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Posts posted by dan107

  1. This is very much a matter of perspective. Its only awkward and clumsy if you look at it from a shooter perspective. Not from a classic rpg perspective. If you try to play it in the normal shooter way of course the gunplay will feel flawed and awkward.


    How else would you play it? You still have to point the gun and shoot. If it was pick an enemy and an ability, like the ranged combat in KOTOR, I could understand it, but in AP the overall system is still standard cover based shooter. With stats crowbarred in for some reason. (You still didn't say what exactly they add to the gameplay, mind you.)


    Of course it could be improved, but I dont think removing the stats would do AP any justice.


    Why not? Why do you think that it would be a worse game without the stats?

  2. Answer to your problems is quite simple, Dan. Don't like it? - don't play it.


    Knowing so much about game design and what should done to be right, what's the best and where's the truth about perfect game experience you shouldn't be wasting your time on these forums.


    You know what? I have an idea: you should be designing your own game! There's even full engine waiting for you to use!

    So download your copy of Unreal Development Kit - it's easy to use, ready for your brilliant and ground breaking ideas to became truth!


    Ah - and don't forget to inform us how is it going and give us some demo to try. I bet, with such deep knowledge about how everything should be done your game is going to be a full blown success, no question about that.


    ...Ah...unless you're one of those useless malcontent, who can't do anything on their own - just whine that people more talented than you couldn't make something which would suit your sophisticated taste...



    Who said that I didn't like it? I explicitly stated several times that I think that AP is a very good game overall. I'm just posting specific criticisms of aspects of it that I don't think worked very well. Ah, but you're probably too busy enjoying your own "wit" to actually read what I said. Let me know when you get your head out of your ass.


    Little tip: There is a difference between improving something and "I want to have it my waaaay. W
  3. Alpha Protocol's accuracy is probably closer to reality than Counter-Strike's... Counter-Strike gives you single-shot accuracy almost like what you'd get if you bolted the gun down to a table, except it's in a combat situation.


    You're playing a one man army that will kill in the neighborhood of 300 people singlehandedly before the game is done. Given the context marksman level accuracy can be forgiven IMO. I will reiterate once more that I don't have a problem with waiting to aim and inaccuracy when an enemy is at a distance, it's having to deal with it at close range that I find annoying. And the fact that Thorton's aiming abilities will differ drastically between the beginning and end of the game.


    That analogy fails on multiple levels. You buy bikes and games for different reasons, and the design goals when making them are very different. Bikes are not a creative outlet, games are. Buying a bike rather than building your own is more like leasing a game engine instead of programming your own, not like copying a game's gameplay rather than making your own.


    Don't take my words out of content. I clarified the analogy in my post. All I meant to say is that creativity does not equal good gameplay, and using a system you know to work does not equal bad gameplay. You can't be creative everywhere at once and expect to ship the game, so pick your battles. Being different for the sake of being different is not a good approach.


    If he was good at both, though, it'd nullify the players choice in how they wanted to define Thorton, which is what I think they're going for.


    Thorton is not exactly a blank slate to begin with though. He's more or less a defined character and personally I would sacrifice a little more character customization for a more customized gameplay experience. I can see why some might feel differently though.


    I think it's pretty obvious that the game is not actually intended to be realistic.


    To any that followed the game development, that became pretty obvious a long time ago.


    I can understand how some might expect a very realistic experience, and that's a fault of the game, but by design it's not intended to be realistic.


    Perhaps realism was a poor choice of words. Obviously realistically no one is sneaking into a 7-11 without getting caught on camera, let alone a secured intelligence compound. What I really want from stealth is a deeper, more satisfying experience. A good stealth level is first and foremost a puzzle that you have to solve. Figure out the guards' patrol routes, create a diversion, find an open window or an alternate path - all those are satisfying ways to overcome a challenge. Pressing a magic button and just breezing through is not.


    As for impossible bosses and broken gameplay? Let's talk about ME1 for the PC, shall we?


    I don't see how pointing out problems in other games is relevant to AP.


    Should we get rid of every boss fight in every game? Should it all be a series of QTEs? Or just throw in an anti-climactic cinematic cutscene? I play a game to PLAY a game not to HAVE IT play ITSELF for me. My God, these people infuriate me.


    I actually agree with you on bosses. I'd rather have a boss fight be memorable and challenging than ultra-realistic. However, there are ways to make fights challenging without giving enemies superhuman abilities though. For instance Darcy throwing 3 grenades simultaneously from 200 yards with pinpoint accuracy is a bit much IMO. Especially considering that a similar result could be achieved by setting up a small mortar near him or something.

