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whatshot Alpha Protocol PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 8.0
Value 7.0
Distributor: SEGA
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
June 2010
Reviewer:
Tyrone Williams

7.0


Alpha Protocol

The highly anticipated game by SEGA has finally arrived on Australian shores with Alpha Protocol, a third person RPG action game. Gamers control a secret agent by the name of Michael Thorton who has been unceremoniously discarded by his government and to compound the situation, only he can stop an international threat that he has discovered.

Like Biowareís Mass Effect 1 & 2, players are a given a choice of what direction to take, thanks to timed conversation choices that does make the game more dynamic. However the anticipation of Alpha Protocol may have hampered this games release because after finally getting Thorton to the end, the game feels a little dated and quite stagnant in some places.

From the very first moments, the game throws you into the story early on as you investigate a terrorist group in Saudi Arabia and without spoiling the story any further, something unfortunately goes wrong and thatís where you have to pick up the peaces as you fly around the globe from Russia to Taiwan. As you progress through the game, you can level up your character and use points on the various classes that you have chosen with in turn opens up new abilities for Thorton. The RPG aspect of the game actually works well when it comes to specialising your character.

Although reminiscent of Mass Effect, the game feels a little too stiff, especially with the gameplay but fortunately the story which is quite James Bond & Bourne Indentity-esq which works and if you can put the sometimes problematic gameplay aside, Alpha Protocol may just hold you to the end.

However, the way Thorton interacts with the environment feels dated, especially his stances that look like he needs to see a chiropractor or occupational therapist. That is the most noticeable issue with the game, the graphical engine as Thorton is quite jerky to move and it looks like a game from several years ago. To make matters worse, if you have played Red Dead Redemption or Mass Effect 2, youíll be sorely disappointment in this department. Then you have issues with the camera which it seems to have a mind of its own and more often than not gets in the way.

At itís heart, Alpha Protocol is reminiscent of the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell games that has the player using subterfuge or an all attack to complete a variety of set goals in each level that you play. The game allows you to specialise as either a soldier, tech specialists or freelancer and it often feels like the developers are balancing the game as either a stealth game like Tom Clancy or a third person shooter like Army of Two which neither works too well.

The game does contain quite a few different types of weaponry and gadgets to help you along the way such as using tranquilizer to stun your enemies or my favourite, sneaking up behind someone to take them out. You should also be wary with combat when your sneaking around because even if you aim for an enemies head, you need to ensure that you have the correct specialisation to take out your victim.

Apart from completing objectives, tweaking your character and engaging with enemies, you need to complete various mini-games in the title such as hacking computers or lock picking for example. Although a little fiddly, I actually didnít mind these stealth mini-games and personally I found them better than some in the Splinter Cell series. But just be warned that some of these tasks can be quite frustrating. In terms of interactivity with the environment, the cover system works well as you hide behind a box or wall but more often than not, these cover places are limited and do not work on all objects which is a little strange.

I do commend the developers with incorporating a Mass Effect 2 style of communication choice and as your choices are timed and mapped to the controller, you really need to be quick on your feet and thereís some really bad voice acting when try to play the cool spy dude, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. With the choices, some do affect the storyline and some donít but itís generally the more condescending choices that will cause repercussions. Personally, I wish I had a little more time because the timer does make things a tad annoying. The romance scenes were quite amusing after you have selected the right James Bond style of choices but next time, we tried something different and lets just say it didnít end with a happy ending.

Weíve touched on the graphics earlier but fortunately the voice acting has been quite professionally done which makes the game more playable. It's like the characters appeared to have walked out of a serious Hollywood spy movie. The musical score suits the game perfectly with its covert tunes and themes that do assist in improving the overall aspect of Alpha Protocol.

At the end of the day, I dearly wanted to like Alpha Protocol, especially after some of the cool trailers and hype over the year. The game definitely needed more refining to smooth out the gameplay and how Thorton interacts with his environment, including some of the graphical issues. This review may sound a touch negative but itís not all bad as the storyline is quite good and there are some great boss battles along the way and their choice system is pretty damn impressive.





 

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