- 1 General Information
- 2 Game Features
- 2.1 What kind of character can I play?
- 2.2 How do missions work? Is this an open-world game?
- 2.3 How does dialogue work?
- 2.4 How does character development work?
- 2.5 How does combat work?
- 2.6 Are there romances in the game?
- 2.7 What save system is used?
- 2.8 How do difficulty settings work? What kind of options are there?
- 3 Technical Information
- 4 Known issues and fixes
What is Alpha Protocol?
Alpha Protocol is an action RPG game set in the modern world, telling the story of Mike Thorton, an American secret agent who becomes embroiled in a globe-spanning spy-genre conspiracy. The game allows you to use full-blown RPG character development mechanisms and a fast-paced, reactive dialogue system called DSS to let you choose how you want to play. You can be a rambo gunman, a stealthy martial arts infiltrator, or a hacker and gadget-user; you can be 'Bond, Bourne or Bauer' in the way you talk to behave. The game's most important quality is its choice and consequences: Alpha Protocol offers not just alternative endings based on your choices, but also alternative 'middles': it will take at least 3 or 4 very different games to see the majority of the game's content.
Who is Obsidian?
Obsidian Entertainment is a California-based video game developer that specialises in role-playing games. Their past work includes Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansions Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir, and the upcoming Fallout: New Vegas, to be released this fall.
What platforms is Alpha Protocol available in?
Alpha Protocol is available on the PC, XBox 360 and Playstation 3. The Xbox 360 version is multi-region.
Where can I find Alpha Protocol?
You will find it in just about every retail video game shop, as well as online suppliers such as Steam, direct2drive, gamersgate and GAME.co.uk.
What ESRB rating does Alpha Protocol have?
Alpha Protocol is rated "M" (Mature) in the US, "15" in the UK and "16" in Germany. It is likely to have similar ratings elsewhere. Check with your local distributor.
When will Alpha Protocol be released?
It's out now!
What kind of character can I play?
You play Mike Thorton, a male American spy. You can edit his appearances to your liking, ranging from bald to shaggy hair, clean-shaved to a complete beard, caps, shades and more, but you cannot make a completely different model. There is no party and you will always play as Mike. However, there will often be 'handlers' - NPCs who you ally with and who will give you information and talk with you over the headset while you do your missions.
How do missions work? Is this an open-world game?
In a word, no. It is not an open world. You are restricted to specific mission areas to which you are magically teleported from your front door. Don't expect an open Oblivion-style world you can roam around in at will. Alpha Protocol is based around several 'hubs' around the world, such as Saudi Arabia and Taipei. Each hub has several missions that you can carry out, and a safehouse, but nothing else exists in the world. The hubs can be visited in any order, and many missions done in any order; and the order in which you do things changes what happens there, as well. Inside a mission, you have a lot of freedom in where to go, what to do, what optional areas to go / things to do, or how to solve that mission. Safehouses are also places where you can gather intel on NPCs, buy equipment, upgrade and modify guns, read e-mails and speak to your handlers.
How does dialogue work?
Alpha Protocol features a brand new dialogue system called DSS (Dialogue Stance System). When an NPC begins speaking, you are presented with a range of choices - often 3 - while the time bar grows smaller and smaller. When you are a spy in a high-tension environment, people don't wait 20 minutes for you to make up your mind: so you must pick your response before the time bar expires, or the default option will be chosen (the last option you chose). In many cases, similar kinds of responses will be in similar places - such as 'aggressive' responses or 'suave' ones, allowing players to choose quickly, but there are also 'extraordinary' options such as headslam or shoot. The options do not tell you everything Mike says, but rather a short abbreviation: the developers promise that there will be no 'nasty surprises' as to Mike coming out and saying not what you intended. There are various videos that show how it all works.
How does character development work?
You gain XP, gain levels, and spend your points in ten different skills, which let you invest in skills such as Pistols, Submachine Guns, Stealth and Technical Aptitude. You can choose to specialise in one area, or to become a jack of all trades: whatever path you take, every mission in Alpha Protocol promises to have multiple solutions and thus not punish you for making the 'wrong' character. As you get better in a particular skill, you can gain special abilities that make you even more effective - such as the 'Chain Shot', which let you line up multiple shots and then fire them almost instantly.
How does combat work?
You use an over-the-top third person view, and essentially engage in a typical shooter experience with a cover system. The difference here is that you can choose to stealth, use martial arts attacks or takedowns, grenades, gadgets and more. For example, you can set off a false alarm that lures guards elsewhere, then watch a train run over them.
Are there romances in the game?
Yes: there are definitely romance options. Spurned or abused romantic interests may even take it badly and work to sabotage your mission. Explicit sexual content is not seen as appropriate or necessary, and the game prefers to remain 'tasteful'.
What save system is used?
You cannot save at will. Alpha Protocol uses a save checkpoint system, meaning you cannot save anywhere. However, developers promise checkpoints are very plentiful and you will never be backtracking 20 minutes' worth of play because you died.
You can manually save the last check point by pausing the game and selecting "save last checkpoint". You then choose to save it as a new file or to over-write a previous manual save. It is not possible to over-write an auto-save file. This system allows you to load past auto-save locations if you wish to change past choices you have made. Manual saves may be deleted in game, an auto-save must be deleted directly from your Xbox 360 hard-drive or the external storage device it is located on.
How do difficulty settings work? What kind of options are there?
There is a standard set of difficulties that controls how hard the game is, and then there are also two extra 'modes' you can enable: Recruit and Veteran. Veteran is only available after you complete the game once as Recruit. These are different from difficulty settings, and more like 'Director's Cut' versions. The recruit version features additional dialogue that presumes Mike Thorton to be a 'rookie' agent; the veteran version presumes him to be a hardened veteran, and also has more odd, funny and wacky dialogue or voice acting. The developers recommend going through the game in each of these modes in order (None, Recruit, Veteran) to get the full experience.
What kind of DRM / Copy Protection is in Alpha Protocol?
Alpha Protocol uses Uniloc as its copy protection. The particular form of Uniloc used means that:
- When you buy the game, you must activate it online.
- After this, you can play without being online or having the cd in the disk drive.
- You can install up to 5 times (5 activations).
- You can remove these activations quickly and at any time, even if you lose your computer to an accident.
- Obsidian and SEGA promise to remove this limitation 18-24 months after the game's release.
What game engine does Alpha Protocol use?
Alpha Protocol uses Unreal Engine 3, a proven engine used in many titles such as Gears of War 1 & 2, Lost Odyssey, Medal of Honor and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
I'm having problems! Who can help?
You could try getting assistance at the technical support forums at Obsidian:
You can also use SEGA's customer support.
Known issues and fixes
I can't see the text in my dialogue options.
Try making sure AA (Anti-Aliasing) and AF (Anisotropic Filtering) are set to "Application Controlled" in your graphics card. You can do this by exiting the game and finding the graphics card (often NVIDIA or ATI) options in your control panel. Also check here.
Cannot save game due to the directory not existing
This tends to affect those who bought the game via Steam. If you get this error, navigate to your "My Documents" directory and create an "Alpha Protocol" folder. Within that "Alpha Protocol" folder create two more folders: "Profile" and "Checkpoints".
Edited: This does not always work with everyone
I am stuck in one spot when coming out of cover
Some people have reported fixing this by changing weapons (eg: using the 'Y' button on the Xbox 360).