  4. If I would want to play Splinter Cell - I would play it. And not Alpha Protocol.

    What's wrong with gameplay being similar to whatever? Lack of creativity. And creativity is some really rare gem in gaming industry these days. That's why I prefer games being innovative over clones of the same old sh**t.

    Game creation is an art, in case you don't know that, and like every art - should evolve and search for different routes of expression... (unless you still want to play Pong as a "only real" action game, or Wastelands as "only real" RPG)


    I suppose the people that ride bycicles instead of building their own contraptions do so because they lack creativity? Look creativity is good, but you can't reinvent the wheel every single time. You have to pick and chose where to be creative, and a game developer should play to its strenghts. Obsidian's strongpoint is story and characters, not game system design. So instead of mucking about trying to build game systems from scratch, it makes a lot more sense to just go with ones that are known to work, and focus the creativity on the narrative. Just because something is original does not mean that it will be good. Especially if the company lacks experience in that area.


    You should start thinking more out of the box you've put yourself in, Dan. And get out that cave. The truth is out there...


    It sure is my man. And it will blow your mind. :p

  5. The levels are not designed to allow for realistic stealth for the most part. Evasion is a cheap as invisibility, and there are spots in almost every level that you cannot sneak past without evasion or invisibility.


    I will say that at least for me I found the level design while fairly straightforward to also mostly allow for stealth at least until you got to a point in which stealth wasn't really possible anymore (like walking into a wide open area with loads of enemy - they the only way to stealth would be to use the fantastical stealth skills).


    That's actually another element of bad design IMO. Time and time again I would try to stealth through a level only to have a firefight forced upon me. Not because I got caught, but because the game decided to do so. That made me feel like all my time and effort sneaking was wasted. What's the point of sneaking around in the first place if you're still gonna have to shoot everything that moves at some point?


    It isn't magic. It's a skill. Like Chain Shot (which is impossible to do IRL).

    While I don't recall BG's specific "Hide in Shadows" routine (never bothered too much with rogues and stuff) I am pretty sure it was indeed still possible. One common tactic heard about fighting Basilisks in BG1 was parking a rogue to see them (in their FoV), then attack then with AoE spells from beyond their LoS.

    Also, KOTOR completely allows one to become invisible, and that's without the use of the "Force" (read: Magic). Guess that's a horrible RPG too, even if combat is completely stat-based?


    Let's not go to extremes here. KOTOR is not a horrible RPG, and neither is AP IMO. I keep repeating that overall I think that AP is a very good game, I'm just criticising several specific design decisions that keep it from being a great one.


    However, there is a big difference between AP and KOTOR. In KOTOR, just like in BG, combat is very abstracted. You select an enemy and an ability, and the rest is dice rolls. The engine is not built for sneaking or line of sight considerations, therefore you necessarily have to abstract stealth as well. In AP, however, the engine is built to accomodate a much more elegant stealth system, however the level design simply falls short.


    Having said that, I've always thought that using D&D on the computer was more about making a game that will feel comfortable and familiar to a large audience rather than trying to design the best possible game. D&D gameplay is good for pen and paper, but quite frankly it's crap compared to gameplay systems that the PC is capable of supporting. Comfortable and familiar though they may be, stats are a relic of a more primitive time. BG and KOTOR were great in spite of D&D, not because of it.


    Well "A wizard did it" itsn't really far from "SCIENCE" (Commenting on the magic remark)


    Just because something can be explained with an element from a contunity doesn't mean that it always makes sense in said contuinty. See Hassans post about Kotor II


    Well if it's explained properly, it ought to make sense. If it's just crowbarred in, however, that would also be bad design.


    All the weasels gonna say.


    Maybe the weasel comment was a bit harsh. I was just pissed off at how disrespectfully you quoted me in the beginning.


    This is where I think you can only really counter by saying that the game was designed so that each path could be seen as valid. Just as run-and-gunners would be upset if the game was a corridor crawl full of sneaking, the stealthers would be upset if there was no way to get past melee points. An "invisibility" skill allows the stealther to keep the game moving within their game style. And if, understanding this, the player still feels it "breaks" the game, well that's all there is at that point.


    Another limitation of stat based design. If Thorton was made by default to be good at both combat and sneaking (like a superspy really ought to be) then you could have levels that focused on combat and ones that focused on sneaking, without trying to accomodate both and as a result being good at neither.

  6. Just out of curiosity, did you like Fallout 3, Oblivion, or Mass Effect 1?


    All three had similar issues, yet none of them seemed to get trashed in the reviews because of it.


    Didn't play Fallout or Oblivion. ME1 had that issue as well, but you could pause the game to aim at close range to mitigate it somewhat. Having said that I agree that AP got a raw deal in the reviews. In spite of its problems it's still a very good game. Even the gameplay isn't horrible, it's just not good IMO.


