Thursday, May 30, 2013

Disclosure Alert: Alpha Protocol: Episode 21: Having a Blast

So here we are in the Moscow finale. I apologize both for the delay and for the massive degree of failure that ensued during this recording session. However, I'm not sorry for the accent. I will never be sorry for the accent.

I like the choice between Albatross and SIE, at least in theory. It would be a meaningful choice both for Mike as a character and the player in terms of gameplay. Sadly, it's a little disappointing how disturbingly similar both versions of these missions are. Aside from the permanent perk you can for the choice between them, it honestly doesn't matter at all. The only things that change are superficial.

If we hadn't have smashed Grigori's face in at the bar, then the guards in this area would be less armed. However, their increased security could have worked to our advantage. Since we were a Veteran (this also works for a Soldier) we could convince them that we're there to protect Surkov with our knowledge of (Alpha?) protocol. The weaker guards can be swayed by anybody. Again, "no bad choices" was a guiding principal when designing this game, and it shows. We could also use the door on the side to sneak in, but it's glitched so that the game automatically assumes you MUDERED THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYONE if you do that.

In order to get the Albatross version of this mission, picture bigger dudes in combat armor being your enemies in this mission, because that's exactly what happens. I do like how SIE and Mina argue with each other over... everything. It shows how opposite the two of them are. Still, this is overall a bit of a letdown, which is even more of a shame since this mission was part of the marketing for the game.

I've noticed that as we continue, Aldowyn has been getting more and more blood-thirsty. I don't even need to tell to shoot people anymore. He just does it. I guess it's just something that happens to LPers.

This "Protect Surkov" mission is one of the missions people come to me with when saying that this game is terrible. Honestly, it's hard to refute them. It terms of play, Moscow is the worst hub in the entire game. Taipei has a terrible plot and Moscow has terrible level design. Despite these flaws, I do really like the game. Goddammit Obsidian, why do you have to be so flawed?


Aldowyn said...

As anaphysik and I discussed previously, 'I have a shotgun' seems to have replaced 'yeah' as my catchphrase. I am fine with this.

anaphysik said...


Anonymous said...

The G22 soldiers differ from the VCI in one respect; they actually heal themselves when they've taken damage. And they have less armor, and are more susceptible to flashbangs but less susceptible to shock traps (I've confirmed that this is true through some vigorous experimentation). Other than that though, yeah, the two forces are identical.

Anonymous said...

I assume that Albatross wants to get to Surkov for the same reason Thorton does; to find out about where the missiles are. If Thorton refuses his help, than he sends his grunts in as a last resort. But if Sis is alive, I don't know why he doesn't just send her in Thorton's place, so I've headcannoned that she was too injured in the yacht battle to go on another mission (though apparently not enough to stop her acting as his bodyguard). I also don't know why G22 tries to kill Surkov if Thorton works against them, but not if he works with them. I chalk it up to story and gameplay segregation; they had to work that friggin' defense sequence in somehow, I guess.

Ringwraith said...

Their positioning is even the same, apart from the finale, where G22 will just pop out of seemingly everywhere, while VCI just pile in from the front gate, which is directly opposite the sniper rifle perch.
Thus the sniper rifle makes the section comically easy if you are up against the VCI, but not so much against G22.

Thomas said...

I can see not sending in Sis if he believed that the embassy attack might turn out messy and too dangerous to risk Sis on. The boat was a lot smaller and it seemed reasonable that G22 could take everyone out on it without raising an alarm.

I find it harder to justify why G22 would try to kill Surkov. The best I can could argue is that they're an organisation who want to control everything and they may prefer that no-one has access to his information if they can't have it. But it seems weak. The embassy level needed a bit of a rewrite in places

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I can see Albatross not wanting to send Sis on such a high risk assignment, and it's implied that him sending her to the Yacht was an unusual break in protocol. But if G22 wanted Surkov dead, than why doesn't Albatross order Mike to execute him? And if they don't want him dead, than why don't the soldiers try to subdue and capture him?

And I have no idea why the VCI attacks that embassy if you side with Albatross. Who ordered them to do that? Is Halbech trying to bump off Surkov in order to tie up a loose end. If so, why do they help Mike assault Brayko's compound? Does SIE know about any of this, and if she does, why does she help Mike protect Surkov from G22? Argh!

But at the end of the day, a lot of these plot holes arise from the game trying to be non linear and offer branching choices to the player and I can respect that to a degree. It's not like they tried to tell a viciously on-rails storyline and managed to screw that up.