I play modern games (Alpha Protocol)

Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -
Hey all, with all the new releases and such, I really haven't gotten around to much old game playing. However, because I feel obligated (and because AP was made by Obsidian, who used to be part of black isle, who made or published some of the best RPGs of the past decade, so it's kinda connected), I've decided to blog about this game, which I finished around 20 minutes ago. Did I like it? Or was it a terrible mish-mash of poor gameplay and disappointing story contrivances?  Read on!
 
Well, that answer is obviously the second one. Alpha Protocol is a game that totally has its merits and its moments, but the problem is that those merits and moments are
 It is, in fact, an "RPG" that also has espionage.
all fairly slight when compared to the glaring issues that encompass that entire product, especially when you consider that Mass Effect 2 came out 5 months prior. Considering the stories floating around about this game's troubled development, it's obviously not all Obsidian's fault (then again, that seems to be a pattern. Was KotOR 2 not rushed to shelves when it could have used at least another 6 months of development? For the record, that may perhaps be the single most disappointing title I have ever encountered.) It's not that I don't think Obsidian is capable of making good RPGs (Not counting the obvious pedigree, NWN2 was a perfectly fine, albeit somewhat by the numbers CRPG, and I think that New Vegas is an actively better game than Fallout 3, extensive technical issues aside). I just think they lack consistency. But enough about the developer, what about the game?
 
First off, the story, and because I feel like building something up before I wreck it, I'll start with the positives. What it does right is make your choices feel like they have impact, and it pulls it off well (regardless of whether they actually have impact or not). I generally went out of my way to not piss people off, and that usually paid dividends with less people generally trying to shoot me.  At least, until the end when I kind of capped everyone I had the opportunity to. They all deserved it. The game also does a pretty good job at avoiding black and white morality, and acknowledging your prior actions when people speak to you. At no point did any of that feel particular or contrived, at least until the end when it all goes to shit. Maybe it was the way I rushed through the endgame, or the choices I made, but a lot of story threads that I read about (on "the internets") never cropped themselves up, and at the end I wasn't entirely sure what my Thorton had accomplished.  It left a bad taste in my mouth.
 
 The ultimate problem with Micheal Thorton is that he's kind of an uninteresting prick. The lack of motivation to roleplay him consistently doesn't help either.
However, the ultimate problem with all these characters and story threads is that, for the most part, they're boring. Micheal Thorton, regardless of what dialog options picked, always kind of comes of as a bit of a dick, and the delivery of the voice actor doesn't help either. Not to mention, sticking to one particular role playing direction for Thorton usually is counter-productive, as that will always piss of at least one important faction. Your handler, Mina Tang never bothers to make herself a likable or sympathetic character, and as a result she was kind of just a droning voice in my ear (not to mention, as a romanceable character, she kind of sucks when compared to all the alien action that Commander Shepard gets). Some of the side characters are fairly interesting, such as the villainously professional Marburg (voiced by Jim Cummings, most notable in video games for being the voice of Minsc in Baldur's Gate. Also the voice of Winnie the Pooh), but for the most part the dullness and archetypal-ness extends to pretty much everyone you encounter. For well as Nolan North does the voice of the absolutley unhinged Stephen Heck, the character himself is entirely one sided and cartoonish. And then, the setting. I appreciate the modern setting, but the problem with all things set in "modern times" as well as all "espionage thrillers", is that they all kind of fall into the same story traps of evil shadow corporations (oh what a surprise. The main villain is totally an evil capitalist who is totally evil and capitalistic. And you find this out 1/5th through the story), unaccountable secret agencies, and so on and so forth. I did appreciate the part where there were no WMDs at stake, though, I'll give it that much.
 
However, something that isn't modern (oh snap. That was a transition), is the gameplay. Somehow, the shooting in Alpha Protocol makes the gunplay in the first Mass Effect look like Gears by comparison. Apparently, a trained special agent is incapable of hitting the broad side of a barn with an assault rifle, and when he does hit the enemies still all take forever to murder. The part where the enemy AI is totally retarded doesn't help either, occasionally rushing up to you and doing melee attacks for no reason. However, this retarded AI is more of a problem when you play stealth, as I did. It's erratic, unpredictable, and always catches you in the worst time. At least, until you unlock the power that makes you invisible. The ultimate version lasts 24 seconds and allows you to stab as many people in the neck as possible within its time limit. This kind of doubles as easy mode, but that doesn't make any of it actually fun. So, in conclusion, the gameplay is bad. Not unabashedly awful, but it's the same kind of bad that made Jade Empire's gameplay bad (A lot of this game is really "Jade Empire bad"). The best missions are the ones that are just roleplaying encounters because they don't involve shooting or sneaking.
 
