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What is bad about the gameplay ASIDE from people trying to play this like a shooter?


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#1
C2B

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Seriously?

Main complaints I can understand

- bad KI (not horrible, not anywhere near it. In fact it is on the same level as most other games. KI didn't make real progress since ca. 2004-5. Also many people seem to ignore the silent running ability or the sound factor and blame it on the KI)

- Overpowered powers (This is a hit and miss. On one side it lets you clearly feel like some sort of Jack Bauer/Bond spy. On the other side it makes the entire system unbalanced)

-Minigames (Who are bad in any game. But seriously, at least its not boring like Planet scanning. I never had any problem with them though. Then again I played with my Xbox360 controller, so... )

-Level Design (Though the only real complaint I see here are the forever closing doors. They could have added more routes though. Also it's really a rather average Level design but functional for the most part)

-Unbalanced (See above. Again two sides. While you are overpowered later in the game. EVERY weapon can be very functional and is useful. More than I can say for most shooters. Especially if you pair Martial Arts with it and fury. Then you basically just fly through rooms with enemies before they even have a chance of reaching the alarm. Also that gives such a high grad badass spy feeling.)

Complaints I can not understand is when people play this like a shooter and complain that they can't hit with a pistol half across the map. Or when people glorify games like Deus Ex (which was clearly a role model for designing combat here) and say the gameplay wasn 1000x times better when it was not. That game was just as not polished as AP is now. There, I said it.


On all the other reviews I only read "lack of polish". I honestly have no idea what polish actually means to that day since by most definitions I can't say to have ever played a "polished" game.

Also, I can attribute just as many complaints to several other games. Including every Bioware and Bethesda ones. Also Black Isle for that matter and even Blizzard or other companys in other gernes.


Or is suddenly RPG = Bad Gameplay for some reason?

Edited by C2B, 12 June 2010 - 04:14 AM.


#2
Ausir

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Definitely bad interface, at least on the PC, bad AI, over-the-top boss fights, linear level design.

Edited by Ausir, 12 June 2010 - 04:17 AM.


#3
dan107

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Complaints I can not understand is when people play this like a shooter and complain that they can't hit with a pistol half across the map.


Personally my complaint is that shooting someone 5 yards away in the head with an assault rifle is still hit or miss.

Or is suddenly RPG = Bad Gameplay for some reason?


Stat based systems just do not jibe well with shooter combat. The best you can hope is that the stats won't interfere too much, like in ME2, but that begs the question of what's the point of having them in the first place. And if you make stats important you get something that's neither here nor there. It's still more player skill than character skill, except that the combat is awkward and clumsy for the first 75% of the game.

My other complaint would be that stealth relies more on cheap abilities than on clever use of terrain and level features to circumvent patrol routes.

Really I think that AP's main problem is that it just tries to do too much gameplay wise. It tries to be a shooter, a stealth game, and a heavily stat based RPG all at once, and as a result ends up being mediocre at all of those. It would be much better if they just dropped the stats completely, made Mike both the competent fighter and infiltrator that he's really supposed to be by default, and just focused on designing appropriate levels to challenge the player's abilities.

Edited by dan107, 12 June 2010 - 04:48 AM.


#4
MarteenDee

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Really I think that AP's main problem is that it just tries to do too much gameplay wise. It tries to be a shooter, a stealth game, and a heavily stat based RPG all at once, and as a result ends up being mediocre at all of those. It would be much better if they just dropped the stats completely, made Mike both the competent fighter and infiltrator that he's really supposed to be by default, and just focused on designing appropriate levels to challenge the player's abilities.



I couldn't disagree more.

AP is doing what it tries to do almost perfectly. With proper skills distribution all shooter sequences are easy enough, focusing reticule gives great impression of actual aiming (steady your gun, look down the sights, headshot). Skills in that area are not only upgrading basic proficiency and aiming speed, but also giving you some neat action movie abilities (chain shot).
My only complain would be level design - which isn't that bad but on the other hand levels could be bigger, more complicated and giving bigger flexibility of choices. Ah - and AI should have implemented wider logic, to give enemies more ways to react.

If Obsidian would do what you suggest, dan - it would be just another Splinter Cell clone. And we don't want that...

#5
Starwars

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Generally speaking, I think they did a really good job on mixing the stats with the shooter mechanics. Action-RPGs are not my fav genre by far but I felt it was well done here. The guns feel fun to use but the stats behind them are still really important (though I wish Assault Rifles in particular had been a bit more "nerfed" at lower levels).

