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Blog Comments posted by Oblarg

  1. What I'd really like? Alpha Protocol done right. Doesn't have to be the same IP, obviously, but a single-protagonist spy-setting RPG with the emphasis on narrative.


    I enjoyed Alpha Protocol, but despite how impressive the branching narrative was, the emphasis on the clunky combat and some of the flawed implementation really left it feeling like it could have been so much more. Here's what I'd like to see:


    Firstly, setting: A spy setting is cool. The problem with Alpha Protocol is it wasn't executed properly. If the player is a lone agent on the run, make the player feel like a lone agent on the run. Don't give the player lavish safehouses and spy bases and constant video contact with other agents. Leave the player in a dingy basement safehouse with a small list of contacts and a telephone. Make the question of "who can you trust" mean something - the choice of who to trust in Alpha Protocol didn't much change how the game played out. The characters sure betrayed each other a lot, but very seldom was Thorton himself double-crossed. This really detracts from the setting.


    Secondly, gameplay - Alpha Protocol tried to do too many things here. Designing levels such that they could be played either as a stealthy character or as someone shooting everything in sight simply lead to clunky gameplay. The focus should be narrowed - take away all the weapon classes except for pistol (since when do spies walk around with assault rifles?), and have stealth be the staple of most levels. Flesh out the stealth mechanics, and design the character skills likewise (how do you sneak rather than do you sneak or do you shoot).


    Which leads into character skills - as the emphasis of this sort of game would be in the narrative anyway, give character skills more goddamn relevance in the narrative. If you specialize in martial arts, give the player the option to disarm someone holding him at gunpoint where he otherwise could not. If you specialize in hacking, let that give the player the option to dig up information that would not otherwise be available for use in dialogue. Stuff like that. Nearly every skill should have some sort of relevance in the narrative. Reactivity to character skill is the defining characteristic of an RPG - limiting this reactivity to the clunky gameplay was one of the reasons Alpha Protocol didn't work as well as it could have.

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