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My First Impressions Of AP (XB360)


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Let me start by saying that I am not new to the RPG genre at all. I have played many RPGs, including more traditional ones such as Oblivion, Dragon Age, Fallout 3, Deus Ex and Mass Effect, and I've played action RPGs such as Fable, Fable 2 and Mass Effect 2.

 

The first thing I'll say about Alpha Protocol is that, as I suspected, the overall criticism the game is receiving is, IMO, unwarranted and very much hypocritical. I've played the game for about an hour now (I've just passed the opening tutorial segment), and so far, the only issues I've experienced are texture pop-in, somewhat clunky movement controls and a rare animation glitch. To be more specific, the texture pop-in I've seen is no worse than it was in Mass Effect (IMO, it's about the same or possibly less frequent), the controls are fine once you've adjusted to them and the rare animation glitch I referred to was a guard's death animation repeating itself, similar to what you see in online games when lag is present (again, I've only seen this once out of many death animations I've witnessed). The only other thing I can think of that I didn't like is that the save system is checkpoint based without the option to save anywhere. While I don't like this, it hasn't been a problem for me as of yet.

 

As for everything else, I'm liking AP a lot. The story and characters, and how they are presented, is very well done, IMO.

 

I REALLY like the conversation system in AP. Some have criticized the system for not giving you ample time to choose your dialogue options such as with Mass Effect, but I like the system in that it feels more natural, more fluid. If you were in a conversation with someone and you took 15 seconds or more to reply, it would be awkward. I also really like how certain characters prefer certain types of responses.

 

The combat is very much that of a traditional RPG, much in the same vein as the original Mass Effect. Weapon damage and accuracy is very much stat based. In a way, the combat reminds me of Deus Ex, in that the longer you keep your reticle on a target, the more accurate and damaging your shot will be.

 

Visually, AP gets the job done. While it won't win any awards for it's graphics, they aren't as bad as some have said. Some have said that the visuals are worse than that of Dragon Age. I disagree. Some have also criticized the game for lacking an art direction. My feelings on the lack of an art direction are that I like that AP is based in a real-world setting and I feel that the look of the game compliments that setting perfectly. A graphic novel-style art direction, or any art direction typically associated with a fantasy or sci-fi setting, would be awkward in AP, IMO.

 

All in all, I'm pleased with AP so far and I think I'll be pleased once I've beaten it. I'm glad I followed my gut instinct and picked it up rather than passed it up.

Let's put a smile on that face!

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Let me start by saying that I am not new to the RPG genre at all. I have played many RPGs, including more traditional ones such as Oblivion, Dragon Age, Fallout 3, Deus Ex and Mass Effect, and I've played action RPGs such as Fable, Fable 2 and Mass Effect 2.

 

The first thing I'll say about Alpha Protocol is that, as I suspected, the overall criticism the game is receiving is, IMO, unwarranted and very much hypocritical. I've played the game for about an hour now (I've just passed the opening tutorial segment), and so far, the only issues I've experienced are texture pop-in, somewhat clunky movement controls and a rare animation glitch. To be more specific, the texture pop-in I've seen is no worse than it was in Mass Effect (IMO, it's about the same or possibly less frequent), the controls are fine once you've adjusted to them and the rare animation glitch I referred to was a guard's death animation repeating itself, similar to what you see in online games when lag is present (again, I've only seen this once out of many death animations I've witnessed). The only other thing I can think of that I didn't like is that the save system is checkpoint based without the option to save anywhere. While I don't like this, it hasn't been a problem for me as of yet.

 

As for everything else, I'm liking AP a lot. The story and characters, and how they are presented, is very well done, IMO.

 

I REALLY like the conversation system in AP. Some have criticized the system for not giving you ample time to choose your dialogue options such as with Mass Effect, but I like the system in that it feels more natural, more fluid. If you were in a conversation with someone and you took 15 seconds or more to reply, it would be awkward. I also really like how certain characters prefer certain types of responses.

 

The combat is very much that of a traditional RPG, much in the same vein as the original Mass Effect. Weapon damage and accuracy is very much stat based. In a way, the combat reminds me of Deus Ex, in that the longer you keep your reticle on a target, the more accurate and damaging your shot will be.

