So it took me almost three years and three different computers with three different OS to get this beast to work. But after actually been able to play it, it would has been good aswell if I never would have get it to work.
Gameplay is descent at times at best. Shoot and hide and not really so much uses for gadgets or skills, except maybe healing. Battle layout is very linear and the action is the same through every mission. Skills/invetory menues are obtained through keyboard keys and everything feels very console. I would have wanted to have shortcuts on screen here. If you are going to play a spionage game you would like to actually be able to stealth most of the time. But with such a skittish enemy AI this game has - who at times see you through walls, the other time fail to spot you right in front of them – the stealth part becomes a very uncertain method to approach things. After a couple of fails you will mostly just resort to gunning everything down just to be done with it.
And dying in this game can be double fatal – sometimes when you restart after a death the game does not load and you have to go ctrl+alt+del to quit the damn game down and restart. And at the worst of times game does not allow you back to desktop and then a restart of the comp is the only option.
Alpha Protocol has similarities to Mass Effect with choices regarding dialogue. You can for instance be professional, a joker or a jerkwad. You can just be choosing right or wrong answears make allies or enemies and even affect the progress of the game. This is actually really interesting and the sole reason for me to actually complete the game. But it just had to contain action and shooting too.
The game is not actually that hard. You mostly dispose of henchmen easy enough, but some of the boss battles are a totally different hen to pluck. A wrong build make some almost impossible and having to do a walkthrough just to get the “right” one, for all boss battles, is not a thing that should have to exist here. That is not a rpg game if there are secret rules like that.
At the almost end there are a incredible cheap battle with an idiot throwing barrages of grenades at you, being in hide and shooting you with an sniper rifle. And if that was not enough there are henchmen all around making your life a misery. After dying over and over I almost had him beaten – only to be exposed to a bug making the battle not possible to end. I expirenced this one more time, then after deciding if to continue with the bloody game or not I gave it another chance, and finally fucken won. I then kept feeling sour to the bitter end of the game.
Games that do not deliver in every aspect can often still be really good as a whole. Vampire The Masaquerade Bloodlines was a game with numerous bugs and rather sucky fighting mechanisms, but it ruled as a whole. Alpha Protocol just takes the worst parts of Mass Effect and Splinter Cell and becomes a souless copycat.
Avoid this at any cost if you not are over your heads into buggy and clunky espionage rpg’s, made by people not able to construct rpg’s.
Three years ago it was the The Dark Descent that scared the crap out of everyone from here to YouTube. Now Red Barrels thought it was time for some more pants crapping and changed the spooky old castle for an dark ominous asylum and the Lovecraft monsters for crazed, mutated inmates.
The hero this time is a journalist named Miles - a guy that apparently has some problems with his breathing, but on the upside is very tolerant to physical pain. Because over the course of about 7-10 hours of gameplay there's gonna be some heavy scares, Miles gonna get thrown around and get maimed pretty bad. But you just have to be a man about it and carry on.
Like Amnesia this game is about true survival horror. You cannot fight back at enemies - your only options is either to run or hide. More than once you will find yourself chrouching in a dark corner, praying that one of the bad ones not will notice you. Everytime that there's an "encounter" on the way Miles breathing will get heavier and more scared. At times it is actually really annoying and you really wonder how the monsters can fail not to hear Miles's heavy panting.
As said, you cannot carry any weapons - actually there is no inventory at all. All you have is an camcorder to record everything in your surroundings. And you have to be on the lookout for batteries (that conveniently is placed all around the place) - because your only light source in the darkness is the lamp on your video camera. And the batteries drains it FAST. Another thing to be on the lookout for is journals wich provides clues about whats been going on at the asylum. They provide with rather interesting and sometimes useful info, but honestly must serves as a breathing space between all the games scares.
Outlast also, at times, features dumbed down puzzles to progress in the story. Every single time that means that you will have to find X amounts of valves and run/hide from the crazy ass enemy. The developers really could have done with a little bit of more imagination there. Really, the core of the game is just to scare you as much as possible an not much more. Maybe one should not analyze such trivial stuff as unimaginable puzzles in a game that builds on challenging the player to outlast his fear just playing the game. But at times, at least I, get fed up with all the constant running from enemies the game forces upon you. Please a little more variety next time around, eh?!
Still I will play through this seven more times and still get more scared the 7th time than my first time with any of that overhyped "Slender" crap. This is real horror gaming and relies more on creepy atmosphere than just pity jumpscares. Outstanding sound effects and a Classic horror music score also add to the fact that this indeed are the scariest game since The Dark Descent.
Outlast is not something for the faint of heart, but people into the horror genre will not want to pass this one up.