The legendary agent whose presence looms over Alpha Protocol's Michael Thornton isn't Bauer, Bourne or Bond - although the game is eager to invite all these comparisons. It's Shepard. Obsidian has borrowed a lot from BioWare, a developer it's always had a close working relationship with, and at times Alpha Protocol can feel a little like a Mass Effect mod as much as an original game in its own right.
A contemporary super-spy mod of Mass Effect would hardly be something to complain about, though, and while Thornton's earthbound adventure isn't as gripping - and is hardly as polished - as either of Shepard's galaxy-spanning suicide missions, it's a still decent action RPG.
The narrative, unfolding in a kind of French plait of chatting and blasting people in the face that will be instantly familiar to veterans of any Normandy away missions, is a pleasingly sinister muddle. While agent Thornton hops around the globe, having flirty conversations with enigmatic ladies on planes and making deals - or, like, totally not making deals - with sheiks, Russian crime bosses and Triads, Alpha Protocol slowly starts to pull together a story of international intrigue, as a weapons manufacturer tries to trigger a new cold war arms race so it can cash in on the ensuing panic. (It's worth noting that this firm definitely isn't in any way at all based on former Vice President Dick Cheney's delightful paymasters Halliburton.)