 

Visually, AP gets the job done. While it won't win any awards for it's graphics, they aren't as bad as some have said. Some have said that the visuals are worse than that of Dragon Age. I disagree. Some have also criticized the game for lacking an art direction. My feelings on the lack of an art direction are that I like that AP is based in a real-world setting and I feel that the look of the game compliments that setting perfectly. A graphic novel-style art direction, or any art direction typically associated with a fantasy or sci-fi setting, would be awkward in AP, IMO.

 

All in all, I'm pleased with AP so far and I think I'll be pleased once I've beaten it. I'm glad I followed my gut instinct and picked it up rather than passed it up.

 

It appears the consensus is that the console version has less problems than the PC version, which is riddled with them. In regards to the visuals, they are pretty bad. Lighting and shadows are inconsistent, not the best use of static meshes, and generally bland color pallet. It's just my opinion, but any rpg that has these kinds of mini-games, is losing a few points. Mini-games tend to hurt the over all design and immersion factor. They pull the player from world, it breaks the flow or mode of play, in order to accomplish a usually frustrating or "not very fun" minigame that only gets worse the more you have to play it throughout the game. That was one of Mass Effect's biggest flaws for example. They at least gave the player the option to pay off the minigame. It appears like the animation and controls with mouse and keyboard need a lot of work. I think we can all agree the game needs a lot more polish.

 

One reviewer made the joke about Alpha Protocol by saying its build is still in "Alpha". That might not be that far from the truth. I cannot comment on the game play since I havent played the game, but I can add some feed back based on reviewing its apparent design (mechanics, systems and modes of play).

 

Glad you are able to enjoy the game though. That's the whole point of the interactive medium, to bring enjoyment. I do think the criticisms of the product as it stands now though are fairly accurate, sadly.

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It appears the consensus is that the console version has less problems than the PC version, which is riddled with them. In regards to the visuals, they are pretty bad. Lighting and shadows are inconsistent, not the best use of static meshes, and generally bland color pallet. It's just my opinion, but any rpg that has these kinds of mini-games, is losing a few points. Mini-games tend to hurt the over all design and immersion factor. They pull the player from world, it breaks the flow or mode of play, in order to accomplish a usually frustrating or "not very fun" minigame that only gets worse the more you have to play it throughout the game. That was one of Mass Effect's biggest flaws for example. They at least gave the player the option to pay off the minigame. It appears like the animation and controls with mouse and keyboard need a lot of work. I think we can all agree the game needs a lot more polish.

 

One reviewer made the joke about Alpha Protocol by saying its build is still in "Alpha". That might not be that far from the truth. I cannot comment on the game play since I havent played the game, but I can add some feed back based on reviewing its apparent design (mechanics, systems and modes of play).

 

Glad you are able to enjoy the game though. That's the whole point of the interactive medium, to bring enjoyment. I do think the criticisms of the product as it stands now though are fairly accurate, sadly.

 

I'm really not sure which problems the PC version is "riddled with." I've played through the game once so far, and only seen one or two (minor) bugs. The AI isn't as terrible as most people make it out to be - certainly no worse than the AI in ME1. The graphics aren't stellar, but they're on par with, say, DA:O. The minigames were all fun and (with the exception of lockpicking) sufficiently challenging to make choosing to turn off the cameras a nontrivial decision. They were by no means impossible.

 

If you haven't played the game, what position are you in to comment on its state of bugginess?

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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It appears the consensus is that the console version has less problems than the PC version, which is riddled with them. In regards to the visuals, they are pretty bad. Lighting and shadows are inconsistent, not the best use of static meshes, and generally bland color pallet. It's just my opinion, but any rpg that has these kinds of mini-games, is losing a few points. Mini-games tend to hurt the over all design and immersion factor. They pull the player from world, it breaks the flow or mode of play, in order to accomplish a usually frustrating or "not very fun" minigame that only gets worse the more you have to play it throughout the game. That was one of Mass Effect's biggest flaws for example. They at least gave the player the option to pay off the minigame. It appears like the animation and controls with mouse and keyboard need a lot of work. I think we can all agree the game needs a lot more polish.

 

One reviewer made the joke about Alpha Protocol by saying its build is still in "Alpha". That might not be that far from the truth. I cannot comment on the game play since I havent played the game, but I can add some feed back based on reviewing its apparent design (mechanics, systems and modes of play).

