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April 21 2010
Alpha Protocol - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Shootout on the boat deck.
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Alpha Protocol looks action packed.

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Environments look gorgeous, and vast.
Obsidian may not be a developer which many gamers would be too familiar with, but you will certainly know their games. Prior to the creation of Obsidian Entertainment many of the development team worked at Interplay's Black Isle Studios prior to their closure. That company was responsible for hits such as Fallout and Icewind Dale, and since forming Obsidian the Californian based developer has released Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords and Neverwinter Nights 2, both sequels to hit titles from Bioware and both impressive games in their own right. If one thing is certain, Obsidian have the ability to craft a great action RPG title and now, with Alpha Protocol, they are about to bring us their first original game under the Obsidian name.

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Character models look impressive.
Alpha Protocol, or at least the collaboration with Sega, was announced way back in March 2006 and was initially dubbed Project Georgia during the early stages of development. Now, a bit over three years later, the game is nearing completion and we have plenty of details.

Loyalty carries a price and no one knows this more than CIA agent Michael Thorton. A talented young agent cast out by his government, Thorton is the only one with the information needed to stop an impending international catastrophe. To do so means he must cut himself off from the very people he is sworn to protect.

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The game includes plenty of RPG styled customising.
Alpha Protocol is a third person RPG (Role Playing Game) set in the near future. The game, which has a runtime of around 25 hours, has more then a passing resemblance to spy books and movies such as James Bond and Jason Bourne (indeed those characters were a part of the inspiration for the dialogue system - more on that soon) with Michael able to use weapons, electronics, hack into systems and more. The developers have also stated that the movie Syriana has been an influence during this games development.

As with any RPG as you progress through the game Michael can be upgraded with Advancement Points for improved abilities across nine different skills - the full details of which are still to be revealed. Each skill is split up into ten upgrades, and 15 upgrades for your specialised skill. The game is fairly open as well. At certain points through the game Michael will be given an Operation to take part in which can be split up into several smaller missions. These missions can be completed in any order you see fit. Get stuck on one, move onto another.

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Looking at CCTV in the control room.
As players determine how to accomplish different objectives, the decisions made and actions taken in each mission will ultimately transform the type of secret agent Michael Thorton will become. Every choice the player makes as Michael Thorton will carry consequences for his future and the fate of the world. One of the most interesting aspects of this game revolves around the conversations within the game. As conversations take place gamers can put the hero into one of three "moods" or stances. These have been modeled on three of the most famous spies in film and TV. The "professional" stance is based around Jason Bourne, the "suave" stance on James Bond, and the "aggressive" stance on Jack Bauer. Depending on your stance the conversations, or result, could be altered for better or worse.

It must be pointed out that Alpha Protocol isn't a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online RPG) game so you won't be playing in an online world such as World of Warcraft, so don't get your hopes up. There is always a chance of some online components or downloadable content, but the developers probably aren't thinking too hard about this at this stage with any announcements likely to be made closer to, or just after the game launches.

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Taking on a couple of enemies.
Graphically Alpha Protocol looks very impressive with a large, detailed world to explore. The game looks a little more modern and futuristic then we first saw in mid-2008 and given that it's meant to be set today, that's not a bad thing. Character models, including the enemies, and animations look impressive.

We first previewed Alpha Protocol way back in early June 2008. Fourteen months later, and only a couple of months prior to release, this game looks a lot more polished and set for release. Well, it was, but then Sega pushed the game from October 2009, to March/April 2010, and in early February came word it's now due around American Winter 2010 - with a late May release finally confirmed. It will be interesting if the developers can get us to play the game as something more then just an action title, but if any developer can do it Obsidian are probably the team.

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A high level meeting in Alpha Protocol.
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What's an action game without sniper rifles!