In conclusion, it's pretty obvious that Alpha Protocol was developed as a direct response to Mass Effect. No doubt tired of being every other RPG company's bitch, Obsidian tried to put it's own foot forward and tripped into a spike pit... or wherever this metaphor goes. However, probably due to some sort of internal development struggle, and probably some other excuses too, it fails to reach the mark it aimed for, being generally Sub-Mass Effect 1 in pretty much everything (not to mention Mass Effect 2). And know what? That's a shame. The things this game does right are things that other RPGs haven't really managed to do. In some crazy alternate universe, I could see this game being totally jaw-dropping. Yeah. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go play some New Vegas. 
 
Next up: I don't know. Maybe KotOR? Maybe Icewind Dale?
 
EDIT: Oh yeah. Before I forget. The Boss Battles are universally terrible and should die in a fire. Take everything I said about the combat and multiply it by a factor of two (oh, so you are going to rush me and take half my health with a melee attack? Glorious) Especially the last one. Perfect examples of how not do design a game.
#1 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -
Hey all, with all the new releases and such, I really haven't gotten around to much old game playing. However, because I feel obligated (and because AP was made by Obsidian, who used to be part of black isle, who made or published some of the best RPGs of the past decade, so it's kinda connected), I've decided to blog about this game, which I finished around 20 minutes ago. Did I like it? Or was it a terrible mish-mash of poor gameplay and disappointing story contrivances?  Read on!
 
Well, that answer is obviously the second one. Alpha Protocol is a game that totally has its merits and its moments, but the problem is that those merits and moments are
 It is, in fact, an "RPG" that also has espionage.
all fairly slight when compared to the glaring issues that encompass that entire product, especially when you consider that Mass Effect 2 came out 5 months prior. Considering the stories floating around about this game's troubled development, it's obviously not all Obsidian's fault (then again, that seems to be a pattern. Was KotOR 2 not rushed to shelves when it could have used at least another 6 months of development? For the record, that may perhaps be the single most disappointing title I have ever encountered.) It's not that I don't think Obsidian is capable of making good RPGs (Not counting the obvious pedigree, NWN2 was a perfectly fine, albeit somewhat by the numbers CRPG, and I think that New Vegas is an actively better game than Fallout 3, extensive technical issues aside). I just think they lack consistency. But enough about the developer, what about the game?
 
First off, the story, and because I feel like building something up before I wreck it, I'll start with the positives. What it does right is make your choices feel like they have impact, and it pulls it off well (regardless of whether they actually have impact or not). I generally went out of my way to not piss people off, and that usually paid dividends with less people generally trying to shoot me.  At least, until the end when I kind of capped everyone I had the opportunity to. They all deserved it. The game also does a pretty good job at avoiding black and white morality, and acknowledging your prior actions when people speak to you. At no point did any of that feel particular or contrived, at least until the end when it all goes to shit. Maybe it was the way I rushed through the endgame, or the choices I made, but a lot of story threads that I read about (on "the internets") never cropped themselves up, and at the end I wasn't entirely sure what my Thorton had accomplished.  It left a bad taste in my mouth.
 
