The fine folks at Sega were nice enough to give us a preview of their upcoming spy shooter, Alpha Protocol at E3 2009. I hesitate to generalize or limit this game by calling it just a shooter because it’s so much more. Before, and even during missions, your actions and interactions with other characters determine how you progress through the game.
The player is based at one of a number of safe houses all over the world. At these safehouses, the player can purchase new weapons, select new missions, even view trophies from previous missions. One interesting feature is a dossier set on all main characters the player meets in game, including notes on techniques to deal effectively with the character… (CONT)
A player can choose either a stealth or commando skillset for each mission. Prior and during missions, the player will encounter and interact with other characters. The player is then presented with a choice on how to deal with this character (friendly, diplomatic, honest, evasive, aggressive, etc…), and these choices and the player’s actions in the mission will affect the player’s reputation with that character. Rub that character the wrong way too often, and they will be less helpful, or downright hostile, changing the course of the game. The devs we spoke to really hyped the reputation system, and replayability. Make different choices and experience an entirely different gameplay experience.
In missions, the player can select from four classes of weapons (pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, and assault rifles), and they can all be extensively modified/customized. Each weapon will have four different upgrade slots for the player to make use of. The amount of customization is really incredible, not only to your weapons but also to the rest of your equipment and appearance.
The developers also stated that the player will gain numerous perks as he gains experience and levels. These perks are automatically selected based on the skills the players in-game decisions/actions. We asked how far player can expect to level in the game and were told that if a player does all missions and maximizes experience, he would reach level 20 or so. As players level, they gain points to put in any of the 9 different skill attributes (small guns, martial arts, etc…). To maximize every skill would require approximately 200 levels of points, which, with a soft-cap of 20, will never happen. Therefore the player has to be very particular where skill points are placed. This also makes it fun for players to go back through and play the game, multiple times, from different character types and actions. In fact, the developers mentioned the classic and brilliant PC title ‘Deus-Ex’ as one of their inspirations for Alpha Protocol.
While Alpha Protocol is not the most ground-breaking title we have seen in terms of visuals, it is very attractive and has a crisp style. This is somewhat refreshing as opposed to many titles out there using all manner of filters and overlays to ‘enhance’ their looks. Movement and game play seems typical, though we were not able to get a hands on demo to confirm. Sega is shooting for a Fall 2009 release date on all platforms. Visit Sega’s Alpha Protocol site for more info!