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Early Impressions


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#21
mothra

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my copy is in the mail and won't arrive before the weekend (damn) but thx for the first impressions, it sounds like i hope and feared what it would be:
- hope: awesome story, decisions and dialogue, nice settings
- fear: bad animations, bad stealth, bad AI, bad engine optimizations
which is sad, to be honest, I think they will loose alot of customers that mostly get encouraged by graphics to try out games even if they love them later for something else like the e.g. the awesome story.

#22
Agent Mike

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I already gave some impressions on the game yesterday in another thread,

The things i liked

- The dialogue system & the choices (reminds me of Deus Ex, which is my N1 game)
- The Skills/Upgrades
- The Perks you can get
- The voice acting was ok for me
- The Story so far and the other characters

The things i find awkward/ or flawed

- The Targeting system. (gunshot to the head 2 meters away and the guy did not die? WTH?) i got used to it after a few hours but still feels strange/flawed to me :lol:
- Hacking Mini game (ouch my eyes)
- The graphics in the Saudi Arabia missions part (looks like the CS Dust map! horrible). after a while you adapt to the graphics and you enjoy the game as it is :lol:
- The inventory is a bit clunky. (but same thing as above)
- Texture glitches / pop in. (in some areas)
- Character visual/appearance modification is really minimal. (ah well you can't have everything in life)

Now i really 'got into the game' on the last saudi mission and it got way better in Taipei! , i finally found the trick to do it stealthy with gadgets and it's really good once you know how to do it right, also the taipei hideout rocks!

So peeps try to finish the saudi part(first hub) and then it gets really interesting :shifty:

now let me add this

i also discussed it on the giantbomb forums

http://www.giantbomb...-419222/?page=3

But the game is great now (so 'im not bashing it or being a fanboy, you have to play it as it is with it's negative & positive strenghts but it is rewarding in the long run.

Edited by Agent Mike, 28 May 2010 - 05:03 AM.


#23
Lord2

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I just got through the customization part, and my experience has been horrible so far! The game doesn't run smooth at all, screen lockups/freezes etc, two BSODs, and then after some seconds it continues. My computer is more than capable enough to handle it.

The animations are all funky sometimes, AI is idiotic, tutorial level a... :lol: Took me 30 minutes or more to get through the computer-hack part - as it was slow to navigate down to the thing and it was confusing and hard. The graphics looks like an old PS2 game.


But to the good parts: lines and voice over so far, and the lines I have yet to experienced (before a freeze - I lose focus when one comes. Forgot what they were saying the minute before).

The choices are all cool to smash down or open a door, the talent system is awesome, that's how RPGs talent system should work, the dialogue system is... ok I guess, you have to pick almost before you have heard the dialogue. Not a second to think what they just said. The music is interesting, sets the mood fine! :lol:

This, better get some heavy patches. It feels like playing a beta. Despite all of this, I'll continue to play and finish the game - then I'll post a review or something.


It's a strange thing the game is not Windows 7 ready. The manual says XP or Vista. . .

- Hacking Mini game (ouch my eyes)

Good thing to know I'm not alone :shifty:

Edited by Lord2, 28 May 2010 - 05:03 AM.


#24
Agent Mike

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- Hacking Mini game (ouch my eyes)

Good thing to know I'm not alone :shifty:


Indeed, but other than that the game is fun and most of all you feel like a spy! :lol:

#25
edgarcuk

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I've been playing for 3 hours with an Xbox copy, so far here are my impressions:

- Superb dialog system and very good dialog animation or cinematics.
- Very good relation between skill upgrading and gameplay, I mean, pumping pistols does make it accurate.
- High replayability, so far I've done the first mission with 3 different builds.
- Immersion and interaction with others characters

On the enhancement side:

- the hacking is a little difficult for me (I need to use my glasses) but it would help to change the colour or the font of the passwords.
- the graphics are... sort of weird, I mean, Batman Arkham uses the same engine (unreal) and the graphics does look different, perhaps changing the textures might help...

Since I use cover and stealth a lot, it does work for me in the game, but trying to do the Rambo thing is difficult early in the game, I suppose once you upgrade the skills for the arm of your choice, it should be easier.

According to the reviews it seems that Obsidian is exceptional in creating the depth, content and mechanics of a true RPG, but at the time of the presentation, it is not good... as getting a new car with the latest Mercedes engine but inside a Ford Fiesta...

However, I'm very please with this game, it has fulfilled my expectations.

Edited by edgarcuk, 28 May 2010 - 05:50 AM.


#26
Hathur

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Someone posted a great "first 2 hours of Alpha Protocol" on youtube.