 The ultimate problem with Micheal Thorton is that he's kind of an uninteresting prick. The lack of motivation to roleplay him consistently doesn't help either.
However, the ultimate problem with all these characters and story threads is that, for the most part, they're boring. Micheal Thorton, regardless of what dialog options picked, always kind of comes of as a bit of a dick, and the delivery of the voice actor doesn't help either. Not to mention, sticking to one particular role playing direction for Thorton usually is counter-productive, as that will always piss of at least one important faction. Your handler, Mina Tang never bothers to make herself a likable or sympathetic character, and as a result she was kind of just a droning voice in my ear (not to mention, as a romanceable character, she kind of sucks when compared to all the alien action that Commander Shepard gets). Some of the side characters are fairly interesting, such as the villainously professional Marburg (voiced by Jim Cummings, most notable in video games for being the voice of Minsc in Baldur's Gate. Also the voice of Winnie the Pooh), but for the most part the dullness and archetypal-ness extends to pretty much everyone you encounter. For well as Nolan North does the voice of the absolutley unhinged Stephen Heck, the character himself is entirely one sided and cartoonish. And then, the setting. I appreciate the modern setting, but the problem with all things set in "modern times" as well as all "espionage thrillers", is that they all kind of fall into the same story traps of evil shadow corporations (oh what a surprise. The main villain is totally an evil capitalist who is totally evil and capitalistic. And you find this out 1/5th through the story), unaccountable secret agencies, and so on and so forth. I did appreciate the part where there were no WMDs at stake, though, I'll give it that much.
 
However, something that isn't modern (oh snap. That was a transition), is the gameplay. Somehow, the shooting in Alpha Protocol makes the gunplay in the first Mass Effect look like Gears by comparison. Apparently, a trained special agent is incapable of hitting the broad side of a barn with an assault rifle, and when he does hit the enemies still all take forever to murder. The part where the enemy AI is totally retarded doesn't help either, occasionally rushing up to you and doing melee attacks for no reason. However, this retarded AI is more of a problem when you play stealth, as I did. It's erratic, unpredictable, and always catches you in the worst time. At least, until you unlock the power that makes you invisible. The ultimate version lasts 24 seconds and allows you to stab as many people in the neck as possible within its time limit. This kind of doubles as easy mode, but that doesn't make any of it actually fun. So, in conclusion, the gameplay is bad. Not unabashedly awful, but it's the same kind of bad that made Jade Empire's gameplay bad (A lot of this game is really "Jade Empire bad"). The best missions are the ones that are just roleplaying encounters because they don't involve shooting or sneaking.
 
In conclusion, it's pretty obvious that Alpha Protocol was developed as a direct response to Mass Effect. No doubt tired of being every other RPG company's bitch, Obsidian tried to put it's own foot forward and tripped into a spike pit... or wherever this metaphor goes. However, probably due to some sort of internal development struggle, and probably some other excuses too, it fails to reach the mark it aimed for, being generally Sub-Mass Effect 1 in pretty much everything (not to mention Mass Effect 2). And know what? That's a shame. The things this game does right are things that other RPGs haven't really managed to do. In some crazy alternate universe, I could see this game being totally jaw-dropping. Yeah. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go play some New Vegas. 
 
Next up: I don't know. Maybe KotOR? Maybe Icewind Dale?
 
EDIT: Oh yeah. Before I forget. The Boss Battles are universally terrible and should die in a fire. Take everything I said about the combat and multiply it by a factor of two (oh, so you are going to rush me and take half my health with a melee attack? Glorious) Especially the last one. Perfect examples of how not do design a game.
#2 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I've read that some people still enjoyed it. I think it was more the PC crowd. But it does seem everyone agrees that it was a missed opportunity. I don't think I will ever dabble in this game, too many other games that I would wish to play and be entertained. Nice write up, reminded me to stay away.

#3 Posted by pwnasaurus (1286 posts) -

i poured most of my skills into pistol and he still missed the boss battles are stupid i mean its real life... there should be no bosses. again i could not hit the broad side of a barn as the op said with all my points into pistol. the OP is right about just everything, the characters are either dicks or boring. also the game is so fucking wordy, and has so many cut scenes and they aren't even interesting. i dont have a problem with this type of game i put many hours into dragon age and many into the mass effect series but this game is just plain awful good thing i only payed 7 bucks for it in the steam sale.

#4 Posted by Ragdrazi (2283 posts) -

I really wanted AP to be good. I wanted this great oldschool studio to come back and blast you kids in the face. In the face. But then they had to go and make the whole experience uncomfortable for me. Oh well, looking forward to getting the unbuggy verson of New Vegas. 
 
You should do KotOR 2 next. And then explain that shit to me.
#5 Edited by Yummylee (21255 posts) -

I've just ordered it myself yesterday. Been meaning to play it just for its really great assessment of your decisions shaping the story and characters interactions towards you so well. I won't disagree it's a generally bad game over most aspects, but it has enough intrigue in there that I'm going to give it a shot X).

