Alpha Protocol

Released: 28/05/2010
Developer: Obsidian
Publisher: Sega
Hours played: 4
Last played: 26/07/2012

I posted a review in progress of this game after two hours, now after four I think I’ve given up, at least for a long, long time. I reached one point where I was spotted by the same guy over and over again which led to a firefight which led to my death every time, and the checkpoint system that had, up to that point, been fine made me restart the level all over again. That would’ve been fine as it wasn’t too far in to the level, but every time I restarted I had to hack two computers, and the hacking part is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever played; it’s as if it’s trolling you because the mouse initially barely responds to your inputs, but then when you’ve lined up the codes and click mouse 1 to ‘hack’ it, the tiniest movement will send the code all over the place. It’s bizarre, it really is, and more to the point is absolutely sucks so after doing that about four times I said ‘fuck it, there’s better stuff to play’ and gave up.

Pretty much everything I said before still stands. I didn’t encounter any huge glitches in my second two hour stint, so that was ok, and I liked that after you leave the first area the game gives you a choice of where to head to next. The game never explained how to change the ammo type you have loaded, however, so even though I used my martial arts skill to knock most people out, I couldn’t work out how to load the pistol with tranquilisers so I could have a proper no-kill playthrough.

Also, the key assignments are bizarre, illogical, unintuitive and more or less the worst I’ve seen. You press ‘I’ to bring up your inventory, when you’re done with that you press ‘esc’ to step back one level to a menu that lets you choose your inventory, mission briefing and skills and such. Then if you press ‘esc’ to exit that menu, nothing happens… So what do you press? I mean logically, as a gamer, if escape doesn’t exit a menu, what do you try next? Maybe the key that brought the menu up in the first place? Nope, that doesn’t work. Err… Shit, what now? Press every key. Nothing happens. Has it crashed or something? No, it hasn’t; it turns out you have to press mouse 2 to resume the game. So that’s ‘I’ to bring up the inventory, ‘esc’ to close the inventory in favour of another menu that you didn’t ask for and then mouse 2 to close it and resume the game. Why? Dear god, who in the name of all that is holy came up with that?

Anyway, I think I’ll revisit it eventually but I’m done with it for now, it just didn’t grab me at all. I got it for less than £2 though so I can’t really complain.

TL, DR: Kind of fun but also pretty shoddy, there are definitely better games out there.

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