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The qualities of a great RPG

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So I have certain requirements for this game in order for it to be ushered in with the greats

 

1: Does it have an absorbing and creative story?

 

2: atmosphere is another key element, how would you rank it in ap?

 

3: Is the soundtrack good and does it fit the theme (some ambient tracks would be nice)?

 

Appreciate the responses

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The story is very interesting, because it actually changes substantially depending on what you do and in what order each playthrough. You can never meet a major character, get him/her killed, romanced, allied, or various combinations. At its core the plot would not be out of place in any major spy blockbuster movie, the writing and delivery are all up to that standard. While the gameplay and game engine might lack polish, the story does not.

 

Atmosphere - bit of a love/hate going on with the main character's voice acting and appearance, but other than that I'd argue that it gets the spy genre feel right, it always feels like a modern day spy thriller. I thought the soundtrack fit very well - ambient, fairly low-key, blends into the surroundings, modern style with some electronic influences but nothing over the top.

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As Tigranes said, you can not meet or work with some characters depending on choices. I'm already keen for a 2nd playthrough considering one character turned his/her back on me because I sided with someone else. Good writing all around. To me and some others, Thornton is a smug douche but I love it. He's never afraid to throw some sarcastic barbs at any character.

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Goodness, there's actually someone else out there ??? The OP pretty much listed the three ingredients which are also crucial to me when it comes to RPG's. I thought I was the only atmosphere whore around.

 

Sadly. the two responses you got don't seem to be too convincing. :ermm: Perhaps they misunderstood you, or they simply don't value those things as much as we do.

 

I think it's the setting. Obsidian went for a realistic modern day setting, and it's hard for that to compete against fantasy realms when it comes to evocative power of ambience, mood, atmosphere. As another poster pointed out, the setting didn't exactly help Obsidian out when it came to reviews. People associate shooters with that setting, and so its natural for them to go in with a certain mindset.

 

If there was an element of the supernatural appropriate to the modern setting (specifically a healthy dose of science fiction) that would have gone a long way towards making people go into the RPG mindset as opposed to a shooter mindset. But as it is, all your enemies seem to be just humans, and that realism can be mundane and have an adverse effect on that quality of immersive atmosphere that some of us prize in RPG's.

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If there was an element of the supernatural appropriate to the modern setting (specifically a healthy dose of science fiction) that would have gone a long way towards making people go into the RPG mindset as opposed to a shooter mindset. But as it is, all your enemies seem to be just humans, and that realism can be mundane and have an adverse effect on that quality of immersive atmosphere that some of us prize in RPG's.

 

Well, thats what sets Alpha protocol apart from other rpgs. There is simply no fantasy, no sci-fi, not even hints at magic or anything paranormal. There are already enough fantasy rpgs out there. People need to get the "traditional" rpg mindset out of their heads.

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If there was an element of the supernatural appropriate to the modern setting (specifically a healthy dose of science fiction) that would have gone a long way towards making people go into the RPG mindset as opposed to a shooter mindset. But as it is, all your enemies seem to be just humans, and that realism can be mundane and have an adverse effect on that quality of immersive atmosphere that some of us prize in RPG's.

 

Well, thats what sets Alpha protocol apart from other rpgs. There is simply no fantasy, no sci-fi, not even hints at magic or anything paranormal. There are already enough fantasy rpgs out there. People need to get the "traditional" rpg mindset out of their heads.

 

I understand they were trying to do something different. But with that came a price. The most negative reviews of AP make it seem as if the author was expecting a third person shooter, and the setting is partly to blame for that.

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I understand they were trying to do something different. But with that came a price. The most negative reviews of AP make it seem as if the author was expecting a third person shooter, and the setting is partly to blame for that.

 

Not that it always has to do with reviewers expecting shooters though.

I can understand why someone can find inelegant that shooting a guy 3 times in the head doesn't kill him.

Granted, Fallout 3 had the same problem, but most of the time you were actually battling super mutants, not raiders (though it felt jarring when you were shooting to raiders.. and I doubt it will feel any less jarring when playing Alpha Protocol).

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If there was an element of the supernatural appropriate to the modern setting (specifically a healthy dose of science fiction) that would have gone a long way towards making people go into the RPG mindset as opposed to a shooter mindset. But as it is, all your enemies seem to be just humans, and that realism can be mundane and have an adverse effect on that quality of immersive atmosphere that some of us prize in RPG's.

 

Well, thats what sets Alpha protocol apart from other rpgs. There is simply no fantasy, no sci-fi, not even hints at magic or anything paranormal. There are already enough fantasy rpgs out there. People need to get the "traditional" rpg mindset out of their heads.

 

I understand they were trying to do something different. But with that came a price. The most negative reviews of AP make it seem as if the author was expecting a third person shooter, and the setting is partly to blame for that.