#6 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

Really enjoyed reading this blog, as per usual. Just a question: were combat and stealth problematic in equal measure, or was one aspect noticeably worse than the other? I have no problem with dice rolls determining combat, but it is irritating with FPS hybrids. If there's going to be progression it should be from competent to brilliant, not comedic levels of ineptitude. I don't know why it ever seemed a good idea to gimp the players ability to h it anything at all.
And yeah, apparently there's like 4-5 boss battles in a row? Fuck that.

#7 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

Winnie the Pooh will always be the guy who was the cosmic Jack the Ripper in Star Trek, not that guy.
 
Someone said the conversation choices were basically about learning to be a complete sociopath and saying exactly what people wanted to hear, rather than any sort of interaction that felt like communication. I'd argue a lot of game conversations are that manipulative, and thus boring, but there are other ways to do it.  Would that be a fair approximation?

#8 Edited by AlisterCat (5482 posts) -
@owl_of_minerva said:

" Really enjoyed reading this blog, as per usual. Just a question: were combat and stealth problematic in equal measure, or was one aspect noticeably worse than the other? I have no problem with dice rolls determining combat, but it is irritating with FPS hybrids. If there's going to be progression it should be from competent to brilliant, not comedic levels of ineptitude. I don't know why it ever seemed a good idea to gimp the players ability to h it anything at all. And yeah, apparently there's like 4-5 boss battles in a row? Fuck that. "

I've been playing the game for the past 2 days so I'll answer my experience to your questions. The stealth is very unforgiving (until you have the skill that makes you turn invisible when somebody sees you for a couple of seconds you'll get spotted all the time without knowing how). It's kind of broken though, because while you'll try to do the good spy things like learning AI paths they are very predictable but also broken because sometimes you'll clip to scenery you were hiding on when you need to get away, and most annoying is when a guard gets to the end of his patrol route and usually stays there for a minute before turning around occasionally they will turn 180 degrees on the stop, thus discovering you sneaking up on you. I could accept if it was a natural thing but it looks very broken AI. They literally spin in less than a second.
 
The guns are frustrating because you don't feel like they are progressing, except for the rechargeable skills which change how you play. You can't be precise like a shooter but it rewards patience with very precise shots.

@ahoodedfigure said:

" Winnie the Pooh will always be the guy who was the cosmic Jack the Ripper in Star Trek, not that guy.  Someone said the conversation choices were basically about learning to be a complete sociopath and saying exactly what people wanted to hear, rather than any sort of interaction that felt like communication. I'd argue a lot of game conversations are that manipulative, and thus boring, but there are other ways to do it.  Would that be a fair approximation? "

I really like how it handles it in this game, because it encourages you reading psychological profiles and dossiers on all the characters in order to learn what they are like. The difference (apart from it being one of the things the game does well) is that the game is explicit about it. Also, you aren't trying to make friends in context. It is to your advantage, in the context of the story I feel, that you get on people's good or bad side by telling them what they want to hear. It's true, in games like Mass Effect you aren't guided in this and in a scenario where it is more like 'friends' you learn to game the system and it ruins the immersion so it's not all that different to Mass Effect in that regard, they are just explicit about it and for the better I feel.
#9 Edited by GetEveryone (4455 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater: I really like Alpha Protocol, but I'm not afraid to agree that it has glaring flaws. 
 
@pwnasaurus: Aiming with Pistol maxed isn't one of them, though. From cover you can hover over the target for a couple of seconds and score a critical hit which is an insta-kill.  
 
Anyway... 
 
Negatives: 
  • Poor gun-play combined with the fact that you don't have a real melee counter makes most of the bosses an absolute pain. Most of them rush you it becomes stupidly difficult at times. 
  • The AI is schizophrenic; it's either clueless or omniscient, rarely in-between.
  • Despite the game's similarities to ME and Deus Ex, there is only ever really one way to go about missions. Granted you can do it stealthily or like a one-man army, but there isn't much other choice.
  • A particularly flat ending.
  
