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Early Impressions


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#1
Dan_CW

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Okay, normally I wouldn't post this but I thought I would considering that I've read all of the complaints and seen the gameplay videos. I very rarely make mistakes when buying games and I'm glad I didn't let all of the negativity make me cancel my order.

Few things first:

On the live streams, the people were playing on hard or were they just poor? I can't say how difficult the game is on hard but as a freelancer on normal and without buying hardly any equipment, I've only come close to dying once. I came close at the first boss for Saudi Arabia (not sure if you go back). So, don't judge the game based on the live stream. The streams have done the game a disservice. Regardless, I got past the part they were on and at max, I only had to deal with two soldiers. I stealth killed many of the soldiers, something which I'm sure they didn't do. Plus I wager they rushed through the game thinking of it as a shooter. I only have one point in stealth at the moment as well. (Your armor and skills determine how easy it is for enemies to detect you. Sometimes, they will find me when I close on them, but I have enough time to prevent them shooting me for the most part. I also don't have stealth armor etc. equipped.)

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I'm only just out of Saudi Arabia. I haven't done any other missions yet but the story's started getting good at this point. So, I can't comment on how choices you make etc. affect things (from a story perspective). But I will say that the missions you tackle can have an effect on how many enemies you may face in future missions and such. Game length wise, I got the game around 13:00 pm. I've probably had about three hours away from the game and the rest of the time has been spent on it. It's 19:33pm now.

I've not encountered any bugs or glitches yet either. The shooting mechanics are not as good as what's featured in proper shooter games, but let's be honest, who thought the mechanics would be? Especially when accuracy etc. is determined by statistics. They're fine in any case. The only attachment I have on my assault rifle at the moment is a sight which gives +1 accuracy I think. Have about 4 ranks in the assault rifle skill also.

Level linearity? They seem to be linear. There's a but though. When you go through the levels, you'll find there's sometimes multiple ways of entering an area, so one approach may be better than another. Also, there is often intel and money (amongst other things) hidden off the beaten track.

Anyways, didn't want to write up a proper review. I'll be saving that for when I've finished the game and well, I write reviews for money so... Regardless, hope this helped someone decide whether or not to get the game. Feel free to ask questions as I may be back. I've probably not explained everything and haven't proof-read this, but I'm in a hurry to get back to the game after letting the PS3 cool down. So, that's an explanation. o:)

Edited by Dan_CW, 27 May 2010 - 11:00 AM.


#2
WorstUsernameEver

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Definitely interesting.
Personally, if I were a mod I'd open a thread for all this first impressions.. not that they're not nice to read, mind you, but we've had a couple of threads which basically amount to 'what I think of Alpha Protocol after X hours' and having all those opinion in one thread would probably make for a far easier read.

#3
jokerwoker

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Color me shocked. Some people bought this game thinking they getting the next Mass Effect, and what they got was a CROSS between Mass Effect and Metal Gear Sold/Splinter Cell.

The live streamers dislike this game, but they seem to forget MGS and SC were both VERY unforgiving in their first incarnations.

And yes, playing on HARD and Recruit means... just that, HARD and RECRUIT. If you can cruise with through the game on those two settings, Easy and Field Agent or Easy and Techie must be a cakewalk. Obviously, I'm glad it didn't turn out that way.

#4
Dan_CW

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No worries folks about mentioning posting this elsewhere where others have given their thoughts. I should have but what's done is done.

One thing I forgot to mention is that what people have read about the A.I. etc. is true. It's not the best A.I. out there and I can snipe them when my target reticule is 'focused' without them noticing me. However, I'm normally hid behind something then. In any case, it's hardly a game-breaker for me the A.I. not being great, but I imagine it is for others. Personally, I imagine a lot of folks on the forum here will be playing the game for the story etc. anyway.

#5
Oner

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Definitely interesting.
Personally, if I were a mod I'd open a thread for all this first impressions.. not that they're not nice to read, mind you, but we've had a couple of threads which basically amount to 'what I think of Alpha Protocol after X hours' and having all those opinion in one thread would probably make for a far easier read.

Sticky one first impressions topic maybe? And maybe the review topic too while they're at it. :thumbsup:

Edited by Oner, 27 May 2010 - 11:15 AM.


