Alpha Protocol

I finished AP yesterday and I must say I was quite pleased and pleasantly surprised. Somehow I made the mistake again (happens) to overhear some “tests” and let them influence my expectation. Or maybe I shouldn’t feel bad about that part. Sometimes it’s quite good to go into something with low expectations. ;) Anyway, I expected a game similar to the first 2 Splinter Cells, but AP is a lot more complex than that. Missions are non-linear, equipment can be traded, different choices are possible in conversations and during missions, the game is keeping up to current reality by offering nice email banter. I also like the camera work in conversations. Because of this, it offers some replayability (the chosen player character class has a noticeable effect as well). Oh and another definitive highlight of this game are the many boss fights culminating into one of the best showdowns I have seen in a long time. The endgame of AP really deserves this name.
All in all the game features many positive aspects, but few who pull down the fun. Those are easily overshadowed. The biggest minus I remember, were doors, which closed after passing them. The game saves in automatic checkpoints and doesn’t allow saving at any given time, so it’s impractical for players to reload at such a spot, because they would have to replay a certain chunk of the game. It happened to me 2 or 3 times, that I only wanted to look around a bit and had to move on, without being able to go back and loot other rooms. The player has a PDA with dossiers, which are completed by collecting intel wherever it lies around (:D) and I’m quite sure the missing stuff must have been in those rooms. It must have been!
I’m also disappointed, that the/my game ended without disclosing what happened to Scarlet Lake, she was just fighting along the hero, but the escape leaves her out of the picture. It’s weird that she would be left behind.

PS: Like Mass Effect, AP resolves certain situations via mini-games. 3 different types force the player to act fast before the time limit runs out and triggers an alarm. The hacking game requires to assign alpha-numeric strings in a rapidly changing sheet full with signs. The second has some sort of circuit, that can be overridden by selecting the right pins. And the last is lockpicking, where the cylinders must be aligned properly. Often those games are a pain (because a so far successful stealth mission usually goes south because of the hacking game), but I actually got used to them during the course of the game.

“Sis” reminds me of Lucy Devlin from Blade Runner.

During his travels, Mike will find shelter in different, comfy AP safe houses.

Who wouldn’t want a huge wall of TFT monitors in his home full with useless information?

Just doing my job here! Honestly!

Marburg is such a douche!

This place is almost like the batcave!

Safe houses also contain a TV, mysteriously talking about all the latest exploits of the main character.

Ah, voting machines…^^

Selecting 6 Pins in 20 seconds is not really a problem…

Therefore, try 10!

Wow, it certainly has its perks to be a secret agent, otherwise Mina might be pissed.^^

Is there an Alpha Protocol 2 on the horizon?

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