Positives:
  • The story is pretty great. It has your typical espionage tropes: corporate conspiracy, international terrorism and so on, but its largely very enjoyable and pretty well-written.
  • The voice-acting is pretty great.
  • The branching dialogue options actually make a huge impact on the game. Depending on how you treat certain characters, there can be pretty substantial repercussions.
  • The perks/reward system is really well implemented. Even if you find you haven't fed many points into the health upgrade, some perks offer additional endurance, so you won't be totally at a loss if you upgrade, say, weapons over armour. Saying that, it doesn't balance the playing field entirely, so there are definite upsides to upgrading whichever character attribute you see fit.
  • Tied to the point above: the upgrade elements are handled really well. Simple yet very effective.
 
All in all, I had a blast with it. There are definite problems, and it feels pretty ropey for a game released in 2010, but Obsidian deserve their dues: they tried to craft something fairly original and (at least to an extent) pulled it off.
#10 Posted by trophyhunter (5800 posts) -

alpha protocol is my third favorite game of the year

#11 Posted by gla55jAw (2686 posts) -

I actually liked the game a lot. Yeah, the game play was messed up (especailly some of the boss fights), but it was still fun to roll around being invisible and knocking out/stealth killing everyone. I liked the story and the choices, you really could get different information depending who you sided with. I plan to play it again since I picked it up off GameFly for $4.

#12 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

Treating Alpha Protocol as a shooter is like treating Dragon Age as a hack n slash.

#13 Posted by endaround (2138 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
" Treating Alpha Protocol as a shooter is like treating Dragon Age as a hack n slash. "
You should tell Bioware that
#14 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -
@Ragdrazi: You know, I was considering doing KotOR 2 with the restored content mod, if only to see if it would make the game any less disappointing (my guess? Probably not. Would make the ending more coherent though). But then I realized I could play the first game or Icewind Dale instead. I'll still probably do it, at some point down the line, but not now. 
 
@owl_of_minerva: Ehh, I would say equally terrible, but the game is much more likely to gimp you if you are playing a stealthy Thorton (like I did) because of the boss battles. The first boss battle actually totally rewards you for being stealthy, but everything after it involves you shooting an enemy with a stupid amount of health, who cannot be stealth killed. And yeah, the end has around 3 or 4 of those boss battles in quick succession. 
 
@ahoodedfigure: Well, Sterling Holloway is the other Winnie the Pooh for me. Being a child of the 90s and 00s, and having a relative who worked on that show, I watched a lot of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh when I was between the ages of 3 and 7. But your approximation is pretty right on. If you play Thorton as a consistent character (always using "suave" remarks or something), then you are actually penalizing yourself. At least with Shepard you have motivation to be consistent, whether as a pragmatic jerkface or a by the book good guy.  
 
@GetEveryone:. If you thought the game was great, I can almost see where you are coming from on the story angle. There are a lot of moments in that game's story where they almost get it right, then do something stupid. Like the ending. It's infuriating. It's like Arcanum in that I can almost see where people are coming from, even as I sit dumbfounded on my computer chair. 
 
@Jimbo: No, it's not a shooter. But if you want to get to the not-shooter parts, you need to shoot. Considering that even the first Mass Effect had better shooting for not being a shooter, (The second Mass Effect? Pretty much a shooter) it's still bad.
#15 Posted by Raymayne (1226 posts) -

*Michael, frickin' dumbass, I stopped reading the first time you spelt the protagonist's name wrong.

#16 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater:  It seems both approaches are a bit staid.  If you always say what other people want to hear, you may be achieving goals in the field of manipulation, but people are just simple puzzles.  If you go the other route and roleplay something as completely consistent, without choices that would make that consistency not look good, it becomes (swing the dial to the blue/top option), which is even more mindless.  Maybe we'll eventually reach the point where conversations serve the interest of the scene, and that any one of these situations might come up where the player may be forced to compromise their beliefs without making it feel forced or ham-fisted.  Maybe some games do that?  Maybe Mass Effect 2, arguably (although I got the feeling blues and reds tended to be solve-all buttons)?  Maybe Dragon Age?  I actually want to play Dragon Age so I've been skimming the details, but I may do an over-the-shoulder and get it over with so I know why people are freaking out over the design changes for the second one.
#17 Posted by Mars_Cleric (1593 posts) -

