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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Alpha Protocol (PC) Quick Hit / by Spoony Spoonicus
 
 
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 10:14pm 01/25/11 (12:51pm 12/21/10) in 26m29s  §  1946 eyeballs
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Yeah, this one didn't get stellar reviews, but I still wanted to give it a try, if for no other reason that the project is headed by Obsidian Software, which is comprised of several ex-members of Black Isle, which is still to date one of the best RPG companies of all time. So I grabbed it on a Steam Sale and gave it a run.

Well, you can probably already tell from the length of this article that I didn't manage to get far, but that's for good reason. Even though I'm well above the stated minimum system requirements, the game has a horrendous framerate. Moving the mouse even the slightest bit results in the game dropping to about two frames a second until the camera reorients properly, which is not only extremely disorienting, but usually instantly fatal when you encounter any resistance. Better yet, the game somehow forgets to draw in an AIMING RETICLE, which makes fighting back at all against the gun-toting maniacs nearly impossible. I know there's supposed to be one there - I've seen a few reviews citing that it's large and imprecise - but I'd rather have a large, imprecise reticle than NOTHING AT ALL to help me aim. Worse yet, there's no option to enable, disable or change it (not even in the .ini files).

Because of this, I just had to resort to running up to each enemy and mashing the E button to take them out with hand-to-hand combat. But even this doesn't remain a viable strategy for long - this is yet another shooter where every enemy is a bloodthirsty sociopath who has no qualms about mercilessly killing their own comrades just to try and take you down. Case in point, my escapade through the parking garage came to a quick end as I fought against one guard only to have another shoot so many holes in the truck behind me that it exploded, killing both of us (because as we all know, vehicles in video games are constructed entirely from nitroglycerine). Thanks, bud.

it's all really too bad, because this looks like a fun game with an interesting story, and I genuinely wanted to see more of it. But when a game stutters and lags this badly on a PC that can run Fallout: New Vegas, Left 4 Dead 2 and Serious Sam HD on the highest settings without any major issues AND the game stubbornly refuses to draw its own aiming cursor, that's really a sign of poor coding.

Tell you what, guys. Just stick with Bethesda - they'll provide you with a decent game engine, and all you have to do is provide the fun characters and awesome storyline. Hey, it worked out really well for New Vegas.

score:
 
 
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 10:15pm 01/25/11
 
UPDATE: I played the Playstation 3 version and, unfortunately, it's not much better. The story and dialog system are great, but the crappy engine, clumsily-implemented RPG elements and incredibly bad AI don't make it a very fun experience on the whole.
 
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