Thursday, March 7, 2013

Disclosure Alert: Alpha Protocol: Episode 12: Are You Shi You're Pronouncing That Right?

In this episode, we deal with the Triads and Shi have a fun time with it.

So yeah, Mumbles and I made fun of a guy with an accent too stereotypical to believe, who turned out to be played by an Asian man. That apparently makes us bad people. Oh well, it's not like it hasn't been done before.

The actual talk with Hong Shi is fairly uninteresting, in my opinion. We contact him because he might have some knowledge of what's going on in Taipei, particularly with the rumored assassination of Taiwanese President Ronald Sung. Unfortunately, because this is an RPG, things are never that simple and he directs us to do a side quest before giving us the intel. If we want him to talk, we need to take care of his three lieutenants who are rebelling against him. [Side Note: I think Thorton says he's a friend of the Shiekh (Ali Shaheed) regardless of if whether or not you let him live. I guess since he's dead, you might as well be his friend. Not like he can tell people you aren't.]

That e-mail with Steven Heck is one of the most humorous in the entire game. Stuff like that is why people love Steven Heck. It's so indicative of Heck's thing where he mostly gets what's going on, but then puts this spin on it that's so outlandish, untrue, and ridiculous that it's comical, much like many real life conspiracy theorists. (Side Note: Anaphysik assures me that many of the conspiracy theories that are discussed by Mike and Heck are real: Interesting.)

As I watch Aldowyn play the game, even it is only on Easy, I start questioning my assertion that Stealth/Pistols is the best option. Again, I know we are playing on Easy, but boy does it look fun to just run around with your fists and a Shotgun mowing down dudes without giving a fuck. Of course, it's a very lethal playstyle, but it makes me wonder how many other archetypes I was denying by only going Stealth/Pistols.

Despite how I usually sound in the LP, I don't blame Aldowyn for getting lost. If anything, the level designer really dropped the ball with the map layout and design. It's an overall linear level, with semi-open layout, the game should not make it this difficult to navigate. Aldowyn made it hard (even though he played the level the day before we recorded), but in the end this is more indicative of the level design than any skill he may or may not have.

As we play through the mission, we get the full story. The first terminal shows us that the list of defectors is 10-pages long, a far cry from the 3 Shi told us to expect. While the player mulls that over in their head, a second terminal tells them that the Triads were dealing with Al-Samad, who you remember as the terrorists from Saudi Arabia. This leaves players with ample time to figure out what's going on before the reveal on the last terminal. As it turns out, Hong Shi's men defected because Shi killed one of them for daring to question the wisdom of dealing with a well-known and public terrorist organization. This knowledge gives the player power over Hong Shi, which we exerted in this episode. I thought it was nice to give players a mission without knowing all the details and then expecting their innate curiosity to compel them to look for it on their own.

Hong Shi, in the grand scheme of things, really is irrelevant. Outside of Taipei, there are no long term consequences for your dealing with him (except he may cut you off from the Triads' Clearinghouse store if you piss him off). And even for the plot in Taipei, he's only good for name dropping Omen Deng, who we'll meet later. Otherwise they could've easily cut him from the game with no consequence.

Lastly, my constantly interrupting anaphysik and his James Hong factoid in order to talk about the game... that was no accident. That's all I wil say on that.


anaphysik said...

"That's all I wil say on that."

That better have been a pun.

Anonymous said...

Well, it wouldn't be an Obsidian game if there wasn't at least one ridiculously unnavigable maze of an environment with an unreadable map to go with it.

Anonymous said...

Also, Hong Shi sends some dudes to help you in the final Taipei mission if you get on his good side. They're not essential, but I thought it was really fun springing them on the CSP, especially when/if they join up with the G22 troops.

Aldowyn said...

Gah. Getting lost, okay, fine. But an unreadable map is totally useless >.>

Thomas said...

The bit you got lost on is easily the worst little corner of the game. If you come from above it feels like you have to go backwards to get anywhere. I got lost on it too

Thomas said...

So what you're saying is, maybe the reason the game was overly difficult was because you were playing on hard mode with the added difficulty modifier on a first playthrough of the game, rather than assault rifles sucking? =D

newdarkcloud said...

That is indeed quite possible.

Anonymous said...

Even after playing the game multiple times, I still get lost in that one spot. The problem is that it tricks you; there's an obvious path that should by all reason be the right one, but it ends up leading to an unopenable door, forcing you to double back.

anaphysik said...

The game is still pretty hard. I played on Easy from the get-go (because I play nearly all games on Easy) and combat can still be pretty unforgiving. Several of the bosses (Brayko, Deng, Darcy) are still pretty ridiculous, even with full Chain Shot (and even on Veteran those first two fights were really long).

Jokerman said...

I played it on medium first and had to restart after getting mid way through the last mission :(

Thomas said...

With Darcy you need invisibility, or just the ability to run fast combined with an EMP and once you're in the tower you're effectively immortal.

I've played on normal both times and I didn't find Deng particularly hard (and I was assault rifles instead of pistols). Baryko is the hardest in the game if you don't go to Tai Peng first though (although even with full chain shot? Because he goes down in two bursts even on normal. I guess it might be hard to survive him cocaining if he hasn't been slowed down). I guess if you were unable to get into the tower Darcy would probably be the actual hardest, I have no idea how you can beat him on the ground

anaphysik said...

"once you're in the tower you're effectively immortal"
NOPE. Pretty damn sure he managed to toss a couple grenades into the sniper post too <_<

"Tai Peng"

Taibei I'd accept if you included the tones as well, since it ain't proper pinyin without them. Tai-pak I'd accept but look at you like you were a *hipster* linguist, because 'really? /really?/'

Ringwraith said...

Deng is possibly the easiest due to the fact he has a shotgun which he tries to use at range, so it doesn't really work, so playing keep-away from him is the way to go.
Also, shock traps eat him for breakfast.

Thomas said...

I've never had Darcy throw a grenade into the tower. I think it's exceptionally rare (the FAQ I read said he almost never does it too), so you can get away with just reloading if that happens. Not sure where Tai Peng came from. Maybe I was talking about the small residential village to the east of Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island