty much a joke.  A handy tool is the auto evasion, but you have to level your stealth high enough to activate it.  Just about every location is engulfed in industrial strength flood lights or just straight up daylight, and the few location that I have come across that had an absence of light still seems damn near impossible to sneak by undetected, because apparently even when drenched in darkness and crouching and hiding behind object the Enemy AI can still seem to see you and signal an alarm even if they are the only enemy around and are nowhere near an alarm console.

When the controls are just plain bad it puts a real bad taste in my mouth, and this game makes it seem like that smoking hot chick at the party you wanna hook up with finally notices you, comes over and kisses you, only to puke in your mouth.  Half the time I would be crouched behind cover and Michael would just start creeping out into the line of sight of the enemy, but I’m not touching the the controller.

The Good:

  • The story is completely engaging (but would rather have searched the internet for videos of cut scenes).
  • The voice acting is fantastic considering the quality of gameplay.
  • The Dialogue Stance system is pretty cool.

The Bad

  • Aiming in this game is pure crap; how they even released the game with it being that bad is beyond me.
  • The stealth system is practically non-existent.
  • Controls are not intuitive.
  • The leveling up screen is basically a complete rip off of Mass Effect.

Honestly, if you have the patience of a Saint, then rent this game, otherwise avoid it.  I was sitting on my couch the other day playing Alpha Protocol, going into maybe my fourth hour, just crying on the inside when a storm knocked my power out.  I have never been so happy in my life, I jumped off my couch thanking Jesus for the first time in a long time.

Final Verdict

2.5 out of 5