Alpha Protocol (All platforms)

Weapons, drugs, violence, bad language and a sniff of sex; it are all parts of good espionage movies, just think of James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer. If you want to make a game in this genre then these three examples are probably the best to base your game on and that’s exactly what Obsidian is doing with their newest RPG, Alpha Protocol. The game arrives end of this month but we were invited by Sega to already check out a partially finished code.Quantum Code is a trading software that runs on algorithms. It is these algorithms that make trades possible here and they work and operate at the background in getting the traders close to the profits without disturbing the operations and activities of the traders on the platform. And the best part is they are very fast and swift in their calculations.

SEGAs newest game puts you in the shoes of Michael Thorton, an American CIA agent who for some yet unknown reason gets betrayed on his last mission. Luckily a secret agency called Alpha Protocol exists and they make it possible to disappear from the Earth’s surface, find out the truth about what happened and in the meantime let you retrieve some missing nukes. We can’t tell more about the story yet as the amount of time we got to play was barely enough to uncover the tip of a giant ice berg. The full game is good for 20 to 30 hours of gaming, depending on the choices you make and the missions you accept.

These choices vary a lot thanks to a well-developed communications system. Instead of picking the usual sentences as answer in an RPG, you get the possibility to take on one of four poses ranging from professional over sarcastic to openly aggressive. The way you act during the conversation will result in different missions, getting extra weapons or other perks. How you take on conversations is your own choice but everything is connected to one of the 30 possible endings Alpha Protocol has. Plenty of motivation to run through the game at least once more after having finished it!

Having conversations is typical for RPGs and so are the choices of classes for your character. However, the names this time differ from the classic prototypes with the powerful warrior now being a soldier, the mage being a tech specialist and the hunter being more focused on stealth work. They all have their own different stats divided over nine categories: Stealth, Pistols, Submachine Guns, Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Sabotage, technical knowledge, power and Martial Arts.With each new level your character reaches you get new points to divide and the more you specialise in one sector, the more extras you earn. This way investing in stealth for instance gives the possibility to walk more quietly while Sabotage gives better hacking skills. How you spend your points will also strongly affect the way of playing and especially on how loud (action) or quiet (stealth) you’ll work.

You can also buy weapons with extras through the black market. Next to advantages, each upgrade also comes with some disadvantages. A silencer does what its name says, but delivers less damage. Another barrel on your assault rifle heightens the accuracy but gives more feedback when firing on full automatic. Balancing is the message, but also the choice of your dealer is important. Some give nice discounts, others have more exclusive stuff. Everything, however, depends on choices you made earlier in the story. Everything comes with consequences and that’s exactly how we like it these days!

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to discover more, but what we got to see was already a pleasant surprise. Especially the conversation system and the possible consequences of your actions are a nice touch and result in a large replayability. We did spot some downpoints in the version we got to play but then we were told that this version was already two months old and when we got to see a slightly newer (but still unfinished) version we already saw a huge improvement.Another aspect that made our confidence in this title grow is the fact that Obsidian aren’t rookies in the game scene with previous top titles like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Neverwinter Nights II. Hopefully the remaining issues will be solved upon release so we’ll soon be able to review yet another top title!