GC09; Alpha Protocol needs 100+ hours
The first thing that impresses in this espionage RPG is the level of customisation, combined with a slick graphical style that screams of your favourite spy movies.
But what surprised us is the depth of the game and the amount of time you’ll need to find everything it offers.
How you load your character out determines how you play through that mission. If you choose gadgets and weapons that require stealth, you are required to play through the mission without being detected. Load up with guns and grenades, and you can cause merry havoc.
There are also several factions within the game and a range of different people you can align with to ensure your experience of Alpha Protocol is different from other people. You won’t be able to complete every single mission in one play-through (which will take you around 30 hours), so if you want to play everything you are going to need around 100 hours of spare time.
We were treated to a preview of a stealth mission. The third person view suits the game well, and when you’re playing you can use a number of special attacks to ensure you stay undetected. We saw a ‘cloaking’ mode that allows you to pass silently (in reality, this is a representation of your stealth skill rather than an MGS-style suit) and the ability to pause time in order to line up a volley of shots using your silenced weapon (again, a representation of your sniping skill).
After a short cut-scene, we were treated to a fire-fight where we witnessed the ‘overclock’ skill, which lets you ramp up the power of your weapons and items for better effect. In fact, the only time the realism we’ve seen everywhere else in the game is broken is within these ‘boss battles’. The enemy was shot so many times at point-blank range using a shotgun without dying that it became almost comedic.
Once the boss was beaten, the game gave us a moral dilemma – let them live, or finish them off. By leaving the character alive in this case, the game offered a special perk and the story took a different turn than it would if we had killed the boss off. In fact there are many paths that can be taken in the game based on the various decisions you make, and each decision increases or decreases your reputation with key characters, further changing the story as it progresses.
We asked Andy Alamano, Associate Producer for Alpha Protocol, what his three favourite gadgets were.
“First of all, I love the Sound Generator. You can target a position on the map and it will make a sound at that point, making AI characters go to that point for mass extermination or just to bypass the enemy. Scondly, I love the Incediary Grenade; it creates a ball of flame, and useful to throw in when using the sound generator! Lastly, I’d pick the Shock Trap – a proximity mine that can be attached to a wall to stealthily take the enemy down”
Other than the small issue of the unrealistic boss battle, Alpha Protocol is shaping up to be a really impressive game, with a huge range of special abilities, weapons and gadgets that would make even James Bond jealous. Alpha Protocol is due in October.