Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Disclosure Alert: Alpha Protocol: Episode 28: Non-Lethal Fire Damage

In this episode, we break into a mansion with the help of a crazy lady who gets off to people shooting her. Also, we get hosed at the end.

There's not much to talk about in this episode, so let's start with the whole Reputation thing. I think the Reputation losses you get for choosing either SIE or Madison over Mina make her out to be more than a little petty. As of this moment, I'm not sure whether I hate what that implies about her character or love it like I would any other of Obsidian's little touches. Either case, -1 or -2 isn't that significant in the long run, especially for Mina. It's just a little annoying because you'd think she'd understand why you'd want to at least choose Madison over her.
On the other hand, I like that choosing Madison only amplifies her [Maddy's] current opinion of you. If she likes you, she'll like you more and vice-versa.  This seems pretty realistic to me.

But as a whole, this -10 to +10 Reputation thing is pretty flawed. It's just weird how so many little things affect people's opinion of you. Would you hate your friend a little bit more if he spilled his drink at a fast food exactly one time as you watched? A lot of the +1s and -1s are justified, but a few of them border on ridiculous. Mina hating you a little more for changing handlers is the latter. The whole system where higher or lower reputations are more resistant to change in the opposite direction would've been a great idea, credit to anaphysik.

I think I like that Marburg is homosexual. It's not really a secret, as the game all but directly points it out. However, it's understated in a way that I respect. It would have been extremely easy to instead go for the stereotype. In this manner, it makes Marburg slightly more interesting and adds to his character without dominating it. This is how you deal with minorities, developers! Can we start getting that right more often?

Sometimes, those news broadcasts do a very good job at showing you what an outsider might think of the actions Mike is taking throughout the course of the game. For that reason, I'm glad they are included.


2house2fly said...

Well, +[~~~*SPOILERS*~~~]+ and all, but I assumed Mina's reputation loss was based on the fact that she's basically using you to run an op. If you choose another handler you're out of her control. SIE is not just someone who could influence you in a more anarchic direction, she's someone who literally works for the enemy. So she's pissed off at you for choosing her guidance.

Another good addition would be a "mixed" spectrum like in New Vegas. Though I'd prefer it if you could climb out of Mixed back into Idolised.

newdarkcloud said...

That's a valid interpretation to be sure, but I think I'm still more inclined to go with my own interpretation. Even with your interpretation, it's still weird that choosing SIE on your mission would be the same to her as killing two innocent people.

Jacob Albano said...

Choosing Madison will result in a -1 with Mina as well.

The first time I got someone up to "trusted", I actually thought I was gaining rep in different categories. Imagine if that was actually the case; you could have someone romantically interested in you while struggling with the knowledge that you're a loose cannon on missions, or a handler who hates your guts but knows that you're reliable. Ever since playing Alpha Protocol for the first time I've wanted to make an RPG with a system like that.

Jacob Albano said...

And who is that guy at the end of Marburg's villa? He's always there, even if I go through completely stealthy / non-lethal.

And how do you pan the map on PC. ;_;

anaphysik said...

Click and drag the scrollbars. I didn't realize they were there until my second playthrough.

Aldowyn said...

That does sound pretty cool, actually. The thing is these things get exponentially more complicated and thus exponentially more expensive :/ It might be feasible for a non-voice acted game.

anaphysik said...

Unrest (the game Rutskarn is writing for) will feature a 3-stat reputation system: Friendship, Respect and Fear