Let's Play Alekhine's Gun
Alekhine's Gun is a stealth-TPS with an emphasis on open gameplay. Not open-world, mind you, just open. The idea is that there are countless ways to complete the objectives within the levels using a variety of play-styles. Sound familiar? Well, I am told it's all very similar to the Hitman series, but I've never played any of those titles. It's also supposed to be the third entry in the Death to Spies series, but I've never played any of those games either. I just know Alekhine's Gun is ambitious, fun... and a hard sell.
What Alekhine's Gun does well:
1. It successfully encourages multiple play-styles. Indeed, if you watch this game on youtube, you'll find no two people playing it exactly the same way. The large, open maps, variety of tools at your disposal, and personal level of patience all ensure a different solution to each level depending on who's playing. This is the game's biggest strength.
2. The maps are creatively designed. No matter what level you're playing, all of the rooms connect in a sensible fashion that equally encourages exploration and elaborate planning.
3. You get points after a mission's completion, which allows you to buy such handy -and godly- upgrades as a pistol with a silencer. This only increases the options available to you, and can open up entire new strategies that you may have never considered.
4. The atmosphere is serviceable. I am not a history buff, and I know the absolute bare minimum possible about the Cold War and WWII, but I know when I like something, and I like the game's settings. They all feel unique, and the aforementioned creative map design only helps.
5. Save scumming is a potential strategy.
What Alekhine's Gun doesn't do so well:
1. Most importantly, the Artificial Intelligence is terrible. In encouraging multiple play-styles, they may have gone a bit too easy on the player in this department. The NPCs are quick to forgive you for most misdeeds, and running a couple of rooms before slamming the door in their face is enough to throw them off your trail. The bouncers are the worst, as many times they don't even successfully prevent you from entering a room they're standing directly in front of.
2. The terrible AI is essential to the game design. Without it, many of the alternate play-styles the game encourages would not be valid. At first I thought I was just triggering exploit after terrible exploit, but I came to the sobering realization that the AI is comically incompetent on purpose.
3. The terrible AI's limits are hard to comprehend. They do draw the line at some point, but where exactly that point is... that's up for speculation. If you start picking locks, cracking safes, or pointing guns at people in plain sight, the AI will forgive you as long as you stop. Put the gun away, step back from the door, and they'll forget they ever saw you about to commit murder. On the other hand, if you punch the empty air three times in a big room, they'll open fire and you'll be dead in seconds. It's absolute anarchy.
4. Some objectives are not made clear. I'm unsure how to elaborate on this one without spoiling some of the game, but you'll have to trust me: In spite of the open nature, there are some things that should be explained.
It sounds like an interesting mess.
I really think that would be the ideal way to describe it. It's ambitious and creative, but confusing beyond any reason. So let's play it. In the spirit of the game, I'm going to be using my own solutions and my own style of play, regardless of whether they're optimal. It should be fun.
I don't know for how long this peace will last.