From Before I Play
UI and performance:
- Never use Reload Last Checkpoint when you die - instead go through Load Game. Reload Last has a nasty bug associated with it.
- On PC, if you remap the movement controls, it won't change the conversation shortcuts. They will still be on WASD.
- Pressing E when you have Chain Shot lined up cancels the aiming without wasting it. Very handy when you accidentally trigger it at the wrong time.
- TAB leads you to the map/intel/character screen, "i" leads you to inventory, "p" to your character screen. None of the above is mentioned / configurable in the controls menu
- There's no reward for a pacifist / no alarms run (and in fact, both are impossible due to scripted events). Don't frustrate yourself except as a self-imposed challenge.
- Picking up Recruit for your very first run is both appropriate and not particularly hard if you choose the Recruit dialog option every time you can to get some AP back. Veteran makes replays much easier, and you'll want to replay this game.
- It's impossible to ghost the game, but it is possible to ghost some levels. Stealth is generally the harder way to play because you need to be good at both sneaking and combat, so you might want to save that for Veteran and play as a combat wombat when you're playing as a Recruit.
- Don't flip out over picking the wrong conversation choice. And sometimes Mike will say something other than what you expected him to say based on the prompt. Roll with it. Don't worry if you kill someone you think you weren't supposed to kill or vice versa. There are no "mistakes" in conversation, only choices. That said, if you want to min/max your relationship with someone, check out their intel page and you can probably figure out what kind of things they do and don't like to hear.
- The perks you get based on your handler (Mina for 90% of the game) loving/hating you are much better than the perks for them merely liking/disliking you, so you might as well push their attitude to extremes.
- You get a chance to respec once at character creation and once when you finish Saudi Arabia, so don't stress overmuch.
- You need to level at least one weapons skill, because there are quite a few unavoidable fights. Also, leveling one skill all the way up is far better than leveling two skills half-way. Your backup weapon should be just that - backup.
- Pistols are straight up broken once you have Chain Shot, assault rifles give you a nice balance between close and long range capability, shotguns are brutal asskickers at close range. I haven't figured out what SMGs are good for yet.
- Shotguns: Unlike every other weapon, you can ready a critical hit while moving around. Just walk forward until you see a guy, then unleash a critical. If you even wing him, he'll drop down long enough for you to waltz over and stomp on him. Stomps count as a non-fatal takedowns. This doesn't work for bosses, who just flip around, but the shotgun special ability can keep them flipping for quite a while.
- The Assault Rifle is a great backup weapon since you don't really need skill investment to make it a viable weapon Sadly, that also means that it doesn't get that much better if you do invest a lot of points in (the special ability is particularly disappointing)
- You can get through AP without putting a single point into weapons and killing everything with assault rifles which is the most balanced weapon. All weapon skills do is give you special abilities (and ever so slight accuracy bumps) so aside from getting chain shot for pistols you're better off putting points in everything else but weapons.
- The pistol is the only easily silenceable weapon. Use it whenever you stealth (get the level 3 silencer from the third floor of the CIA post in Rome when that mission pops up).
- You can get headshots on enemies without popping out of cover (great on hard mode). Just center your screen on a nearby enemy, and you'll get the targeting reticule after a while (if you're close enough).
- On that note, a headshot on an enemy will make them fall even if they're not dead. Even if you're sneaking, all is not lost yet - keep your reticule trained on the guy and pop off another headshot once he stands up but before he starts firing for a stealth kill.
- Chainshot (the pistols special ability) is great (just remember that you still need to focus your shot for a critical though). It can snipe people from far away. It can kill several guys at once - guys that would otherwise have inevitably raised the alarm. It's a great panic button when something unexpected pops up. And it's a total boss killer. Every hard mode boss will go down in one maxed chainshot-brilliance-chainshot.
- Pump stealth until you get Awareness, then you can keep using it if you want or not. Being able to see enemies through walls is always useful.
- Get brilliance, even if you avoid the rest of the skill tree (see above about how useful limited abilities and being able to instantly re-use them is).
- One point in sabotage so that you can bypass hacking, lockpicking and keypads with EMP grenades is useful even if you don't plan to upgrade sabotage any further.
- Also don't feel compelled to max the hacking/lockpicking skill - in order to get the highest level you have to specialize in sabotage, and it's really not worthwhile. The first bonus plus an armor mod is enough to deal with anything in the game (though some of the later ones can get tricky, if still manageable)
- This is an RPG, not a shooter / sneaking game. Use your special abilities for the best results.
- Your best sources of money are blackmail for Halbech intel and allowing bad guys to live in exchange for bribes and/or selling trophy weapons. Still, exploring every corner of every level and hacking every computer will get you more than enough to get by.
- Some doors with the lock-picking minigame have a "break door" button above the "abort" button - use that if you don't mind raising an alarm.
- If you put medkits in different gadget slots, you can chug them down one after the other without waiting for a cooldown.
- If a guy is blocking all your melee attacks, you may want to stop for a second, give him a chance to start an attack, then quickly punch him. Doesn't work that well on Hard mode though.
- Theoretically, if you shoot alarm panels, guys without radios can't raise an alarm. In practice, it's a bit more wonky.
- Save your money for gadgets and armor. Even the best weapons aren't GREATLY superior to starting weapons, while the best armor is far better than the starter set. You might want to play through a few missions with stealth in street clothes, just to learn how to avoid situations where you need to rely on your armor, but it's still highly useful.
- Each of the three training courses has a bonus mission if you ace it. To ace Parker's course, you want to avoid changing out of the hospital clothes (the quietest clothes in the game)(also useful for his follow-up mission), shut down any alarms you sound, and take down both guards. For Mina's weapons training, you want to make every shot you fire a critical for major bonuses, and miss as little as possible. All you need to do with Darcy's course is deal with all the guards.
- Occasionally you'll get a mission with the alpha protocol logo on it. These missions generally conclude the current portion of the storyline - complete any optional missions remaining before you undertake these.
- If you get to make a decision on whether a boss lives or dies, it will happen in a dialog scene. Don't bother with tranquilizer shots or martial arts.
- Killing mooks from a certain faction won't actually impact your reputation with that factions leaders.
- Moscow: When he gets coked up, he's invulnerable. Either run away until he gets tired, at which point you can unload on him, or use Shadow Operative to snap him right out of it (but you won't get the "tired" moment in that case).
- Taipei: You don't have to follow him onto the balcony - you should stick around in the corridor outside, which has better visibility, a health cabinet and into which his minions will be reluctant to follow. Also, you can use the time before the fight starts to plant some gadget traps on the walls.
- Rome: There's an obvious "pre-boss fight" section with a way to proceed to the actual fight. Before you proceed, you may as well trap the area. Also, his mooks will keep spawning in, so focus on the boss.
- First AP boss: see the tower opposite of the one the boss is in? There's a sniper gun at the top, and he can't hit you with grenades. Kill the mooks, EMP the door, climb up, free boss kill.
- Final boss: Your handler will suggest taking out the mooks and running straight for the boss - which you might as well do. The easiest way to deal with this fight is to clean out the minions, then run up the stairs all the way to a door which leads to boss room. EMP it, and the fight is practically over.