Alpha Protocol: The art of smooth talking

Why’s all this important? Well just as in real life, the choices you make and your relationship with other characters help shape the world around you. It’s not that you’ll get different maps, levels or missions to explore, the layouts remain the same, but depending on who you’ve talked to and what you’ve discovered about them, certain areas may be more easy to access, or you might discover different ways to approach a mission.

For example, in the Moscow hub who you choose as your handler, the spymaster who’ll help guide and mentor you as you make your way through the world, makes a real difference to how you’ll approach its missions.gun

Above: We can only imagine how this conversation is panning out

One early foray sees you infiltratean embassy in Moscow to find a mysterious character named Surkov. If you choose Albatross, a member of the mysterious G22 faction as your handler, he responds well to professional approaches and since his natural inclination is for covert operations, he’ll direct you to a hidden back way into the embassy, where you can sneak around in the shadows and generally be as stealthy as a cat.

However, choose Sie a fun loving ex-Stasi mercenary and arms dealer as your controller and the game and the mission plays out very differently. Sie responds best to aggressive dialogue, so treat her rough and she’ll open up a real arsenal of destruction for you, allowing you to go for a head-on assault and attack in with all guns blazing. Further down the game timeline, you might not benefit from Albatross’s advanced intelligence, but Sie’s extensive weapons cache and supplementary mercenary forces should more than make up for it.

Above: What the hell did you expect us to choose? Apolo-bloody-getic?

it’s these kind of choices which make Alpha Protocol so fascinating. There’s definitely no real good or evil, no essentially right or wrong approach, just different paths, opportunities storylines and play styles, depending on which choices you make through its dialogue trees and with 32 possible endings, there’s plenty of choice and replayability. While other RPGs concentrate on good or evil, paragon or renegade, Alpha Protocol is made up of less clear cut choices, multiple shades of grey, exactly the kind of realpolitik world you imagine real agents operate in.

Look out for more Alpha Protocol in the coming week:

Monday 3 May: Combat and Weapons
Tuesday 4 May: Gadgets and Gizmos
Wednesday 5 May: Stealth
Thursday 6 May: The Femme Fatales

Plus, don't forget to enter our exclusiveAlpha Protocol competition.

29 April, 2010