Did you ever play cops and robbers as a kid? Have you ever wished Grand Theft Auto IV Multi-player offered more? If there answer to either of these questions is yes, I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of All Points Bulletin: Reloaded. The official Cops Vs. Robbers MMO if there ever was one and it’s free-to-play. APB: Reloaded is the name of the revamped third-person shooter MMO developed originally by now-bankrupt and shutdown studio, Realtime Worlds. K2 Network picked up the subscription based MMO, ironed out the flaws and GamersFirst re-released it as a free-to-play offering.
All Points Bulletin: Reloaded Review
The game takes place entirely in the city of San Paro where players must pick sides with one of two factions, the Criminals or Enforcers. The city officials are losing control, the streets have turned to chaos as Criminals wreak havoc on civilians. To counter this problem, the city is hiring anyone who is willing to join the Enforcers and put a stop to the madness. This solution has only brought more chaos, the two factions have gone head to head in all out war on the streets; who can end this war?
Creating your cop or criminal in APB: Reloaded is an experience within itself, the character creation system is extremely involved and has a lot of depth. You will be hard pressed to find another game that allows this level of customization because there are few that do. The emphasis in this game is on becoming who you can’t be, another virtual you that is free to do things you only see in movies. The team have done a great job at delivering on this, there are a lot of different and interesting characters getting around San Paro.
Upon entering San Paro for the first time, players will be introduced to the world they will be living in. The city is broken up in to districts, there are currently five districts with the first being the Tutorial District. This is the first area players will enter, here a new Criminal or Enforcer will learn the ropes of APB: Reloaded. Players will be introduced to missions, side-activities and driving in a safer environment before heading out into the fray. The tutorials aren’t too involved and basically just string you along for a quick ride before throwing you out. It’s not much, but it’s all you need as the game isn’t very complex.
After leaving the tutorial district players have the option of visiting the Mission Districts, Fight Club Districts or Social District. The Social District is a safe zone where both Criminals and Enforcers can hang out, chat, buy clothes and customise their weapons and cars. Clothes are unlocked for purchase by completing missions, if you are impatient there is a marketplace where you can purchase some basic bits and pieces. This area also has a tatoo parlor where players can get tattoos from their own designs, as a bonus players can also create their own theme songs. There is a lot of things to customize in this area, keep an eye out for all the cool outfits players have.
It’s great to have a place to shop and hang out, but what is the point if you don’t have any cash to spend? The mission district is one of the main areas where players will begin earning cash. Choosing from two sub-districts, the Financial District and Waterfront District, players will complete missions with fellow players in return for cash and rewards. Each area has two organizations per faction, for Criminals there are the BloodRoses and G-Kings while the Enforcers have Praetorians and Prentiss Tigers. Players can pledge to join one of those organizations, completing missions for them will earn a reputation with the organization. As players complete more missions they will unlock better rewards to purchase in the store.
Quests aren’t what you would expect from an MMO, players enter the mission district and press the ‘K’ key to notify the game they are ready for a mission. Within a minute or two the game matches you up with some players and assigns a random mission. Criminals will get a mission that has them perform a certain task such as breaking in to a building or tagging up a wall, Enforcers will be pitted against them to try stop them from completing the task. This system works wonders for incorporating PvP into missions and keeps players constantly busy with fresh and new engagements around every corner. There are no pesky runs to NPCs, just hit K and wait for a mission.
If missions are growing tiresome and you are looking for a bit more action then head on over to one of the Fight Club Districts. Two sub-districts are available as PvP zones, the Beacon skyscraper from the Financial District is a construction-yard while the Baylan Shipping Yard from the waterfront offers a maze of cargo containers. Each PvP district pits players against each other in Team Deathmatch style fights, once the match is over it just starts again so you never have to wait for the action. Cars are enabled in the districts so you can drive around running over players and performing drive-bys.
The game is an online shooter, players play from an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective much similar to Grand Theft Auto. In fact most of the game plays like GTA, probably given to the fact that it was originally designed by a man who contributed to both the GTA and Crackdown games. Most of the game plays around the mayhem of driving around a city killing pedestrians and other players, the entire game is essentially what you would expect from a GTA MMO if Rockstar were to make one, so if you are in to the series you will love APB: Reloaded.
K2 Network and GamersFirst have gone a long way in revamping this thought to be dead project, listening to their community and adding a great deal of polish on the already existing foundation has paid off. The gunplay is great, the mission system works flawlessly and PvP is non-stop action from the moment you enter right through till you leave. If you are looking for a deep and involved experience you won’t find it here, I might even go as far as saying it’s a casual online shooter.
The reason for this is the lack of depth, you customise a character, do random missions and fight in PvP areas. That is the entire game so while you might not be investing 8 hours a day trying to push through end-game content, it’s extremely easy to just jump online for a few quick missions or just to drive around and cause mayhem, or put a stop to it, it’s up to you. If you were the kind of gamer who booted up GTA just to drive around, run over people and cause havoc, APB: Reloaded has the same charm but now you can be the cops too.