The story and characters look really good, compelling enough for me to buy the game (but not until I hear news about a patch that fixes the rather severe mouse bug on PC version).

Combat looks alright overall, nothing special.

Animations are brutally stiff, easily 6+ years old in quality if not worse. Things (like cars / trucks) also explode in the most absurd old-school shooter manner that games did a decade ago (one second car is there... next second when the explosion occurs, it is replaced by a wrecked car and a poorly designed explosion... i swear it's silly how easily you can spot the model of the undamaged truck and damaged truck being swapped).

Running and walking animations are poorly done.. gets annoying to watch after awhile. And there's something real weird about the way NPCs die.. the animations look really messed up (reminds me of old games where all enemies died exactly the same, as they were coded to die a certain way... whereas proper ragdoll physics gives much more realistic looking death sequences).

Anyhow, despite the vast visual shortcomings, the game still looks like a lot of fun... visuals mean little to me personally (I still love playing old DOS games.. the graphics don't bug me at all in those)... but for those who expect / require strong visuals, they will quickly be frustrated and irritated by the poor animations (tons of texture clipping too.. a lot like Mass Effect 1 had)

#27
Arthx

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Hey, registered here mainly to leave my feedback.
I have the game for PC and I have been really enjoying it. The impact of the choices is really great, I love how sometimes different characters comment on your playing style. (stealthy, kill everyone, avoid everyone, etc) The graphics too are just right, from what I had heard, I expected them to be a lot worse, but they're fine in my opinion.
The main problems are the annoyances with the controls. Why the heck did you use mouse in the hacking minigame? WASD + Arrows would have been a lot better. Same goes for the PDA, it's not intuitive. Enter key not always works, neither does Esc key, for example browsing intel can be a real pain the ass. Navigation could use some work too - Either add a map button (because I don't want to navigate through the awkward PDA just to open a map) or add a minimap.
But as they say, everyone on the internet is a critic. All in all Obsidian did a really great job with the core of the game, the characters, dialogue, leveling, gameplay, it's all pretty great. definitely an 8 - 8.5/10 for me.

Edited by Arthx, 28 May 2010 - 07:40 AM.


#28
Pavlos

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Am I the only one for whom the "Save Checkpoint" button isn't working properly? It works fine enough when in a safe-house but out on a mission, loading a user-made save seems to just take the player back to the last autosave.

#29
rcarrington

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I want to like this game but so far I'm struggling to.

Stat points: For a game that seems to want to promote stealth as an option, why have this stat being the most expensive? Immediately you're making an already difficult path, even more difficult. When there seem to be plenty of other methods provided to change the difficulty level this seems a very odd decision.

Menus: No consistency in menu controls, entering menus often feels clunky but it's very easy to accidentally leave them. An example of inconsistency would be the PDA, you use tab to open it but once you've moved off the home screen you can't easily close it again, you basically have to reverse what you did to get back to the home page and then press tab. At times the mouse wheel works as intended to scroll text, other times it does nothing and often it doesn't scroll what you want it to (eg the email screen, scroll wheel, scrolls through the emails, not the text of the emails). It just doesn't feel like menus were designed with mouse and keyboard in mind.

Gadgets\Abilities: The gadget tutorial was an eye opener. Again bizarre control mechanism that doesn't work on a PC. I actually ended up beating the guards into unconsciousness in the final challenge as I was too confused by the preceding section to be able to do it in the correct manner. I'm assuming abilities use an equally arcane method but I've got as far as working out how to use mine. This is something that should be immediately obvious and intuitive to do.

Mini-games: Whoever designed these should be fired. Even if you removed them entirely and made unlocking/hacking etc completely random it would be better. Not only is the hacking game headache inducing but it's also again abysmal to control with mouse and keyboard. The keyboard controlled word moves far too slowly and the mouse controlled one doesn't match up to where the cursor is pointing (which can make it almost impossible to place correctly).

In summary, this game is badly let down by an inexcusably bad UI and atrocious mini-games. I think a lot of the poor reviews the game is getting would go up to something acceptable if not very good if those 2 things were fixed and it seems amazing they weren't noticed in early testing.

Edited by rcarrington, 28 May 2010 - 08:32 AM.


#30
Morgoth

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Just finished my first playthrough.

Overall, very good game, but the end was dissatisfying. What happened with Mina? Sie? Sis? I hoped to learn more from them.

#31
Agent Mike

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Am I the only one for whom the "Save Checkpoint" button isn't working properly? It works fine enough when in a safe-house but out on a mission, loading a user-made save seems to just take the player back to the last autosave.


No i have the same issue and i am on PS3, checkpoint system is not great :-S

#32
Raithe

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Am I the only one for whom the "Save Checkpoint" button isn't working properly? It works fine enough when in a safe-house but out on a mission, loading a user-made save seems to just take the player back to the last autosave.