 

Glad you are able to enjoy the game though. That's the whole point of the interactive medium, to bring enjoyment. I do think the criticisms of the product as it stands now though are fairly accurate, sadly.

 

I'm really not sure which problems the PC version is "riddled with." I've played through the game once so far, and only seen one or two (minor) bugs. The AI isn't as terrible as most people make it out to be - certainly no worse than the AI in ME1. The graphics aren't stellar, but they're on par with, say, DA:O. The minigames were all fun and (with the exception of lockpicking) sufficiently challenging to make choosing to turn off the cameras a nontrivial decision. They were by no means impossible.

 

If you haven't played the game, what position are you in to comment on its state of bugginess?

 

Are you playing with a mouse and keyboard, or a controller on the PC? Most of the problems I have seen are related to controls and how the game reacts to the controls, including the mouse input. We do have to realize that anything regarding likes and dislikes outside of the general consensus of quality is subjective, meaning differences of opinion. From what I have seen the AI has some funky conditionals and pathing, which is essentially the driving force behind AI in programming terms. This can move from the realm of subjective to fact through play testing and reviewing the code. The design opinion regarding the mini-games is something I stand by. If you were to watch a film, and it cuts to a commercial, it breaks the flow. The same can be said with video games and the element of immersion. Mini-games by nature are often shallow and fall under the tedious category, not sure how they can be seen as "fun". If any of these minigames were say, stand alone iphone games...would you play them? As for challenge, if the challenge created by the rule sets and limitations are to easy, it falls into the level of boredom, too hard and it falls under frustration or anxiety. Flow is a balance of the two. The hard part about finding a balanced flow is managing to identify the general user's skill level, which is why we have choices for easy, normal and hard.

 

That said, you ask what position I am in to talk about the bugs I have seen. Simple, identifying clearly unintentional results is a form of observation which only requires one to see. This is why I have not commented on game play specific areas yet. There are websites out there that let you watch people play games live, and I make a habit of watching these live feeds. It gives insight into how others play games as well as identify elements with a game from their perspective. I believe this is important when it comes to appreciating and understanding whats known as player-centric design.

 

Please note I am by no means trying to "trash" game or company, however if I were the publisher in this case, I would have never allowed the game to be released without the extra polish and tweaking. I think it is good however to reward developers who are willing to take the risk and make deep and ambitious titles.

 

=)

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Are you playing with a mouse and keyboard, or a controller on the PC? Most of the problems I have seen are related to controls and how the game reacts to the controls, including the mouse input. We do have to realize that anything regarding likes and dislikes outside of the general consensus of quality is subjective, meaning differences of opinion. From what I have seen the AI has some funky conditionals and pathing, which is essentially the driving force behind AI in programming terms. This can move from the realm of subjective to fact through play testing and reviewing the code. The design opinion regarding the mini-games is something I stand by. If you were to watch a film, and it cuts to a commercial, it breaks the flow. The same can be said with video games and the element of immersion. Mini-games by nature are often shallow and fall under the tedious category, not sure how they can be seen as "fun". If any of these minigames were say, stand alone iphone games...would you play them? As for challenge, if the challenge created by the rule sets and limitations are to easy, it falls into the level of boredom, too hard and it falls under frustration or anxiety. Flow is a balance of the two. The hard part about finding a balanced flow is managing to identify the general user's skill level, which is why we have choices for easy, normal and hard.

 

That said, you ask what position I am in to talk about the bugs I have seen. Simple, identifying clearly unintentional results is a form of observation which only requires one to see. This is why I have not commented on game play specific areas yet. There are websites out there that let you watch people play games live, and I make a habit of watching these live feeds. It gives insight into how others play games as well as identify elements with a game from their perspective. I believe this is important when it comes to appreciating and understanding whats known as player-centric design.

 

Please note I am by no means trying to "trash" game or company, however if I were the publisher in this case, I would have never allowed the game to be released without the extra polish and tweaking. I think it is good however to reward developers who are willing to take the risk and make deep and ambitious titles.

 

=)

 

Played entire way with mouse and keyboard. The blocks were a wee bit unresponsive to the mouse in the hacking minigame, but it was still easily doable. No control problems to speak of, other than that.

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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I'm playing on PC, with kb and mouse. No bugs yet.

Game is fun.

