Sega and Obsidian Entertainment allow players to act out the life if their favorite spy in the recent release of Alpha Protocol.
Alpha Protocol tells the story of secret agent Michael Thorton, a new recruit to the shadowy espionage agency called, not surprisingly, Alpha Protocol. All seems to be fine until Thorton’s first mission with the agency ends with him becoming a rogue agent who must find out the truth of who is pulling the strings and clear his own name. How Thorton does this is all up the player and choice becomes the player’s greatest weapon. Gameplay is similar to other action-RPGs, using a variety of weapons to attack enemies. Controls are tight and everything one would expect from a game in this genre. Each defeated enemy gains the player experience for leveling up and ability points to add more attributes to Thorton’s skills.
Players can completely customize Thorton, including the way he looks, how he dresses, and even what weapons he uses during missions. Players can also choose what kind of secret agent Thorton becomes, such as a suave James Bond type or a by-the-books Jason Bourne type. The way the player talks to other characters also has ramifications in the game. Some characters like the more professional approach while others like to joke around a bit and enjoy if Thorton takes his job a little more casual. Using the correct dialogue option on the right characters will make said characters like Thorton more, nabbing him more information about his mission or sometimes perks to his abilities.
While the controls and the customization work well, the graphics are not as polished. While facial features on the main characters look decent, they are still lacking the detail one would expect from a game of this generation. Most characters seem emotionless and bland, short of a couple smirks here and there after a snarky line is said. Textures lack details as well, such as wallpaper and tile designs appearing blurry even when the player gets close to them. Another negative aspect to the game is the Artificial Intelligence. Enemy AI is random, with some being dumb as a sack of bricks and shooting at their allies instead of Thorton while some are so smart they seem to be able to see Thorton through walls. Both of which one would not expect from a game of this generation.
Overall, Alpha Protocol is a very good action-RPG that is rough around the edges. While the graphics and AI need a bit of polishing, the gameplay and customization options are quite well done. The leveling up system is balanced, allowing players to always have a new ability to unlock and try out on the next mission. The game also has a lot of replay potential, as the choices the player make can drastically change the way the game’s story plays out. For anyone looking for a good action-RPG, who can look past its graphical and AI faults, this is a great choice.