i bought it in the steam sale and i really like it 
except the boss battles
#18 Posted by Animasta (14648 posts) -
@Ragdrazi said:
"
I really wanted AP to be good. I wanted this great oldschool studio to come back and blast you kids in the face. In the face. But then they had to go and make the whole experience uncomfortable for me. Oh well, looking forward to getting the unbuggy verson of New Vegas.  You should do KotOR 2 next. And then explain that shit to me. "
how it's significantly better than KOTOR 1? I could do that if you want vOv
#19 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater: I'm not talking about the dialogue parts, I mean that even the combat isn't designed to be played like a shooter - in the same way that DA1's combat wasn't designed to be played like a hack n slash.  They both had the same problem, in that a lot of people went into them expecting one thing, got something else entirely, and then tried to force it to be the thing they were expecting in the first place.  
 
It becomes far more enjoyable once you accept that it just isn't a shooter at all and approach it like you would the combat in a typical RPG:  'This is the situation, and these are the available tools and abilities I have to handle it'.  No matter how hard you try to spec yourself to turn the game into a shooter, it never really becomes a competent one.  
 
Even though most people think it should have played like a regular TPS, I'm pretty sure it is how it is by design rather than developer incompetence.  It's not like there's anything tricky about programming bullets to go exactly where the cursor is, if that's what the developer wanted to happen.
#20 Posted by mzuckerm (351 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
" Treating Alpha Protocol as a shooter is like treating Dragon Age as a hack n slash. "
I think this is a point that I think most of the reviewers missed.  The gunplay is intentionally not traditional FPS.  If you play it more like an RPG (i.e., take your time, use headshots, use the skills you've picked up), combat is not too tough.  In general, I had a blast with Alpha Protocol.  After I beat it the first time, I immediately played through it again just to try out some different choices.  I do think the game had a number of flaws, but the things it did well I think it did them really well.  In particular, plot, characters, dialogue, graphics.  I do think the camera was inexcusably bad.  I also think the story sort of falls apart a little at the end.  There are so many twists in the plot that the motivations of the bad guys don't make all that much sense.  By that time, though, I was so into the game that I focused on the short term story, not the big picture.
#21 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -
@ahoodedfigure: Dragon Age convos are more thoughtful than Mass Effect, but to me it still always felt like there was one perfect solution that practically had a bow on it.  It might have taken a little more leg work to make it happen, but it was still usually available and obvious.  You were rarely forced into a situation where you had to make a difficult decision.
 
I much prefer the approach of The Witcher, where you often find yourself in situations where you have to try and weigh up which option is the least shitty.  Or you might be forced to make a decision without having the outcome being immediately obvious or plainly telegraphed to you before you make your choice - you just have to do the best you can with the info available.  It's one of the only RPGs where instead of just playing 'the good guy' or 'the bad guy', I was genuinely considering the decisions I was being asked to make.  When you take your hands off the controls and stare into space for a few minutes... that's the sign of a quality RPG in my book.
#22 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -
@Jimbo:  Hm...  that's a bit disappointing to hear about the obvious choice in DAO. 
 
You're not the first person to point out the Witcher to me as an example of a good alternative to the telegraphed problems you find in a lot of other RPGs.  I heard one criticism though, tell me if it's wrong in your view, that it seemed to simply create situations where the obviously good answer turned out to be blind-sidingly worse (save innocent person, innocent person is really bad person).  This seemed to be the case pretty much every time, this person said, as if the game existed simply to thumb its nose at the obvious choices.  
 
But if what you say is true, maybe the player sort of just chooses whatever feels right and gets to enjoy the consequences.
 
Any sort of effect an entertainment medium can have like that, where you're actually put into another headspace trying to deal with what you've been dealt, that's a good sign of...  whatever medium you happen to be consuming :)
#23 Posted by WalkerTR77 (1352 posts) -

I also blogged after playing alpha protocol and was likewise torn over it. I really liked a lot of the conversation mechanics, and roleplaying as Michael Weston from burn notice livened things up considerably.

#24 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -
@Raymayne:  Thank you for your well thought out contribution to this blog, Grammar Nazi.  If I accidentally switch the a and the e, the rest of my statements are obviously invalid and you are obviously a much smarter and better person for not commenting on those, instead harping on a minor spelling error that is probably still a valid way to spell the name in real life.
 
