Alpha Protocol: The Espionage RPG Review

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Licensed to thrill?


Part Bond, part Bourne and seasoned with a little Bauer, Obsidian’s latest is a stealth-action RPG littered reams of customisation that, despite a real lack of polish, rewards with persistence and effort. While the plot focuses on hero super spy Michael Thornton’s race to unravel a plot steeped in intrigue as an arms manufacturer aims to kick-start a new Cold War to cash in on the ensuing panic, Alpha Protocol - for the most part - eschews the grittiness of the real world in favour of goofy villains and swish set pieces.

Played out as a straight up shooter, RPG, or both, the game features a stellar upgrade system allowing you to tweak everything from your weaponry right through to resilience and stealth. And yet despite the myriad options, Alpha Protocol’s failings begin to steadily emerge once you engage in combat. AI can be atrocious, the cover system feels sticky, firefights ultimately end up as monotonous bullet-spraying affairs, and boss brawls can seem like they’re built on a bedrock of pad-smashing frustration. But like we say, effort reaps rewards, and should you be prepared to forgo the faults, Obsidian’s bumpy but appeasing spy ride might just win some of you over.