Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Disclosure Alert: Alpha Protocol: Episode 5: Canadian Christmas Trees

I apologize in advance for the quality of the recordings this week. Our mission in Saudi Arabia was fraught with peril. And by that, I mean Aldowyn's roommates wouldn't shut up, the Skype call went down a few times, and the game glitched on us more than once. Fun stuff!

Intel is really one of the best investments of your cash in Alpha Protocol. They give you so many useful bonuses to help you on your missions at a very cheap price compared to any decent piece of equipment. Each piece of intel confers a passive bonus in the mission that it was purchased for (with the exception of dossiers, as they just unlock the next section in a given character/faction's dossier). You can use them to get Sniper Rifle drop offs, lowered guard presence, maps detailing the ideal routes through areas, and occasionally they can even give you side-objectives you otherwise wouldn't have access to.

The whole conversation with Canadians and Christmas Trees really does highly how mind-numbingly dumb many of the Suave quips can sound. Part of the problem (or humor, depending on your viewpoint) is how deadpan Micheal Thorton delivers any of his lines. The voice actor, Josh Gilman, doesn't exactly have an extensive record. Aside from this role, his most notable credit is Angeal from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Other than that he is mostly known for "Additional Voices." Maybe once he gets some more notable roles under his belt, he will become a bit better with regards to VA work. On the other hand, it could also be attributed to writing or voice direction. Sometimes it is hard to tell.

In this episode, anaphysik says "I would rather have a game like Mass Effect or Alpha Protocol where I enjoy everything but the controls than a game where the controls are perfect and it is just pointless and dumb otherwise." This is ultimately what will make or break one's enjoyment of Alpha Protocol. If one is willing to overlook the mediocre gameplay that we have so prominently put on display, then there's a very solid RPG here that focuses on player/character interaction. Also, I get to gloat to anaphysik and Aldowyn right now because special guest Varewulf and I were right, Awareness is a skill unlocked by default that becomes a permanent boost once you get enough ranks in Stealth. (As a side note: Firing that missile with the computer terminal is one of my favorite moments of the game. It's hilarious in its own special way.)

At the end, the game glitched at the end of the mission. Since Aldowyn bought an specific intel before the mission, we should have been able to alter the shipping labels of one of his crates to our safehouses address, essentially stealing his supply and netting us a boost in cash. It's nothing important, but it still sucks.

And we end with the confrontation with Nasri. This very early event in the game highlights how choice and consequence work. People who Killed or Arrested him get the benefit of having guards arm themselves with inferior equipment in exchange for losing access to his inventory in the Clearinghouse. Arresting him and Extorting him also offer cash rewards, though Arresting him nets you a larger cash bounty (since Nasri is a wanted man). This is all on top of the perk a player would get (there is one for each choice).


Aldowyn said...

I wish to note that I was not strongly on the side of not starting out with some form of awareness, as I distinctly said 'you might be right'.

newdarkcloud said...

But you still kinda sided with Wil, which means you're WRONG and I am better than you.

anaphysik said...

Considering that I'm STILL pestering you over errors in this post, I think the Resident Pedant title is still well safe in my clutches, despite your best attempts to claw it away.


SougoXIII said...

You know, I posted on the youtube video that you might have missed out on purchasing the intel for the last bonus objective but since this is Obsidian we're talking about here chances are it probably glitched out.

newdarkcloud said...

Doubly so given how the rest of this week's episodes turned out. I'll elaborate more on that when we get to it.