 

WTF? The setting is to blame for the reviewers being total idiots? If you can only judge game mechanics based on the setting of the game, you need to get a lobotomy. At the very least you shouldn't be a game reviewer.

 

Screw creativity and trying something different. If your RPG doesn't have magic then every gaming idiot out there will think it is Crysis or something. Therefore, we should just be recycling the settings over and over because people can't tell the difference between game mechanics and settings.

 

Heaven forbid games like Jagged Alliance, Fallout 1, Deus Ex, and yes, Alpha Protocol, dare to do something different with the RPG trope.

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So I have certain requirements for this game in order for it to be ushered in with the greats...

 

More than anything Alpha Protocol does have a great WORLD. It has a good story (the storytelling is a little bit uneven at times, but still good), but what really draws you in is the world. It is compelling and well constructed. This really has a feel like Vampires:Bloodlines about it -- the characters and environments are really well crafted and add to the immersion. Like Bloodlines, you really do feel as if you step into this secret world.

 

In terms of general writing, for the most part it is good. Some of the email correspondences sometimes lack finess. The style sometimes is not very mature. But this isn't a huge draw back. The story and dialogue are all well written though.

 

Delivery is hit and miss. The main character sometimes sounds a bit lacklustre.

 

Sound for me is a definite hit.

 

In terms of characterization, what Obsidian does really well is make characterization more organic. Unlike say, Bioware games, where learning about characters means hours of exposition, learning about their past, their favourite colour, their first pet's name etc., in AP you learn about characters either on the missions, as you encounter them, or through information dossiers. It suits the setting very well and makes for more plausible characters.

 

So in terms of the content and story elements I would say it's great. Sure there are things to improve on, the basic content elements are done exceptionally well

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I found both Fallout and Deus Ex to be quite atmospheric actually, and that's because they both used sci fi to add that extra ethereal element that contributes to atmosphere.

 

Jagged Alliance is excellent as a tactical shooter, but the setting isn't particularly atmospheric. It was the sparse but effective voice acting and rich characterizations that gave Jagged Alliance its atmosphere. The mercs had their own quirky, distinctive personalities.

 

Alpha Protocol is just too down to earth it seems, but that's probably exactly what the writers wanted.

 

------------

 

Yup, I'm not the only one who notice this tension between RPG tradition and realism in Alpha Protocol.

 

from rpg watch:

 

At a deeper conceptual level, Alpha Protocol presents a real-world setting but then uses skills that act like magic and exaggerated characters inspired by '80s Bond films. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and writing but they seem an uncomfortable fit with the realism. Ultimately, I think Alpha Protocol would have been better with a more stylised, graphic-novel theme.
Edited by poetic obsidian

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I found both Fallout and Deus Ex to be quite atmospheric actually, and that's because they both used sci fi to add that extra ethereal element that contributes to atmosphere.

 

Jagged Alliance is excellent as a tactical shooter, but the setting isn't particularly atmospheric. It was the sparse but effective voice acting and rich characterizations that gave Jagged Alliance its atmosphere. The mercs had their own quirky, distinctive personalities.

 

These games pushed the boundaries of what was "allowable" content in the RPG genre. Regardless of why they worked, if nothing different hadn't been tried, all RPGs would still basically be about killing beholders in dungeons.

 

Alpha Protocol is just too down to earth it seems, but that's probably exactly what the writers wanted.

 

Yet again, there is nothing to say an RPG cannot be "down-to-earth." Plus, there is still a high level of intrigue and mystery to be found in the AP world.

 

And nevertheless, being "down-to-earth" doesn't excuse people from treating it as if it was as TPS. You might argue that it doesn't work well as a RPG, but you surely can't argue that you were confused as to it's genre after 20 minutes of play time, and then start complaining that COD4 was a better shooter.

 

Yup, I'm not the only one who notice this tension between RPG tradition and realism in Alpha Protocol.

 

That says nothing about why the game should be treated as third person shooter. In fact, that RPGWatch was able to consider it thusly suggests they had no confusions about the gameplay mechanics at all.

 

Ultimately their criticism is not about setting, but about the explanation/power of certain skills. This has to do with the skills themselves, not the mechanics of the RPG/levelling system. Evasion and Stealth Operative are surely immersion killing, but that doesn't mean that an RPG-like skill system is out of place. In fact, at RPG watch they even said that they would've liked a deeper skill system and stronger stealth mechanics.

 

Maybe people should get used to the idea the mil-RPG or shooter-RPG is here to stay. In the same way that no one compares Dragon Age to Ninja Gaiden just because they both have swords, people should review this game for how is works as an RPG.

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As a long time RPG gamer, I can say but only one quality which matter, does the game make me loose sleep because it is fun/interessting, if yes, then it is a good RPG.

 

 

Gothic made me go to bed Early, just so you know. (Damn that game was generic)

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