Sunday, March 03, 2013


After last night's post, I did go back to Alpha Protocol and restart the game (I think this makes the fifth time I've played the opening section now), and went with the Recruit class option. The biggest difference between this and the other starting classes is the number of attribute points available at character creation - the Recruit doesn't get any.

I'm playing on Easy in an attempt to mitigate the disadvantages of a literally unskilled character, but the total change in tactics required has also given the game a totally different feel. I'm not able to rely so heavily on stealth and pistols, so for the first time I'm trying out the assault rifle, which has the advantage of strong long-range and close-quarters use. I'm still trying to be sneaky as much as possible, but the option of using a more direct approach to combat also makes the missions feel much quicker - not least because I'm less likely to restart a checkpoint as soon as I get spotted.

I've also made a couple of choices differently, and not just because of the new Recruit-specific dialogue options. The first time through I was very lenient, but this time I've executed my subject every time the options has presented itself. The tone Thorton takes in these moments has struck me as really inappropriate, though. The three main dialogue choices you get fall into three types, each of which is broadly influenced by a different fictional spy: Suave (James Bond), Aggressive (Jack Bauer) or Professional (Jason Bourne). But when you execute someone, Thorton turns into a cold-blooded sociopath, apparently delighting in the chance to murder someone with a name for a change. This probably wouldn't be so bad except they're usually unarmed at this point, and trying to bargain for their life.

The tone Thorton takes adds a lot of texture to the overall atmosphere, and there are quite a few optional bits and pieces that are locked off or available depending on your relationship with the various characters you interact with. It's rare that replaying a game can give you so much of a different experience when you make different choices, even if the plot is broadly the same and the level layouts identical.

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