#6
Bendu

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Haven't finished yet, but I want to put my first impressions here. I played the game for about 5 hours so far. Because I started a new game after 2 hours, I'm still in Saudi Arabia with two missions still to complete. I'm playing on hard as a freelancer, specialized on pistol, stealth, martial arts and sabotage.

What I really like so far:
- The flashback narrative. Makes me really curious how the story will develop.
- Dialogue system
- Soundtrack
- Cinematics (love the unsteady camera)
- Perks you can gain. Though I would like to choose additionally perks at level up myself like in Fallout.
- Minigames (love hacking)
- I really enjoy the writing so far
- Voice acting is great
- E-mail and the ability to respond

What I really don't like:
- Questmarkers. Why are they even on hard difficulty there?

What is flawed, but I don't mind:
- Graphics
- Animations. Especially walking.
- AI. Isn't as flawed as I assumed it would be. I think it's on the same level as ME1 AI was.

#7
Starwars

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A friend of mine got the boxed PC version today (bastard, can't wait until Steam unlocks it). We played through the Saudi Arabia missions together and I think it's pretty awesome. I think the tutorial feels a bit... meh somehow, I'm not sure exactly why. I was actually a bit disappointed at first but once the missions started in Saudi Arabia I was completely hooked. The conversations play really smoothly and are wonderfully written, I think they really nailed it. So many clips we've seen sounded sorta weird when out of context but when playing the game it comes together wonderfully.
I have *no* idea what the bit-tech review is talking about because the characters so far are wonderful and quite likeable.

Like Dan said, there are occasional bottle-necks in the levels but they often open up a few minor paths that you can choose. Not what I'd call non-linear but it gives a good elbow-room to move around I think.

We played with skill points in Pistols, Stealth and Sabotage. Stealth works great, I have no idea what some people have been complaining about, seriously. Pistols work well at mid-range where you can line up the critical. I do however wonder what the real advantage vs the Assault Rifle is because I think you can use silencers and that on the Rifles as well. And the rifles just seem more powerful and can "snipe" way better at long ranges. Could be a bit unbalanced but can't say until I've tried both more extensively.
I will echo that I feel the game was easy on Normal. When I played using the above build, I also didn't die once for all the time we played. It got close twice but I managed to survive. The game is still fun though and there's still a fairly good sense of danger, but I'll definitely jack the difficulty up to Hard once I complete my first playthrough.

The PC version looks better than the console onces (from what I can see on the videos). We had problems with the hacking minigame though, where you have to use the mouse to move one of the cursors. It felt extremely... weird and unresponsive. We also had some slight camera wonkyness when the game loaded things, sometimes the camera sorta got turned around. Not that big of a deal but it sorta threw us off guard a few times.

Really enjoyed my time with it and can't wait until Steam unlocks it at midnight.

#8
Oner

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I do however wonder what the real advantage vs the Assault Rifle is because I think you can use silencers and that on the Rifles as well. And the rifles just seem more powerful and can "snipe" way better at long ranges. Could be a bit unbalanced but can't say until I've tried both more extensively.

I think the difference is that you buy a silencer for pistols and then they're silent (duh), whereas ARs use subsonic ammo which has to be constantly replenished, ergo you use up money that could be invested in something else.

#9
WorstUsernameEver

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How is the availability of tranquilizers compared to normal ammo?

#10
Alvin Nelson

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I do however wonder what the real advantage vs the Assault Rifle is because I think you can use silencers and that on the Rifles as well. And the rifles just seem more powerful and can "snipe" way better at long ranges. Could be a bit unbalanced but can't say until I've tried both more extensively.

I think the difference is that you buy a silencer for pistols and then they're silent (duh), whereas ARs use subsonic ammo which has to be constantly replenished, ergo you use up money that could be invested in something else.


Nail on the head. :thumbsup:

#11
Pidesco

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Thread stickied. Any early impressions can go here.

#12
Starwars

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Oh I seeeeee... :thumbsup:

#13
Oner

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I do however wonder what the real advantage vs the Assault Rifle is because I think you can use silencers and that on the Rifles as well. And the rifles just seem more powerful and can "snipe" way better at long ranges. Could be a bit unbalanced but can't say until I've tried both more extensively.