Graphics are better than the garbage reviewers were feeding at us the whole time. Check my screenshot thread.

 

Indeed. The graphics are on par with (if not better than) DA:O, and that game didn't get panned for looking like a PS2 game.

 

I'm not sure what all the American reviewers were thinking.

"The universe is a yawning chasm, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience..." - Ulyaoth

 

"It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built." - Kreia

 

"I thought this forum was for Speculation & Discussion, not Speculation & Calling People Trolls." - lord of flies

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I'm playing on PC, with kb and mouse. No bugs yet.

Game is fun.

Graphics are better than the garbage reviewers were feeding at us the whole time. Check my screenshot thread.

 

Indeed. The graphics are on par with (if not better than) DA:O, and that game didn't get panned for looking like a PS2 game.

 

I'm not sure what all the American reviewers were thinking.

 

To be fair, according to gamerankings.com and European review sites, the reviews both on North American soil and abroad are fairly consistent.

 

One important factor to take in is whats know as the "confirmation bias". We see with the fans and the critics. It's hard to see the bad if your bias is built around telling yourself you are a fan. Critics often have the bias of looking for elements in which to criticize, and if that is your job... the habit is only reinforced.

 

So the question is who is right, critics (both professional and user based) or fans? The answer at the end of the day is neither, since the enjoyment factor is different for everyone.

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Whatever matey, but I read the majority of reviewers, most of these "professionals" played the game the Wrong way.

How are they supposed to be taken seriously??

 

Don't remember what review said that the game looked like a PS2 game. Seriously, get you **** together man, this game is not Crysis but its on par with ME1 and Dragon Age on visuals.

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Whatever matey, but I read the majority of reviewers, most of these "professionals" played the game the Wrong way.

How are they supposed to be taken seriously??

 

Don't remember what review said that the game looked like a PS2 game. Seriously, get you **** together man, this game is not Crysis but its on par with ME1 and Dragon Age on visuals.

 

Let's be fair here. It is not logical to suggest you know whether or not the game was played the right or wrong way. In fact, it is the job of the game designer to dictate how a game should be played, if the player does not play as the GDD intended, then part of the blame lay at the feet of the designer. This why playtesting is so important. A game is a series of rule sets that create limitations which result in challenges. There technically is no wrong way to play a game if the rule set allows for it.

 

That said, keep in mind this game uses the unreal 3 engine. That should tell a bit about the graphical capability and expected results. Again, to be fair, the developers were probably learning the tools for this engine as they went along. You cannot expect the best results when that happens. There are also general rules of thumb which have been ignored, such as the "shadow mistake" in which shadows must take on the color opposite of the light on the color wheel, desaturated and darkened. Important visual rules were ignored from I can see in AP. Each player is different though, some might notice these mistakes, other might not. Sometimes knowing more can be a curse as well, as it would increase the effect of alienation. This is kind of where the term "ignorance is bliss" comes into play.

 

=)

Edited by DataDay
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To be fair, according to gamerankings.com and European review sites, the reviews both on North American soil and abroad are fairly consistent.

 

Wait what? Here in germany there wasn't one major game magazine that gave it under a 80. I looked over most european review sites (including french, finnland, swedish,polish, spain, and and and) and the scores of ~80 were way in the majority. That's a difference to the 60-70 ones in America.

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The problem with the American reviewers is that they are reviewing the game as if it is a shooter, and it is not. Thus they bitch about the combat not being right, etc. BUT if you look at it for what it is (A RPG hybrid shooter/stealth game) it is freaking cool.

 

That said I have played since last Wednesday on a PC with keyboard and mouse and have not had any major bugs. Yes the hacking is a bit unresponsive, but you can bypass most of that with EMP if you really want. Lock picking, etc. are simple, etc.

 

I do not think the game was rushed unfinished, it is a solid game with an awesome storyline. Obsidian did a great job.

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Let me start by saying that I am not new to the RPG genre at all. I have played many RPGs, including more traditional ones such as Oblivion, Dragon Age, Fallout 3, Deus Ex and Mass Effect, and I've played action RPGs such as Fable, Fable 2 and Mass Effect 2.

 

Actually all the games you listed there are considered action RPGs. Traditional ones are, BG I&II, NWN 1&2 PS:T, FO 1&2 etc.

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