Alpha Protocol was reviewed on the PC.
Alpha Protocol was released June 1, 2010 by Obsidian Entertainment (creators of SW:KOTOR II and Fallout: NV). The purpose here though is to figure out if it’s any good!
The story for Alpha Protocol is a gripping and interesting espionage tale about Agent Michael Thorton, the newest recruit to “Alpha Protocol.” A strand of the U.S. military that can’t be traced back to them. Better said, Alpha Protocol doesn’t play by the rules. The game starts just like any other spy thriller (like Mission: Impossible and The Bond Films.) and generally stays that way with the overall plot not straying to much from cliche spy movies but it is what happens in between that really makes this game stand out. The game does have dialogue choices like Mass Effect except the game introduces a timer. The timer adds a new layer to the difficult decisions present in Alpha Protocol, and trust me there are difficult decisions. Obsidian are excellent storytellers and this game really shows it. The choices presented to me throughout the game were never black & white with a lot of gray to choose from, most choices were “Would you like this evil or this evil?” That is a style that most games with dialogue trees have adopted though, with Alpha Protocol it asks the much needed second question “What do you consider evil?” This extra layer really plays with my heart strings making me care more about what I was doing and the effect that my choices would ripple through out the game. The characters are also another area where this games writing really shines. Most characters are interesting, morally conflicted, and oddly human characters with there own needs and wants. From the M60 wielding psychopath SIE to the morally conflicted photojournalist Scarlet Lake. But everything that isn’t the story is really where the compliments end. Alpha Protocol has some of the worst gun play in video games. From the little to no kick back, to each gun sounding like a pellet gun (that’s actually offensive to pellet guns). Alpha Protocol is just so sloppy when it comes to the actually game play part of the game. Although I understand and like the Deus Ex style of upgrading and spending points on each particular weapon type to increase effectiveness with said weapon but at least in Deus Ex you see yourself get better, with Alpha Protocol there is little of that. I had pistols leveled all the way and still saw little improvement with how guns worked at the beginning of the game, IT’S EMBARRASSING! The stealth is also a joke with enemy AI that has no pattern to it, from seeing Michael running right past him and not reacting to the AI spotting you from across the play field when you are clearly hidden.
Another thing to add is the absolutely horrendous texture pop-in. It may be some of the worst texture pop-in I have ever seen in a game (and I own Battlefield 4 on Xbox 360!) Also I encountered some MASSIVE frame rate spikes for absolutely no reason, at one moment it’s 120 fps and the all of sudden it drops to 10 fps for a good minute. Although that particular event happened once or twice it’s still worth noting the performance issues. Also my save file was corrupted once and I phased in and out of doors like it was nobody’s business. Finally, even with all of these problems the game can’t even justify a reason for these performance issues. Alpha Protocol runs on Unreal Engine 3 and looks like a game from 2006. There is no reason the game should be tanking this hard, yet it still does.
2 out of 5
If your looking for a game that offers difficult moral choices and a gripping story of espionage and the dark side of government then this is a solid game… BUT if very weak game play, game crippling bugs, and terrible PC performance stops you from buying games then you should turn and run the other way.
If you want to pick this up:
Alpha Protocol: $14.99