My main complaint would be some of the "cheap" design decisions. The doors closing behind you magically, enemies spawning in at bad places (very noticeable with Awareness on). Some occasional moments where the game spawns in enemies after you complete a certain task (watch the enemies run resolutely to their spots and then stand there).
Also, some of the bosses. I loved the set-up of most of them but the challenge of them sometimes feel way too... classically game-y with goons spawning in at side-doors, a bunch of missile-launchers placed strategically around the boss level, stuff like that.
I think it would've been great if there had been more choices for the bosses themselves (maybe even avoid the fights entirely based on what you do in missions before). Or more options like
Spoiler


I think they did a good job with the level design on the visual side. And ideas wise, each mission feels quite unique. But I would've really wanted a more open playground, at least for some of the missions.

#6
LookAndRoll

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Complaints I can not understand is when people play this like a shooter and complain that they can't hit with a pistol half across the map.


Personally my complaint is that shooting someone 5 yards away in the head with an assault rifle is still hit or miss.

Or is suddenly RPG = Bad Gameplay for some reason?


Stat based systems just do not jibe well with shooter combat. The best you can hope is that the stats won't interfere too much, like in ME2, but that begs the question of what's the point of having them in the first place. And if you make stats important you get something that's neither here nor there. It's still more player skill than character skill, except that the combat is awkward and clumsy for the first 75% of the game.

My other complaint would be that stealth relies more on cheap abilities than on clever use of terrain and level features to circumvent patrol routes.

Really I think that AP's main problem is that it just tries to do too much gameplay wise. It tries to be a shooter, a stealth game, and a heavily stat based RPG all at once, and as a result ends up being mediocre at all of those. It would be much better if they just dropped the stats completely, made Mike both the competent fighter and infiltrator that he's really supposed to be by default, and just focused on designing appropriate levels to challenge the player's abilities.


I disagree.
In that case this game wouldn't be an RPG anymore.

The game is fair enough if you do your build right. If you screw up the build, you're going to suffer. And you know what, that's PERFECT.

I can't stand Action RPG's where all the skill comes from the player, that's not a true Action RPG, that a plain Action game with some lite RPG elements pasted in, aka ME2.

#7
Zoraptor

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Complaints I can not understand is when people play this like a shooter and complain that they can't hit with a pistol half across the map.


Personally my complaint is that shooting someone 5 yards away in the head with an assault rifle is still hit or miss.


I got the 50 head shots with AR perk before completing Saudi Arabia (sometime during the 3rd mission, iirc)

It works pretty much as expected and as in 'reality', short, controlled, aimed bursts = dead enemies pdq, charging in like Rambo = dead you almost as fast.

#8
sea

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Sadly, stopping to aim a gun is a lost art. Call of Duty has trained gamers to think that shooting a gun is a matter of vaguely pointing it in the direction of a target and spraying wildly. This may surprise some of you, but accounting for the weight, recoil, sway, and sights of a gun (yes, sights aren't usually 100% perfect, believe it or not) is not something that comes easily, even for experienced marksmen.

One of the biggest complaints I saw about Alpha Protocol is that Michael doesn't seem to shoot very well right from the start of the game. Since most of the classes make it clear that he is not experienced at firing guns in their descriptions, that anyone would assume differently is baffling. It feels like Alpha Protocol was almost wholly reviewed based on how it failed to live up to people's expectations, rather than what it actually is.

#9
Vahkn

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1. It's an RPG so you start out weak and the initial gameplay is fairly boring compared to later on when you have skills etc to use. This is most apparent in the (critical) first few seconds when you first get off the table and shuffle across the room. Not a good first impression for an action game where your first mental priority is to check the games performance etc.

2. The AI is clearly intended for stealth play. If you're dumb enough to play it as a regular shooter then.. you're really not going to get the most out of it. Again, the first few fights seem to encourage a shooter approach over a stealth one... doh.

3. The story isn't very compelling at the start. The whole "wake up on a hospital table" thing has been used by way too many games already, which suggests a (false) lack of creativity in the story.

4. The mini-games are harder than most. If you're expecting the traditional "if you're older than 5 you can beat it without effort" level of challenge then it's a shock to repeatedly fail at a minigame.

5. As with any console/pc port the controls suffer. The interface and controls are the only weak area, and AP certainly isn't the only game guilty of that one.

Don't get me wrong, I love the game, but it does give detractors a lot of ammunition to criticize in the first 30 minutes or so.