    Ahhh, I overlooked that post.


    Well, I give up. Don't even try answer to him. He's arrogant enough thinking he knows exactly what an rpg is and brings completly flawed statements.


    If you've got something to say to me you should address it to me directly, not talk about me in 3rd person like the little weasel you seem to be.


    I especially like:


    equires 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.


    First of all, every rpg requires that. Which attack, which skill to choose, which formation etc.etc. But hey, you have your opinion. I'm tired to argue with something like that.


    Are you really unable to grasp the difference between selecting an enemy and ordering a character to attack vs. manually controlling a character's aim and dodging? It's not black and white, there's a wide spectrum here, and AP and BG are pretty far apart on it.


    As far as what a true RPG is, I only went there because you did. Honestly it's completely irrelevant what an RPG is and if AP is truly one. It's just a pointless label.


    Wouldn't you say that saying that (properly horrible way to start a sentence :lol:) categorizing some RPGs as "true" and "untrue" is pretty much deciding what an RPG is on your own?


    That was actually more of an answer to him and more sarcastically spoken. I should have used "" to specify this. Sorry. ;)


    Really? So this was sarcasm and not an attempt to define an RPG?


    Also, a true rpg doesn't have to be turnbased and is not only character based.
    First of all, every rpg requires that. Which attack, which skill to choose, which formation etc.etc.


    I bow before your wit, sir.

  7. Pressing a magic button that allows you to run completely invisible in a bright room full of enemies is cheap gameplay.

    Baldur's Gate 2 got an "Improved Invisibility" spell.

    Is that game cheap too?


    No, because a) magic exists in the world of BG so it makes sense and b) combat in BG is so abstracted that it doesn't really matter. BG's engine does not allow you to hide and sneak around enemies' line of sight. AP's does.


    I understand that you might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but stay with me here.
    Do you insult everyone who disagrees with you?


    No, only the douchebags that completely discount what I said and imply that I'm a whiner. I don't appreciate being quoted like this:


    I want a stealth game "W
  8. 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?

  9. Graphics have been around more or less the same level in most games for the last 3 years or so, and will continue to be on that level in the foreseeable future. Don't expect any major improvements until the next generation of consoles comes out; even for PC games, since most games are multi-platform nowadays.


    On the plus side though I've had the same rig for 3 years now and can still run any game I want at max settings. So some good has come out of this transition to consoles after all. :)

  10. 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.

  11. For a while I have been of the mind that I find Obsidian (and Black Isle) games to be superior in their narrative and story telling. But BioWare's games have typically been technically better, from a gameplay side or what have you.

    I doubt anyone would disagree with you.


    The question then is; what do you find more attractive? A good narration (OE) above mega-polished gameplay, or mega-polished gameplay that's rather bland in content (BW).


    Apperently a lot of people choose BW, much to the demise of Troika, but I definitely put OE higher.


    I disagree. I think that Bioware games have amazing narrative and dialogues. At least as good as Obsidian. But they also have better production values in addition to it. As much as I enjoyed AP, I think that ME 1 and 2 are superior games. I'd probably rank AP on about the same level as DA though, albeit they have different strengths and weaknesses.

  12. I think that a lot of the criticisms of AP are justified, but the review scores are way too low. No way does it deserve less than an 8. It certainly could've been more polished, and there probably should've been more emphasis on the spy elements rather than making it primarily a level based shooter, but it's still a damn good game.


    And it grows on you too. Once you play it a few times, or read a few posts about other people's playthroughs, you realize that the reactivity to the player's decisions is mind-boggling. No game I've ever played had a story that accounted for so many permutations. Not even ME2 or DA can match AP in that department.

  13. Hi there,

    I'm playing for the fist time on hard and I don't understand how come the computer hacking is practically impossible at times..

    It started off being ridiculously fast and I had to spot the numbers right away and move the numbers to where they should be as fast as I could but now as the game progresses I can no longer do it.. even if I do spot the numbers right away I just can't click fast enough on the keyboard and move the mouse fast enough to reach the locations on time !?

    And hacking a computer is practically impossible while hacking alarms or cracking locks is really easy, what am I missing?


    Thank you.


    Yeah, it's tough, especially until you max the hacking skill. One little "trick" that I used is with the most difficult ones just scan the upper left hand corner thoroughly hoping that the sequence is there. If it's not, you won't have time to move the left numbers anywhere else before they reset anyway, so all you can hope for is that it will be in the upper left corner and make sure that you don't miss it. Then hope that you can spot the other one quickly enough, since the mouse moves faster than the keyboard. So essentially you have a 1/4 chance or so of hacking the toughest computers. Spy's luck doubles it, and once you max the hacking skill you get more time. So make sure you keep the skill maxed all the time if you intend to do a lot of hacking. Some alarms will get really tough later on also.


