He stumbles upon a dossier on Grigori. If we were to do the dialogue mission with Grigori after this combat mission, a dossier dialogue option would have popped up. Nathan uses a Noise Generator gadget to lure an enemy onto train tracks. Ding ding ding! Splat. Grigori’s weapon manifest is discovered – you send it to him. Mina doesn’t approve. -1 reputation.
After a brief mini-boss fight against a slightly more powerful goon, Sie turns up. Nathan picks suave dialogue options, which result in an sexual innuendo-packed conversation that she seems to enjoy. She leaves, saying she’ll be in touch. Funnily enough, if you’d picked a fight with her, you’d have improved your relationship with her even more. She likes men with balls, apparently.
Back in the safehouse, Mina, her face displayed on a massive flat screen television, discovers Serkov’s location – he’s in a Moscow embassy. A man called Albatross, from the G22 faction interferes with her broadcast, offering his help on the next mission. A choice: either align with Albatross or Sie. This decision determines your handler. Nathan picks Albatross. If he had picked Sie, he’d have had to suffer the two girls cat fighting in his ear the whole time. But this decision is more significant than simply affecting the mission – it will affect the endgame, too.
It is at the embassy that Alpha Protocol shows just how reactive it really is. Remember when Nathan was an asshole to Grigori? Well his email warning of your presence has resulted in increased security at the embassy. There’s a hard as nails marine standing outside, ready to break necks at the slightest sign of trouble. If you’d been nice to Grigori, a lame guard would have been blocking the way. Now here’s the interesting part. You’re able to try and talk your way in, which would then align all of the marines inside with you. These marines are great allies, much better than the bog standard guards. So while it seemed at first like scaring the bejesus out of Grigori didn’t benefit you, you have the potential to turn the situation in your favour. Nice.
In this play through it’s all moot, because Nathan’s stealthing it in. Goons from VCI, a mercenary group, are fighting against guys from G22. Nathan’s doing a Solid Snake and avoiding most of the action. He finally meets up with Serkov. The dialogue you have reflects the choices you’ve made. Mike was rough with Grigori. Will he have to be rough with Serkov? He doesn’t trust you, and could pull a gun on you at any moment. But Nathan plays nice. You agree to open security gates and meet up with him in the courtyard. This is where the demo ends.
Previously, only snippets of Alpha Protocol have been shown, making it hard to get a handle on just what kind of game it is, and what’s interesting about it. It’s got all the elements you’d expect from a third-person action game, but this is by far the least impressive side to the game. It’s quite clearly an RPG, too, with experience points, levelling up, skill trees, perks and enough weapon and armour mods to satisfy all but the most obsessive menu lovers. If this were all Alpha Protocol had, if its unremarkable screenshots were a true reflection of what it’s got to offer, then we would be able to say it looks like your average third-person action game and move on to the next one. This is not, thankfully, the case.
Sure, Alpha Protocol’s graphics won’t blow anyone away, but the sheer amount of stuff that’s affected by your actions is genuinely impressive. Almost everything you do has an effect, whether it’s killing an NPC or letting him live, playing good cop or playing bad cop, flirting with a Russian soldier or trying to shoot her, or typing “M1LFLuv3r” in an email.
Alpha Protocol is due out on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC this October.