@Jimbo: Well, even from that perspective, I'm still waiting a good 30 seconds after every use of chain shot, and critical hits are worthless most of the time because they require you and the enemy to be absolutely still for a few seconds. Which means you just have to shoot them, or turn invisible and stab them all in the neck, like what I did when I could.
 
@ahoodedfigure: Dragon Age is pretty good about dialog choices, simply by not having a morality bar. Sure, there are still some choices that are obviously more pragmatic or evil than others, but it does a pretty good job at doing grey morality. I've never played The Witcher, but that game seems hell bent on making every choice as grey as possible. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, eh?
#25 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -
@ahoodedfigure: I haven't played it recently, but if that does happen a lot I don't recall it being so obvious that I noticed it.  I felt more like it was thumbing its nose up at obvious choices by simply not offering them in the first place.  I don't remember feeling like I'd been misled at any point, usually because nobody seemed whiter than white in the first place.  I could be wrong.
 
There is one obvious example which fits your description, but I won't go into it because MASSIVE SPOILERS.  It isn't something you have much of a say in.
#26 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

I had a bit of a difficult time getting into Alpha Protocol, but once the game opened up and you could start deciding where to go and what you wanted to do I was hooked. The gameplay might not have been the greatest, but I've still yet to see a game that handled having your choices affect the story so well.

#27 Posted by Ragdrazi (2283 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater: Yeah, I've always been curious about the restored content mod. Give it a shot. I'd like to see it.
#28 Posted by Ragdrazi (2283 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" @Ragdrazi said:
"
I really wanted AP to be good. I wanted this great oldschool studio to come back and blast you kids in the face. In the face. But then they had to go and make the whole experience uncomfortable for me. Oh well, looking forward to getting the unbuggy verson of New Vegas.  You should do KotOR 2 next. And then explain that shit to me. "
how it's significantly better than KOTOR 1? I could do that if you want vOv "

Wow. Strange minority opinion. I respect that. Stick to your guns son. Freedom isn't free.
#29 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

Also bought it cheap on the steam sale and a couple of hours in all the pros/cons have already shown themselves.  The PC seems to have some major buggyness as well (Thorton will sometimes not stop waking or not start walking)

#30 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1544 posts) -

I played it after release and had some fun with it. But all the way through the game I saw the potential to turn a medicore game into an awesome game, so "missed opportunity" sums it up for me.

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#31 Edited by GalacticPunt (1023 posts) -

Just picked this up last week and finished last night.  I wish just about the whole game was dialogue trees.  That aspect is done so well.  I really loved role-playing as a spy, where you have to try to "read" the personalities of each character quickly, and manipulate them with what you think they WANT to hear.  It's unique approach to WRPG's, which usually come down to "I'm going to be the angry guy" or whatever for every single dialogue choice.   It was impressive, after I finished this first playthrough, to read up on the secret trophies and exclaim "that could have happened?" multiple times.
 
For all the complaints people have made about the shooting, what I wasn't prepared for was how dependent this game is on stealth, and how shitty the stealth gameplay is.  Not getting seen is damn near impossible until you dump all AP into Stealth, and abuse the invisibility ability like crazy.   
 
Since I dumped everything into Stealth and Handguns, the latter half of the game I got to mostly eliminate twitch gameplay.  Bosses don't phase me, just go into the Handgun version of VATS, set up 4 to 6 automatic headshots, then run around until the ability recharges and repeat.  The one place this broke down was the completely random and pointless HELICOPTER boss fight near the end.  I died so many times, eff you helicopters....  
 
I imagine Matt Rorie listening to the Bombcast rants on helicopters back then, and convincing the level designers to shoehorn in a helicopter fight as some kind of sick in-joke...

#32 Posted by GlenTennis (3144 posts) -

Sounds FUN!

#33 Posted by vaportra1l (270 posts) -

Crappy combat aside, I think AP is an excellent game.  I got it cheap a few months ago and it's sat on my coffee table gathering dust until yesterday.  I've put in about 10 hours so far and I'm enjoying it immensely.  Hopefully they somehow get a chance to do a sequel and fix the combat, yeah I know Sega said that is unlikely but I'll keep hope alive. 

#34 Edited by Jeust (10477 posts) -

Sell-out!!! :p

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