So basically, first I was stuck on Marburg and now I'm stuck on Brayko, for the same reason: he has a ****-ton of hit points, he has a ****-ton of endurance, he has infinitely respawning henchmen, he can regenerate his endurance at will, and on top of that, he frequently bugs out on me and starts going at super-speed, which literally makes him impossible to defeat - not like I had much chance to begin with.
Here's how it's going down: I've got plenty of grenades, maxed out stealth and sabotage, a little in martial arts, but no skill in guns. I can take out Brayko's endurance with a single grenade, but when it comes to damaging his hit points I'm out of luck. Remote mines and grenades are pretty useless when he's chasing me around with his knife, and there's absolutely no time for me to set up traps for him since I am constantly assaulted by those respawning goons. I go to take them out, and guess what, now he's chasing me with a knife. If I do get him out in the open, I have a few options: try to take pot shots and chip away at his health, spray him in the face with SMGs when he gets tired, or try to take him on in melee and take a huge amount of damage. In most cases, these lead to death. I've managed to get him down to around 40% hit points or so, which takes roughly ten minutes, and anything beyond that is impossible since I simply run out of health.
A smart RPG is one that allows for a multitude of equally-valid play-styles. If I am not good at fighting, I should be able to hack a computer, or plant a bomb, or talk my enemies out of attacking me. Apparently, some designer liked that ****ing song so much that he decided to force the player into one of the most ill-conceived and infuriating boss fights ever made; that's the only explanation I can think of for the game not giving you a reasonable alternative. If the game absolutely has to force a conflict, for the sake of the story (there's no real reason here, I should note), then it is still reasonable to provide certain types of players with options. How come I can't drop the stage lights on Brayko by sabotaging them? Why aren't there sentry turrets I can reprogram? Why not just give him less health if I'm not a very good fighter? At least that would let me beat him! There are a couple of other situations in Alpha Protocol like this, but Marburg was at least defeatable for me. After hours of trying, I still can't beat Brayko.
And no, please don't give me that "you should go to another hub" bull****. I understand that in RPGs, you'll come across enemies that are stronger than you, and that it is necessary to return when you are stronger. However, Alpha Protocol isn't an open-ended game like Fallout, where I can simply come back and try again if I don't think I'm quite ready yet. It is a linear action-RPG, and it is not designed in such a way to facilitate the player grinding for experience - not to mention that to do so would produce a disjointed story. And, frankly, forcing me to play the same mission again, in its entirety, because the people who made the game were out to lunch, is simply not acceptable.
I really enjoy some aspects of Alpha Protocol, but I have to stress just how amazingly infuriating certain parts of it are, especially these boss fights. The game devolves into a janky, poorly-designed mess that's more comical than anything, and when it's not being ridiculously stupid, it's being impossibly difficult. I'm at the point where I feel like I should just stop playing the game. I'd use cheats, but then I'm afraid that the DRM will go insane on me and use up a few more activations. The sad part is that if it wasn't for issues like this, I'd probably have finished the game two or three times over by now.
Edited by sea, 22 June 2010 - 09:08 PM.