Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Wednesday, 13 July 2011 05:00
Alpha Protocol was one of those games that flew under people’s radar in 2009. The game was published by Sega who had hopes the game would be successful enough to spawn some sequels as an original IP. This 3rd person, espionage-RPG is a unique concept and is well worth its current going rate.
Alpha Protocol is a unique gaming experience since its focus revolves around third person action stealth. But the game also focuses on the underlying character customization from abilities, armor, and weapons. Every time players level they can place skill points in shotguns, pistols, stealth, martial arts, technology, etc. Every weapon and piece of armor is upgradable and designed to be tweaked between missions to fit your playing style. Want to run and gun? Take a weapon and the "ability load out" that best fits for the situation, for example critical hits, and the ability to chain pistol shots together in a combo. How about running around stealth-like, disabling alarms, and hacking electronics to use against the enemies? Simply choose the abilities, armor, and weapons that best fit this play style.
In many ways Alpha Protocol is a lot like Deus Ex, a game that was more then an FPS. In the case of Alpha Protocol, a game that is more than generic action, there is stealth and a lot of RPG options. Both games crossed genres and tried to take things in a different direction. The mixture of elements in Alpha Protocol help to keep the game interesting despite a few flaws.
These so called flaws are what hold the game back from being Deus Ex greatness. The cover system seems broken, as enemies could shoot right through the cover. And the AI seems to be questionable. In a lot of the combat situations with multiple enemies I could just blast my way through everyone with little trouble. The graphics also seem a little dated. Players cannot skip cut screens, that’s more of a personal irritation for me. The dialogue options were interesting, forcing gamers to pick between an aggressive, professional, or calm/suave choices while an irrititating count down timer was running.
The story is an interesting weave of espionage and betrayal, there are some romantic elements and interactions between the main character Michael Thorton and his cohorts. The dialogue and character interactions are what make the game shine. I also had a blast with the hand-to-hand combat. The lurking big question here, is Alpha Protocol worth your gaming dollar? Even if you dislike RPGs, Alpha Protocol is more of an action game that uses RPG elements. I’d say the game is 10-15 hours long, with multiple endings, and at $20 or less its worth the investment. In fact, its a great game to pick up and play for the dry month of July.