No i have the same issue and i am on PS3, checkpoint system is not great :-S


When you use the "save new checkpoint" it doesn't make a save of where you are.. it starts using a different slot to save in... Thereby allowing you to reload previous save points rather then continuously saving over the same one...

But yeah, it always is the last autosave point.

#33
Niten_Ryu

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Got my first crash to desktop after 2nd SA mission.

Few stupid design choices like instant respawns (for example when you move to the chopper). It's really annying especially when you try to use non-lethal takedowns on mobs. Other thing is that when you load the save (why the hell use checkpoint save system for PC? ), you'll start that standing pose, rather then crouched. If you start the mission from briefing, then you'll start at crouch pose. Also why do enemies bodies fade away really fast? Splinter Cell / Thief style hide the corpses / unconcious would have been perfect for the game like this.

Other then those issues, dated graphics and stupid AI, I've had great time with Alpha Protocol so far. Writing is great as expected.

#34
tr1pod

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OK played the first mission.

I really want to like this game, but I just feel that I am liking it because I want to and I desperately need a game to play. However, it just isn't that great. The graphics are seriously dated and the animation is horrendous.

It's a typical jack of all trades master of none scenario. The stealth is average, the combat is average (at best) and the RPG elements are very average. Why can't we get old school RPGs any more? Pause combat, tactics, unpause. This game would have benefited from having that in my opinion. At least it would have given it something special. As it is, it's just really annoying to shoot some guy 5 times in the face and he is still standing. I know it's maths, but hey, maths don't make a fun game.

Guess, I will just have to play ME2 for the 99th time.

#35
Rostere

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I've been playing the game for nine hours straight now and I must say I am impressed :)

#36
Red Mundus

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OK played the first mission.

I really want to like this game, but I just feel that I am liking it because I want to and I desperately need a game to play. However, it just isn't that great. The graphics are seriously dated and the animation is horrendous.

It's a typical jack of all trades master of none scenario. The stealth is average, the combat is average (at best) and the RPG elements are very average. Why can't we get old school RPGs any more? Pause combat, tactics, unpause. This game would have benefited from having that in my opinion. At least it would have given it something special. As it is, it's just really annoying to shoot some guy 5 times in the face and he is still standing. I know it's maths, but hey, maths don't make a fun game.

Guess, I will just have to play ME2 for the 99th time.


From what I've been hearing from countless people once you get past the first hub it gets tonnes better.

I fear the reason why they had to make is so bland at the beginning is that they had to accommodate a player with absolutely no specializations. So later on past the first hub when you start to specialize, it really starts to open up.

But yeah, kind of a bad first impression. Also from what I've heard
Spoiler
is awesome.

#37
Tel Aviv

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I'm almost done with Saudi and I'm beginning to really enjoy the game. There's a steep learning curve due to the initial lack of specializations. Once you invest a little, it's awesome.

EDIT: Also, I've relied almost exclusively on stealth and hand-to-hand. Guns are for suckers!

Edited by Tel Aviv, 28 May 2010 - 01:29 PM.


#38
Tigranes

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Nearly done with Saudi. In short? This is an awesomely fun game and a must buy, if you take the game for what it is, and play it the way it's meant to be played. If you're just wanting to play another Mass Effect 2 or whatever, you might keep fighting it. Don't get stuck up about its small flaws (which are there) but give it a good go and it's a gem.

Game runs very well in general, but there's no denying it feels 'clunky', when you move around / look around, and when you do particular things like hacking and climbing ladders. Doesn't bother me much. Might bother you if you will only accept the most polished super-AAA games around.

Dialogue system - can't understand why anyone would be troubled by this unless they're not using something in their native language. The way the human brain works is that you listen to the NPC talk while reading over your choices at the same time, so you have plenty of time to decide what to do. The options aren't very informative (you get a lot of times where its just Aggressive/Suave/Professional) but you never really get unpleasant surprises of 'that's not what I wanted'.

Graphics do look a few years back, but nothing amazingly bad like some people might tell you - I mean, seriously, go back and play a game from just four years ago (Oblivion) and tell me it's better than Alpha Protocol, it's rubbish. Certainly it doesn't look like a Halo 3 or whatever, but it is a current-gen game. The main reason people might not like it is because it has its ups and downs - the opening cinematic shows off some horrendously low-res textures, but when you get to Saudi Arabia the place looks quite nice with appropriate lighting. Mike looks good, too, anyone talking about Mass Effect 2 a 'piece of art'? Go look at Miranda's face, that's pukeworthy - though it was a great looking game in most other respects. Every game has its graphcial ups and downs - FO3 looked alright but had terrible animations.

