When Gameplay is ignored: Alpha Protocol

Posted by Phyreball (19 posts) -

 

First off, I'm starting this not as a way to slam Alpha Protocol.  Being in the industry I know the hurdles developers face and insane deadlines given by publishers.  During the final "crunch" of a game or just drama in the studio things get lost in the shuffle.  OR your in development of a game for so long you loose sight of things.  Things that is so blatantly obvious that as soon as you get a good solid day of rest you find that you forgot the huge elements that are forgotten in some games, the twin brother of Story... Gameplay.

Focus testing does a good way to counteract this, but if you use college students or QA they just tell you what you want to hear...MOST of the time.  I don’t' want to rant on this much longer but I can possibly see what happened to Obsidian's game.  They lost track of the almighty gameplay.

So with that said I want to start with the good things about Alpha Protocol.   Conversation system was great the building of my character felt cool also.  I felt that everything I did in the conversation truly would change my experience.  The development and tweaking of my character felt good and I liked the choice given.  And to end it out the story was interesting and I really wanted to see the end of it.  But I barely made it...due to the fact that the story was not backed up by good minute to minute game play.  The gameplay and presentation was really bad.  I felt that sneaking around was a joke. That if I tried to be a soldier I would get mowed down and the cover system was extremely broken.  It took this fun and well crafted story and made it almost impossible to get through it all because of the broken mechanics. 

And maybe this is my transition into the whole story vs. mechanics question that seems to be talked about... it’s even...a tie... a draw. I don't know why people don't get that without an appealing story or subject matter people are not drawn to it.  But then comes the gameplay part. I can't get through this fantastic story with a terrible mechanics...its like reading a story with smudged words that aren't legible.  And there lies Alpha Protocol... A great story but no good means to get through it.  Gameplay is huge! I dare say to me more important! A tad... haha hmmmm.  I need some whiskey to get over this one, I just contradicted most of this post.   My brain hurts and good stuff needed. Jameson Whiskey.

P.S.

Alpha Protocol is a C-

 

#1 Posted by Phyreball (19 posts) -

 

First off, I'm starting this not as a way to slam Alpha Protocol.  Being in the industry I know the hurdles developers face and insane deadlines given by publishers.  During the final "crunch" of a game or just drama in the studio things get lost in the shuffle.  OR your in development of a game for so long you loose sight of things.  Things that is so blatantly obvious that as soon as you get a good solid day of rest you find that you forgot the huge elements that are forgotten in some games, the twin brother of Story... Gameplay.

Focus testing does a good way to counteract this, but if you use college students or QA they just tell you what you want to hear...MOST of the time.  I don’t' want to rant on this much longer but I can possibly see what happened to Obsidian's game.  They lost track of the almighty gameplay.

So with that said I want to start with the good things about Alpha Protocol.   Conversation system was great the building of my character felt cool also.  I felt that everything I did in the conversation truly would change my experience.  The development and tweaking of my character felt good and I liked the choice given.  And to end it out the story was interesting and I really wanted to see the end of it.  But I barely made it...due to the fact that the story was not backed up by good minute to minute game play.  The gameplay and presentation was really bad.  I felt that sneaking around was a joke. That if I tried to be a soldier I would get mowed down and the cover system was extremely broken.  It took this fun and well crafted story and made it almost impossible to get through it all because of the broken mechanics. 

And maybe this is my transition into the whole story vs. mechanics question that seems to be talked about... it’s even...a tie... a draw. I don't know why people don't get that without an appealing story or subject matter people are not drawn to it.  But then comes the gameplay part. I can't get through this fantastic story with a terrible mechanics...its like reading a story with smudged words that aren't legible.  And there lies Alpha Protocol... A great story but no good means to get through it.  Gameplay is huge! I dare say to me more important! A tad... haha hmmmm.  I need some whiskey to get over this one, I just contradicted most of this post.   My brain hurts and good stuff needed. Jameson Whiskey.

P.S.

Alpha Protocol is a C-

 

#2 Posted by LordAndrew (14426 posts) -

I blame Matt Rorie.

#3 Posted by Mars_Cleric (1595 posts) -

i remember seeing it and being so excited 
sigh 
maybe i'll play it one of these days if there are some fixing mods
#4 Posted by Raymayne (1226 posts) -
@LordAndrew said:
" I blame Matt Rorie. "
#5 Posted by Animasta (14712 posts) -

just play at the lowest difficulty? honestly it's not that bad

#6 Posted by Jimbo (9869 posts) -

I feel like it was a problem with managing expectations more than anything else.  They made it look exactly like a regular TPS and never really did a lot to set people straight when they started expecting a TPS.  That isn't how it's supposed to be approached - and I think it's a better game for it - but they didn't do a great job of making that known at any point.  It wasn't Spy Mass Effect and it certainly wasn't Spy Mass Effect 2.
 
Nobody went into Dragon Age expecting God of War, so most people were fine when it was something different, yet people were allowed to go into Alpha Protocol expecting Gears of War and they were inevitably disappointed.  Even if you tried to force it to become a shooter, it still never became a competent one, but if you were prepared to play it for what it was then I think the gameplay was actually quite engaging.  To me the gameplay was closer in spirit to something like Commandos - essentially a puzzle game, where some of the tools you have for solving the problem in front of you just happen to be guns.
 
I'm not gonna make any excuses for the jank - there was definitely plenty of that - but I don't consider it a bad shooter, it just wasn't a shooter at all to me.

#7 Posted by Zurv (448 posts) -

I liked it.. maybe a B/B+ for me.. after i got over the shitty hacking games. 
 
played it on the PC with a 360 controller. I sucked on the 360 itself and the keyboard was odd at controlling it. I'm not sure what i'd call it.. clearly was a half ass shooter. Maybe i'm just a sucker for story. *shrug*

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