    Or, like the other guy said, you can just use EMPs (you can put them in more than 1 slot so you can carry more than 2) but to me that always felt kind of cheap.

  14. But what your forgetting is this is a Role Playing Game with shooter elements. If you haven't levelled up your skill with the weapon your using then you aren't doing everything right as the player. Just as not levelling up sabotage means that the mini games get a whole lot harder, not levelling up weapons means your ability to deal damage is hampered accordingly.


    Oh, I'm not forgetting that, I just don't like it. :lol: And for the life of me I don't see what adding stats to a shooter mechanic brings to the table, other than making the shooting clumsy and ineffective when the stats are low. What's the upside here really?

  15. Max your weapon skill and the damage is about as consistent as in any other shooter out there.


    So if you're not min-maxing and are trying to build a balanced character you get accurate shooting in what, the last 25% of the game or so? Not good enough IMO.


    Shooting the same enemy in the same spot with the assault rifle can result anywhere from an instant kill to doing absolutely no damage, so in situations where you had to take down several people in a row very quickly, luck was a bigger factor than skill.

    Ehm, if you shoot immediately after pressing the right mouse button, sure. Then it's somewhere in the reticle (notice how large it is?). Give it time and it will be 100% guaranteed hit where you aim, with a critical hit. Headshot usually means dead. Except for the really tough guys (Deus Vult usually took 2 headshots).


    It never depended on "luck" for me. Hitting wasn't the hard part at all, not getting hit is the challenge...


    If the enemies are far away from you, that works since for some reason they can never hit you from long distance. However if they're at close range or charging towards you, you don't have time to wait for a crit. At best you can wait for the targeting reticle to narrow a bit, and then fire. If the game decides that you hit, they're dead; if it decides you missed, you're dead. That's the frustrating part to me. If you do everything right as the player, aim right at the guys head, and shoot him before he shoots you, you shouldn't lose simply because of behind the scenes random rolls.

  16. I love a good challenge in games and AP on hard mode was certainly more challenging than any game I've played in years. Unfortunately it wasn't always challenging for the right reasons though.


    The traditional way to make a game difficult is by setting up a tough encounter with clever enemies, and giving the player elegant tools to deal with it. AP opted for a more original approach, with most of the challenge came from the clumsy combat system. Shooting the same enemy in the same spot with the assault rifle can result anywhere from an instant kill to doing absolutely no damage, so in situations where you had to take down several people in a row very quickly, luck was a bigger factor than skill. However, that was countered by the pathetic AI, with the enemies every bit as likely to run around in circles as they were to kill you with one burst, so oddly it balanced out. It sure ain't pretty, but AP's hard mode is refreshingly challenging compared to most games these days.

  17. I'd say that overall AP is pretty damn good. It certainly has its flaws, but it's still a fun and compelling game nonetheless. Particularly the reactivity by the story is amazing. I don't recall ever playing a game that had so many permutations accounted for all the way through. So while it's definitely not all that it could have been had it received some proper polish, the game is well worth the 50 bucks IMO.

  18. The criticism is not with the action combat system, the criticism is with the stat part that completely mucks it up. The combat gameplay would've been much better if they ditched the stats completely and just made it a straight stealth/shooter hybrid.


    Stats are a pen and paper relic. If you really thinkg about it, what exactly do they add to the gameplay, other than making it clumsy and frustrating while they're low? There are much more elegant ways to create a challenge than that! When will someone finally make a game that has the gameplay of Half Life 2 combined with the story and character interactions of a traditional RPG?

  19. Good news. More polish.


    It also won't have to compete in the market against Brutal Legend, Modern Warfare 2, Dragon Age, Borderlands, and other highly anticipated titles.


    Yeah, so that it can go head to head with Mass Effect 2 and maybe Diablo 3 instead. ;)


    Changing release dates to accomodate competition is moronic. First of all, you never know for sure what you'll be competing against 6 months from now. More importantly, if you've got a good game and market it properly, people will play it, regardless when you release it. By going out of your way to avoid competition you're essentially saying that your primary sales strategy is for people to buy your game because of a lack of other options. Not exactly the best way to inspire consumer confidence.

  20. Looks pretty much like what Bioware did with Dragon Age. The devs over there claim to have added some 50 sidequests to the game and have made it much more polished than it would've been otherwise. I hope that the Sega doesn't just sit on AP the way it is, but authorizes some kind of budget to make it better.

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