Ultimately you should be judging Alpha Protocol by what experience it wants to offer you, not the same standard you use to judge every other game. I mean, if you wanted a slick polished fast-hitting shooter with lots of loot you should have been looking at another game. If you wanted interesting stories, characters, dialogue, choice & consequences, atmosphere, then get it, play it (for more than 2 hours), and I doubt you'd be disappointed in that.

#39
Alpha

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well said Tigranis.

#40
DeviantApostle

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I've just watched the Gametrailers review and I am incensed. I'm angry enought that I had to come, register to this forum immediately and let my inner fanboy loose.

Alpha Protocol is one of the best games I have ever played. I've played it for a total of 18 hours, though this includes starting the game over 3 times because I wanted to try out the branches of the dialogue system and get a feel for it.

The only thing that isn't as good as other games that have far less content is the graphics. Frankly, however, I'm sick of vapid games that are very pretty but offer no content. Alpha Protocol is all content all the time without any of the time wasters like Mass Effect 2's planet scanning, baby, and I am LOVING it. In fact, the only way I can describe Alpha Protocol in terms of other games is if Fallout 3, Mass Effect 1&2, Gears of War, Hitman Blood Money, Deus Ex and Metal Gear Solid had been spliced together into a game that is more than the sum of its parts. Alpha Protocol is their evolution, the culmination of 15 years. Sure, graphically it's on par with GTA4 and we forgive open world games alot because of their content. I'd argue that there's more content and a deeper and better storyline in Alpha Protocol than in GTA4, particularly since you have choices in Alpha Protocol. While they're both different games it's grossly silly to give GTA4 a 10 for storyline but Alpha Protocol an 8.

Enemy AI is better than the vast majority of games. Enemies use cover, use grenades intelligently, attack in sweeping patterns and react to return fire without being omnisentient. Gears of War might present a tighter third person shooter package but Gears isn't an RPG with a deep and enguaging multiple choice storyline. It doesn't even have as many levels, or the most awesome melee mechanic I've ever seen. The enemies are also a real challenge on normal and you MUST adapt your tactics and gear for a mission.

One of the things that Alpha Protocol does better than all the other games mentioned is that it never annoys me with gameplay. For example, when you kneel in most games behind cover but you want to stay mobile (usually because of grenades) so you don't attach to the cover, you have a clear line of sight when you aim so you pull the trigger and epic fail because the gun is pointing at a wall even though you have the reticule lined up on a perfect headshot. Bonus points if it's a stealth game and you just gave away your position despite equipping a silencer. I don't know about anyone else but I can stretch my imagination enough to imagine that, despite the limitations of the game itself, a soldier can aim around a corner or over a barrier and not point his weapon at a wall and take a shot like a total dunce, the problem being a limitation to the figure's animation rather than the situation.

Also, it's a good thing that Michael Thornton is a badass. He needs to be. I'm maxing out toughness, stealth and martial arts to become the ultimate ninja currently but I'm eager to play again with another paradigm. I particularly like being able to stab an enemy in the throat with a quick jab and knock them out without the usual omnisentient alarms going off. I REALLY like that I CAN take out three guards in less than a second without raising an alarm because that's what I love from spy movies.

The critic that did the Gametrailer's review has no idea what he's talking about. His complaints flat out aren't issues with the game, except for the graphics which I would class as medium-good and can be forgiven because the gameplay is so fun it hurts and the storyline is transcendental - the dialogue is flat out the best in any game I have ever played, which includes Mass Effect (voice acting lets mass effect's script down in places, particularly male shep) and Baldur's Gate 2. The web of intrigue is denser than Metal Gear Solid's with the added benefit that you shape it rather than having it dictated to you. If GTA4 can get a 10 for storyline, Alpha Protocol is up there at 20 with MGS, BG2 and the KoTORs.

Speaking of story, the characters are sublimely realized. Sie is perhaps the best NPC ever created for the sheer ludicrousness that the game manages to pull off without breaking suspension of disbelief... ok, Minsc beats her by a hair but Sie's prettier.

Alpha Protocol is a 'must own'. It is what RPGs should be while the rest of the pack are faffing about with their linear gameplay and shallow, one track, storylines while concentrating on graphics and forgetting that they actually have a storyline. I can only make the conjecture that Obsidian spent its budget on game development rather than bribes.

I just noticed that Gamespot gave it a 6. Frankly, unless my conjecture is true, i don't understand it.

In case nobody can tell, I love this game and everyone should buy a copy who can. I think I said it already but it needs to be said again. The critics know nothing, ignore them, they only love pretty games that will bore you to death.




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