Alpha Protocol Preview
In the world of spy games, there just isn't enough of them lately. You can lump Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell into the category, but they aren't quite James Bond-ish enough to be considered espionage (although the original Metal Gear Solid was). So here comes Sega with another new intellectual property up their sleeves, and it's called Alpha Protocol - a game that gets its name from the same term used to describe an agent who's on underground missions, working off the grid.
This one stars a character named Michael Thorton. He is a young'n, a newcomer to the world of espionage, and his inexperience is demonstrated in full force when a mission of his goes wrong. And thus you pilot this newborn spy and walk him through the ranks to mold him into the best damn spy possible.
Sega says the game is James Bond meets Jack Bauer meets Jason Bourne. It's being developed by the folks at Obsidian Entertainment, and before you ask who: these are the fine people who've brought us such RPG masterpieces such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and Neverwinter Nights 2. If there's one thing Obsidian can do, it's RPGs. Additionally, Obsidian's talents lie in creating game engines, so don't expect this to run on Unreal Engine III or some other everyday middleware brand.
It's important to note that Alpha Protocol is not just an RPG game, but rather an Action/RPG game with a third-person perspective, and an emphasis on action. But the official word is that you can either run and gun, or sneak-around, all depending on what you wish to do. Sega states that the combat will be similar to that of Mass Effect in certain ways, but will feel more like Uncharted, as it'll boast real-time gun fights, with high-end gadgetry thrown in for good measure.
Additionally, there'll be close-ranged combat where fists and legs come into play. A Skill system will be set in the game in order to promote progression of your character's abilities. You'll be able to level-up across 10 different skills, with each skill featuring 10 levels/ranks. And according to Sega, skills don't just improve something simple like your fighting abilities, but also intricate things like analyzing situations. We're not quite sure how that'll work, but it sounds interesting regardless.
There is supposed to be dialog that is above and beyond what we've seen in most games. Once a conversation occurs, you'll never experience it again, so your interaction with the character is much more like the real world. Additionally, when conversing with someone, you have the ability to control the tone of the exchange all depending on which of the face buttons on the controller you hit, so you can be either relaxed, brash, edgy/impatient, or confident.
To really make this spy game come alive is the inclusion of girls and romantic subplots, and according to Sega, all of them are susceptible to a homerun in the sack. You're also not forced to play the game in a linear way, as you can have active missions all around the world, and you're free to travel to wherever you wish at your own leisure.
The game is long off its from release, as we won't be seeing this epic Action/RPG for another year. Sega's pegged this one for a Spring 2009 release.
3/31/2008 Arnold Katayev