Before I got Alpha Protocol I’d heard a lot of bad things about the game, I’d read that some people had described it as one of the worst games they’d ever played. I disagree with these people. I think the game is fantastic. The problem many people have with the game is that they expect something like Splinter Cell, and what they get is something much more like Mass Effect crossed with a Bond or a Bourne film. The game is an RPG not a third-person action title. People complain that when you line up perfect head-shots on enemies you sometimes miss. This is what happens when your accuracy stat isn’t high enough. People complain that the guns don’t do enough damage. This is what happens if your damage stat isn’t high enough. I remember people having similar complaints about Mass Effect when it first came out, yet it didn’t receive anywhere near the same level of disdain that Alpha Protocol seems to attract. I really don’t know why this is. People complain that the game contains a lot of glitches, but I haven’t encountered anything major. Occasionally the prompts to press the A button to open doors, hack computers or other things wouldn’t appear, but I didn’t find this a problem as it was usually obvious which computers could be hacked, locks picked etc. Some people have complained about the cover system, but I haven’t got any major complaints about it. I think what some people dislike is that you can be shot while in cover, but it’s not like you can be shot through a brick wall or something, only if you’re popping you head round the corner, or if you’re crouched behind something and an enemy is in a position to shoot over it. I call this realism, some seem to think it’s a problem. The game has perhaps the best cause and effect mechanic I have seen. Decisions you make during the course of the game have a genuine effect later on, and in a big way. There are characters whom it’s possible not to meet if you take the right course through the game, and many can be killed almost as soon as you’ve met them, so you don’t get their help, or their wrath, later on. The conversation mechanic in the game is very well thought out, you only have a limited time to choose your response, and thus to think through the possible repercussions. The story and the dialogue are also very well written, though the voice acting may be a little ropey in places, there are a few ethnic accents that could do with some work. The characters are well defined and offer the full range from crazy and deranged to boring by the book types, and because this is a spy game, you never quite know where they really stand. I definitely recommend this game, especially as it’s now possible to get it for about £10. Sega have said there won’t be a sequel, which is a real shame as I think it’s good enough to warrant one, if it existed I’d probably even buy it for full price on release day, which I almost never do any more! Hopefully they’ll release something that’s a spiritual successor to it, because the game has loads of great ideas, and it’s different from a lot of other games out at the moment. Perhaps if enough people go online and sing its praises Sega will reconsider.