Alpha Protocol Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Alpha Protocol box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Obsidian Ent. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 1, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

However, the interesting way that Alpha Protocol handles conversation and information gathering is one of the coolest elements of the game, and one that will warrant multiple playthroughs. Unlike ME, any talking you do here is timed, and Mike can usually reply with something suave, impatient, or professional (though other options become available from time to time and in context). At the same time, the game keeps a running tally on every contact you have, as well as their opinion of you. What makes this seemingly innocuous relationship system unique, however, is that unlike in ME, where you NPCs usually just react to you acting like either a saint or a total bastard, the characters in Alpha Protocol have personality likes and dislikes, and will either favor you or not depending on your approach.

Alpha Protocol screenshot

This is particularly evident with women, since some will respond to flirtation, while others think this approach makes Mike come off as crass or an idiot. Given that you only have a few seconds to choose your response to any given NPC, timing and approach can be crucial to successfully currying favor with certain parties, which can in turn have some lasting effects on how the game unfolds. Although it would probably rarely happen to a real field agent, chances are high you'll read a situation wrong and have to deal with the consequences. The system may be subtle, but the game is much more interesting for it.

Alpha Protocol isn't perfect. The enemy AI can be cringe-worthy and prone to bugs, and some of the spy abilities Mike can earn after leveling up enough are a bit silly (Shadow Operative, for example, renders you completely invisible, making some full-frontal attacks on enemies, that would otherwise be nearly impossible to get through undetected, an unrealistic breeze). Missions are stage-based, with no free-roaming, civilian NPC-populated areas to explore like in ME.

Advertisement

Character customization is bafflingly basic and bosses can be annoyingly cheap. On the other hand, the game is gorgeous, with top-notch production values and voice work. It's fun to develop relationships between Mike and the game's various other characters. The stealth gameplay is pretty good, if a little too easy sometimes. The game makes you feel like a real spy, complete with all the research-based legwork. In those respects, there are few games like it. Whether or not you like Alpha Protocol is probably going to depend on your proclivity for spy lore itself. But if you've ever wanted to be a secret agent, you could do a hell of a lot worse.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.6
Graphics
Alpha Protocol is a very pretty game marred only by texture pop.
4.2
Control
Whether sneaking around or guns blazing, most everything comes off without a hitch.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Fantastic voice work, particularly Mike's deadpan. Throat stabbings and brutal melee is very aurally satisfying, with an appropriately themed soundtrack.
4.2
Play Value
It's not an overly original culling of design elements, but Alpha Protocol is spy-authentic and pretty damn fun.
4.3
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Stealth or action-you choose how you want to tackle any given situation.
  • An authentic spy experience, complete with globetrotting, guns, and girls.
  • Unique timing-based conversation system forces you to make split-second decisions while having lasting effects on the story arc.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge Alpha Protocol screenshot - click to enlarge

    X
    "Like" CheatCC on Facebook