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Doing it with style, the 007 way

tech-reviews Updated: May 18, 2010 15:03 IST
Avinash Bali
Avinash Bali
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A spy action-Role Playing Game (RPG) set in modern times sounds like an excellent idea — something between Splinter Cell and Mass Effect, Alpha Protocol was meant to let us live out all our James Bond fantasies. The game’s release date has been pushed back and even now the game still hasn’t achieved the level of polish we hoped it would. Luckily, as we learnt recently, it’s a tonne of fun.

Like any RPG on the block, you can create your own character from a bunch of presets available. Once you choose your class you can go ahead and choose you skill sets that’ll determine how proficient you are with weapons, how fast you are with hacking and how aware you are while sneaking.

Sharpening your spy skills
The game starts off with a tutorial that accustoms you with the game’s basic controls and mechanics. Since you are a spy, you’ll have to be proficient with hacking of various objects like door locks, computers and alarms. While all of them are simple enough to understand, they get trickier as you progress through the game and one single error sounds the alarm. This will make every enemy in the level aware of your presence till you hack into the alarm system and turn it off.

Like I mentioned earlier, gameplay feels a lot like Splinter Cell, especially if you take the stealth class. And I definitely recommend you go in for that class as you won’t be powerful enough to handle an entire room full of enemies initially. And it’s a lot of fun too — learning enemy patrol patterns, avoiding cameras, taking enemies out with a silent pistol and so on. Of course when it hits the fan you’re free to use your un-silenced weapons but remember this is an RPG at heart so unless your weapon skills are high enough, your bullets won’t even touch your opponents.

As with most RPGs, dialogues play a very important role in the game too and you can be professional, suave or just plain reckless. The choices you make in your dialogue tree will not only influence what people think of you in the game world but may offer you certain benefits like weapon discounts and skill boosts. Make sure you’re quick as the game has a timed dialogue tree.

Lack of detail
Visually the game’s still on the bland side and it could really do with a bit of polish before it releases. The levels that take place in the Middle East are just plain brown with a serious lack of detail. Enemy models are as generic as they come and for some reason controlling the main character feels very jerky.

Even after all the above mentioned issues, I really enjoyed the game. Watch this space for a full-fledged review once the game hits stands by the end of this month.