I think the difference is that you buy a silencer for pistols and then they're silent (duh), whereas ARs use subsonic ammo which has to be constantly replenished, ergo you use up money that could be invested in something else.


Nail on the head. :thumbsup:

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#14
Alpha

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Nice tread i love it. I'll do the same that did the OP ; ignore the negative post and buy the game because i always have faith in Obsidian.

Edited by Alpha, 27 May 2010 - 12:06 PM.


#15
fastpunk

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...impressions...


Now here's a person who's impressions I actually trust, as we've bumped into each other on the RPG Codex and IronTower. I agree with you a lot of times, so nice to see you're positive about it. Do post some more impressions when you get to play further. :o

#16
Mr. Fob

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Alright been playing the game for a few hours yesterday with a stealthy character. I started over again after skipping part of the inductions by accident so I just did the first mission in Saudi Arabia.
This brings me to my first point: Playing the PC version I am not very happy with the save system. I understand that checkpoints instead of free saving might make the whole experience a little more thrilling but I still can’t bring myself to like checkpoints.
To get all the negatives out of the way first, while I think the graphics are actually ok and the environments are nicely designed, the animations are really not that great (with exception of CQC which is just awesome). Especially “stealthing around” doesn’t feel very smooth. I was also quite disappointed by the lack of interactivity with the environment. I was hoping to be able to jump and climb like Sam Fisher but I can only do that at a very limited number of hotspots. The fact that cannot/don’t have to hide bodies also seems very strange, especially when an enemy walk right by an unconscious comrade without reacting in any way, you watch from behind the corner with a frown on your face.

Now to the positives:
The game grabs you by the throat from the first moment (in fact the main menu screen is already sucking you into the whole spy game atmosphere) and binds you to the monitor. I was really impressed by the way the secret agent scene is presented. The menus, the safe house surroundings the very style of pretty much everything makes you feel like being inside a conspiracy thriller.
Dialogue and voice acting so far are superb and I am really looking forward to unrevealing what will be a very convoluted story (yes, you can already say that after the first mission).
I particularly like the safe house so far. Reading (and replying!) to emails, watching the cover up stories in the news reports on TV and looking through your equipment is a great way to calm down in between missions but doesn’t take too much time. In general, so far the game seems very well paced.
While I guess some people may have to get used to the combat mechanics, I can see how the game is really designed to be an RPG, not a shooter. The fact that skills really determine how well you handle a weapon or how silent you can move supplements character development and depth. I am glad the Obsidian did not go down the very popular road of “streamlining” RPG elements.

Well, I’d say, the positives far outweigh the problems the game still has. I hope for a patch resolving some of the technical issues (I have a state of the art quad core rig and the game still seems have mid level loads where performance goes down and very annoyingly the camera angle seems to change suddenly, hope stuff like that can be fixed/improved). After a few hours I already have some suggestions for a sequel (like the improved stealth options and environmental interactivity) but I think that already hoping for a sequel when I just started the game is kind of indicative of how much fun it is.

#17
jokerwoker

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I don't have the game yet, but from the liv feeds and videos I've seen, you CAN reload a previous checkpoint. So, if you messed up, just reload.

i don't recall if you can SAVE a checkpoint, though.

#18
Mr. Fob

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Yes you can save a checkpoint (although there is no hotkey but you have to go through the menu to do it.
There is however only one autosave, which saves after you step out of the induction. Since I had no manual save at the time I had to restart. Not much of an issue in this case but still, free saves would be better IMO.

#19
zkylon

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I've been playing the game for a short while now and so far, i love it. It's a little not-so-comfortable and i've ran across some stupid AI and more than a few bugs (though none gamebreaking) but so far it's pretty awesome. Only thing i mind is that even if the game runs at 60fps it stutters a little bit everytime i enter a room or move the camera fast. It led to me getting seen once so it's kind of annoying and it's my biggest grievance so far. Other than that, i still think the game looks great (even if the motion blur is off the charts and i had to turn it off), being stealthy is really fun and i'm surprised by how much more tense the dialogue is when you don't have all the time in the world to answer. Haven't ran across a chance to use my tech expertise but so far it's one of the greatest tutorials ever lol (yeah, i know, i'm totally biased :x)

#20
Rostere

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So I'm sitting here playing AP right now :shifty: I'll return later with some kind of review-ish post...




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