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Alpha Protocol -- actually worse than I had imagined

I had read the reviews and I had seen the screenshots and I thought: Wow. Alpha Protocol looks terrible. Wisely, I decided to skip it, despite being a very big fan of Obsidian. Sometime around when Fallout: New Vegas came out, I heard some rumblings among people that while it was broken in a number of places, sure, AP was actually a surprisingly interesting game. Hmm, I thought. Then came the steam sales, and I am weak, like so many others, so I picked it up for a song.

What a terrible, terrible mistake.

It isn't that the game is ugly, though it is absolutely TERRIBLE looking, even for a first gen 360 game. It isn't that the AI is laughably ridiculous in essentially all situations. It isn't just that the controls are spotty, the game is far too quickly insanely easy on the hardest difficulty due to a screwed up from the get-go lvl up system, or that the level design is abysmal. Hell, it isn't even that the voice acting ranges from passable to terrible, and passable is a welcome relief from the norm or that the plot is straight up stupid (not even stupid as in, yeah, but it's cool. I mean stupid as in: not only is this juvenile, it makes no sense). No, what bothers me is that 1) the dialog is absolutely atrocious 2) on top of the bad dialog and stupid plot it FURTHER feels like it was written by a trio of 12 year old boys with a completely insane ability to screw all the girls in the game (good job, Obsidian, keep it classy), one liners that feel like the sort of thing that Michael Bay wouldn't use and such a blatant and pathetically underdeveloped anti-government, anti-corporation screed it would make 9/11 truthers cringe 3) And the final insult: the game is constantly taking away control from me during cutscenes in ways that don't make sense. We're not talking ludonarrative dissonance (though there is plenty of that—when I pause time and put 5 bullets directly into someone's head, and the cutscene has him...escaping somehow? and I don't run after?, well that's just awful), we're talking about full on failure to understand that these kinds of bs plot twists are bad enough in a very low budget action film, and even more inexcusable in a videogame.


Truth be told, this game was so incomprehensibly bad that despite my enthusiastic support of and excitement for the new Planescape game they kickstarted (Tides of Numeria? Something like that), I have retroactively withdrawn my happiness. This game that came out in freaking 2010 and it played like a failed experiment from the 90s in just about every way. And wow, again, how was that writing so bad?

This is a warning, readers. If someone tells you that Alpha Protocol is actually worth playing: Don't listen to them. They are liars and wish only to cause you pain and suffering. I think that this is quite possibly the absolute worst AAA game I have ever played.

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