#10
dan107

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If Obsidian would do what you suggest, dan - it would be just another Splinter Cell clone. And we don't want that...


What's wrong with gameplay being similar to one of the most popular stealth games ever made? Why waste time reinventing the wheel when you can just go with what works gameplay wise and focus on creating what Splinter Cell doesn't have, and what Obsidian does best - crafting intricate characters and a compelling, branching story? That's what I play RPGs for personally, gameplay considerations are secondary.

I disagree.
In that case this game wouldn't be an RPG anymore.

The game is fair enough if you do your build right. If you screw up the build, you're going to suffer. And you know what, that's PERFECT.

I can't stand Action RPG's where all the skill comes from the player, that's not a true Action RPG, that a plain Action game with some lite RPG elements pasted in, aka ME2.


AP is not even close to being a "true" RPG, nor does it aspire to be. A true old school RPG is entirely character based. You point the character at what to attack, and the rest is dice rolls. A shooter is always going to be primarily player skill based. Stats just add a % chance of failure even when you as a player do everything right.

Sadly, stopping to aim a gun is a lost art. Call of Duty has trained gamers to think that shooting a gun is a matter of vaguely pointing it in the direction of a target and spraying wildly. This may surprise some of you, but accounting for the weight, recoil, sway, and sights of a gun (yes, sights aren't usually 100% perfect, believe it or not) is not something that comes easily, even for experienced marksmen.

One of the biggest complaints I saw about Alpha Protocol is that Michael doesn't seem to shoot very well right from the start of the game. Since most of the classes make it clear that he is not experienced at firing guns in their descriptions, that anyone would assume differently is baffling. It feels like Alpha Protocol was almost wholly reviewed based on how it failed to live up to people's expectations, rather than what it actually is.


You really want to bring realism into this? Leaving aside the fact that AP is as accurate a portrayal of real world espionage as it is of underwater fly fishing, is it realistic that an elite agent starts out being unable to hit the broad side of a barn at 2 feet and 3 months later can insta snipe enemies at 50 yards with a pistol without a second thought?

Edited by dan107, 12 June 2010 - 11:04 PM.


#11
C2B

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I want a stealth game "Wääääääääääh"


No, just no. Your whole argument is based on wanting a stealth game/shooter. That's not what this thread is about. Read the thread title. Please.

Also, a true rpg doesn't have to be turnbased and is not only character based. Is Diablo for some reason for you a true rpg? According to what you wrote, yes. Other rpgs like BG are just as much skill based. The difference in perspective to 3rd person doesn't change a thing.

@ Vaan The first fights do in no way encourage shooting. There was even always a stealth path there especially in the first fights. I don't deny the ammuniton though. But most of these problems I would personally classify under whining and "I don't like it" mentality. Games shouldn't try to appeal to everyone. Though others are viable (especially 5)

Edited by C2B, 13 June 2010 - 02:13 AM.


#12
blackwolfe

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Im damn happy that the game is nothing like Splinter Cell, because that would be plain boring. Dont take me wrong, I love splinter cell, but If I wanted gameplay like that I can simply play.. splinter cell.

And the game encourages shooting? Huh? It is very clear that it encourages stealthy gameplay right from the start. As a matter of fact, its very easy to play the first part of the training without even firing a single shot. Even in Saudi Arabia, stealthing through most of the missions is not that hard.

Sure, Alpha Protocol has bossfights, so what?

Alpha Protocol is more rpg than alot of games out there that call themselves such. Diablo 1/2 are not true rpgs for example. To me a true rpg is about choices and that those choices have an effect on the story, its about making the character what you want it to be. Oh and also stats and skills >_<

#13
edgarcuk

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What is really bad is that AP doesn't come with a manual on how to play AP.

Some say that the tutorial is boring, but it does give you many hints: "wait until the enemy gets close, aim and shot", "the dossier comes to play when the combat is coming", etc. The game encourages you to take the stealth path, problems with shooting? pick your target, pick your position, aim until you can get a critical shot, then shot... but wait you must be in a cover position where your target cannot see you, otherwise while waiting, he can kill you with 2 shots... too many enemies? you can contract someone to lower their numbers before going into mission... and so on. Besides, after every mission you've got a summary of your actions, and outcomes, as well in what is your best weapon in combat (hand, pistol, AR, SMG), etc. The game encourage you to read and think.

A big warning should be put somewhere saying: "if you want to play a la Rambo, your life will be miserable while playing this game".

