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PlayStation 3 Review: Alpha Protocol

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This game’s subtitle reads “The Espionage RPG.” The very thought of such a concept sends chills of coolness up the spine of any red-blooded individual who grew up watching James Bond movies and playing entries from classics such as the Final Fantasy videogame series.

Imagine being submerged in a virtual world of intelligence. A world of spies and lies; where you get to choose your own adventures, weaponry, and skills along the way. Indeed, Obsidian Entertainment’s Alpha Protocol is the kind of game we’ve all been waiting for. Unfortunately, it isn’t the game that we’ve been waiting for. Actually, Alpha Prototype might have been a more appropriate name for it, and I can only classify Alpha Protocol as a forerunner for a much better game that has yet to be developed.

Our hero in Alpha Proctologist is Michael Thornton, a man whose occupation in the deadly world of spydom is at first up to you: choose where to start Mikey out, whether it be as a recruit, a seasoned professional, a tech-savvy operator, or soldier, etc. That in itself is a nice touch, as is the ability to devote your points earned in missions to upping your skills (weapons, fighting, tech skills, and so on). You can even decide how the course of your conversations with your newfound colleagues will go by opting to play as a pro with them, or by replying with a snappy retort here and there instead.

The decision on how to behave also extends itself to the game’s actual missions. Are you going to sneak up and subtly subdue that security guard, or are you going to bludgeon him to death with your fists and steal his sandwich? It’s your choice — but bear in mind that you’ll face the consequences either way.

(Incidentally, I feel the need to point out that the description I just depicted to you is much more exciting than the actual gameplay itself: there isn’t so much as a single sandwich to be seen anywhere.)

Oh, sure, it all sounds like a rockin’ good time…at first. After a while, however, Alpha Protoceratop simply turns into another half-baked shooter game. Location settings may vary, but most of their layouts don’t: it’s the same ol’ shit most of the time. The characters are about as dull and uninteresting as your average European-made James Bond rip-off from the ‘60s. And most of the voice actor’s contributions heard here sound like phlegmatic-variations of characters from Clutch Cargo.

Speaking of Clutch Cargo, the graphics on this game suck, too. OK, sure, for those with a memory of what old SEGA system games looked like, these graphics aren’t half bad. As a game produced for a high-definition console from the second decade of the twenty-first century, however, these graphics look stilted, sketchy, and very, very dated. The soundtrack is decent at best, boasting a number of forgettable tunes, and a lot of repeated gunshots.

So, I suppose the real question at hand here is, “Is Alpha Protoctist complete and total rubbish?” Well, yes, it is — but only to a degree. It has it’s moments, and will no doubt entertain some gamers out there (particularly fans of shoot-em-ups and/or stoned high school and college kids looking for something to occupy their time in-between flunking classes). Those of us who have been hoping for something more however will simply just have to sit and wait until there actually is something more.

So, in short: just rent it first.


Alpha Protocol is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, and Strong Language. This game can also be found on: PC, and Xbox 360.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.