Developer Obsidian have possibly one of the surprise hottest games of 2009 under wraps. We managed to spend some time with the game recently and we can say we are excited about the upcoming October release.
You control Michael Thornton, a pumped up high tech spy in a role playing world .... and developer Alpha Protocol build on the solid foundation of RPG mechanics with action oriented game play. Everything you do is structured with behind the scenes stats, so everytime you play the game it will be slightly different. The game is set in a futuristic spy laden environment and while there are elements of Sam Fisher and Solid Snake from place to place the game developers have opted for something slightly different in nature.
Obsidian have the background to back up their claims because they were the developer of the Knights Of the Old Republic sequel and have connections with the first two Fallout games - Bethesda are keen to mention that Obsidian will be involved with the next Fallout game as well. They are one of the hottest companies on the market right now.
Players keen on character development and progression will be excited to hear that this is the forte of Alpha Protocol. The missions are given in a safehouse, a location laden with high tech equipment which sets the tone well. You can equip the hero with a variety of outfits and there is quite a bit of variety offered.
The game doesn’t take itself too seriously and throughout there will be many funny little quips and retorts to put a smile on the gamers face and the missions can be entirely dialogue based - especially a few of the interrogation sections which work amazingly well.
There are many ways to tackle these conversations and the developer have been keen to avoid the stereotypical ‘black and white’ style answers by offering a variety of options. If any of you played Mass Effect you will already know the structuring system I am talking about. It revolves around a circular menu system to give players a specific time scale to reply which has the effect of altering each conversation into a QTE. It works very well and adds to the game instead of detracting from it.
In a similar fashion to the real world, your interactions and actions have an effect on your standing with the many in game factions. There is not so much a right or wrong in Alpha Protocol because the world is complex and the politics and actions are tied into a complex set of issues.
We played a dialogue based mission in which Thorton was interrogating Grigori, a Russian informant. There are a few paths to take with this conversation as you can either play it nice and gentle or basically beat the living daylights out of him to get answers. Subsequently however we found out that blattering Grigori has side effects for the following mission and that taking the peaceful and respectful route earned additional intelligence from him. It is a complex set of rules which will surprise and delight many gamers who enjoyed Mass Effect a while ago.
The action sequences are almost like a mixture of Lost Planet 3rd person style graphics with Mass Effect and while its fair to say that the main part of the gameplay mechanic is not action based it seems solid enough from our limited play testing. There is a rather nifty perks mechanic involved as well which is tied into the player gaining levels. You can earn other combat moves and it adds a layer to the action side of the game as you progress.
We hope this small taster of the game has wet your appetite for what promises to be one of the highlights of 2009. Read more on Gamingheaven nearer the release date in October.