The game could feel unbalanced, specially in easy and normal, but at hard mode, it feels fine... of course, doing the stealth route.

My only complain is level design; larger areas and more alternative stealth paths, would be nice.

#14
Oner

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I played shotgun-gadgeteer Rambo on my second playthrough, game was lots of fun.

#15
Ulicus

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My other complaint would be that stealth relies more on cheap abilities than on clever use of terrain and level features to circumvent patrol routes.

How would you enable a player who was rubbish at stealth games to play a character who was a stealth expert, in that case? In a proper RPG -- and despite your protestations, that's what Alpha Protocol is -- you can't penalise the player (too much) for being rubbish at something that their character is amazing at.

Edited by Ulicus, 13 June 2010 - 04:02 AM.


#16
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I suck at stealth, so went the Rambo route, and I think it's just fine.

Then again, I have played Deus Ex and such, so am familiar with the concept of having to be discreet even with killing everyone...

If it was stealth forced upon the player, a la Splintercell, I think I would have found this game a lot harder to swallow.

#17
edgarcuk

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I played shotgun-gadgeteer Rambo on my second playthrough, game was lots of fun.


Good to hear, I played my 3rd with a marksman-endurance-martial arts Rambo and it was not so fun... after that, I felt like the combat system is better suited for a stealth approach, IMHO. I mean, lots of enemies coming to kill you stacked one over the other, acting dumb or acting very cunning, no time to aim pistol... perhaps if I have chosen SMG or shotgun, it would be better. :p

Edited by edgarcuk, 13 June 2010 - 04:41 AM.


#18
C2B

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I played shotgun-gadgeteer Rambo on my second playthrough, game was lots of fun.


Good to hear, I played my 3rd with a marksman-endurance-martial arts Rambo and it was not so fun... after that, I felt like the combat system is better suited for a stealth approach, IMHO. I mean, lots of enemies coming to kill you stacked one over the other, acting dumb or acting very cunning, no time to aim pistol... perhaps if I have chosen SMG or shotgun, it would be better. :p


I think so, a pistol is always better suited for stealth since it's very weak in comparison and short range (though Chain shot makes up for much)

Shotgun runthrough is lots of fun.

Edited by C2B, 13 June 2010 - 04:54 AM.


#19
thufirhawat333

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In my opinion, the system works well. It took a few hours to get used to it, but once you do, it'll be smooth and natural (except for some occasional cover-lag)
People tend to miss the fact that it's an RPG so your abilities are based on skill points and such.
If people are looking for shooter and stealth element which is relying on the environment, go ahead and play Splinter Cell, that's the point of that series.
Alpha Protocol is Alpha Protocol, and it isn't a tactical stealth game, but an RPG with some action elements.
That's what people should comprehend.

#20
dan107

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I want a stealth game "Wääääääääääh"


No, just no. Your whole argument is based on wanting a stealth game/shooter. That's not what this thread is about. Read the thread title. Please.

Also, a true rpg doesn't have to be turnbased and is not only character based. Is Diablo for some reason for you a true rpg? According to what you wrote, yes. Other rpgs like BG are just as much skill based. The difference in perspective to 3rd person doesn't change a thing.


In BG you don't manually aim a sword at an enemy, nor do you manually avoid enemy attacks. You select a target and an ability (while comfortably paused) and the dice rolls take it from there. That's not even remotely similar to AP or any other game where you have to manually aim and take cover.

I understand that you might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but stay with me here. My argument is not based on wanting a pure stealth game. I'm perfectly fine with a stealth/shooter combo, or even a pure shooter. What I DON'T want however, is a gameplay system that requires a high degree of player input and micromanagement (in AP you literally control a character's every move) but then has a random stat based chance of failure even if the player does everything right. If you abstract combat completely, a la BG, then I'm fine with dice rolls. But if you give me full control of the character, and I swing a sword or shoot a gun, and hit the enemy, I expect that to register. To shoot someone point blank and miss because of a dice roll is bad, bad, bad gameplay.

The second part of my complaint is how the stealth gameplay works. Pressing a magic button that allows you to run completely invisible in a bright room full of enemies is cheap gameplay. It shows that the designers didn't put in the time to design levels for a true stealth path, and instead just gave you an all purpose "I win" button and called it a day.

None of these problems are game-breaking, mind you, and I still enjoyed AP because of it's story, but most of the gameplay is mediocre. It's not horrible, but it's definitely not good either.




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