APB Reloaded (Or originally APB: All Points Bulletin) is a Multiplayer Online Video Game created for Microsoft Windows and developed by Realtime Worlds, then eventually acquired by GamersFirst. The game design is similar in terms to Grand Theft Auto, and you can either play as a Cop Or Robber in an open-world setting with Gangs/Teams respectively on each side, working together to complete an acquired goal.
A Short History:
APB Reloaded originally was released as APB: All Points Bulletin, on the 6th June 2010 (In North America and Europe) for the PC. From a long development, to a rather rocky release (Development started in 2005, to a first mentioned release in 2008, and not finally released till 2010). Some plans were to make it available on console, but this never saw the light of day.
Now for the sad part: Realtime Worlds, the developers, went into Administration just over 2 months later on 17th August 2010. With no future buyer in sight, the game servers were rumoured to soon be shut down but with no specific date given.
But, on the 11th November 2010, a games company called K2 Network acquired APB for 1.5 million GBP, and on the 16 November 2010, K2 subsidiary company Reloaded Productions revealed the game would be re-released in early 2011 as a free-to-play game, renamed APB: Reloaded.
Now for that part any MMO player loves! The character creation! (And of course the first thing you see apart from the Launcher ,and that being the Login/Menu). The main login menu is clean and simple, with a nice changing background for either Faction the character you have currently selected is in, depicting different situations. For an Enforcer, maybe standing in front of a crime scene? Or on the beach chilling?
For the type of game it is, not being a particularly large MMO to battle most others, its character creation is actually rather extensive. Choose male or female and you’re given a decent supply of hairstyles, colors, body shapes and presets, but what makes it really good is the customization sliders available for the face and most of the body. While they aren’t groundbreaking, I for one love the chance to edit my character so accurately. Really I spent a lot of time in the character creation, perfecting my character. You can even slider the hairstyles! Which I haven’t actually seen in many other MMO’s…
Furthermore, factoring this in, there is actually a tattoo system where you can create your own custom tattoos with the available ones by mixing them together, with a good tool to rotate, enlarge, flip any tattoo you have on your character at the time. What good ‘Criminal’ doesn’t have ‘Mom’ tattooed on their pec, huh?…No? Just mine? M’kay… Maybe the real question there is ‘Good criminal’. Overall, I really enjoyed the creator and menu. While I do say sometimes I spent a lot of time in the character creator perfecting them, I always -always- came out and thought “Okay, her breasts are too big” or, “Okay, he has a monobrow thanks to that shadow effect.” but really… Who minds? I’m not roleplaying there, I’m just crashing cars and killing bad guys (Or good guys, depending on my faction!). Maybe I got a bit -too- into crafting tattoos because of my inability to not do things symmetrically.
APB Reloaded gameplay can be likened to Grand Theft Auto: An open-world setting within the third-person camera with various citizen NPCs, and a multitude of vehicles to steal (Or, well, ‘acquire’ as an Enforcer of of San Paro). You can choose a Faction, in this case either a ‘Cop’ or ‘Robber’, if we break it down to its bare bones, and complete a set of missions which will pair you up against either a random mix of players or an arranged team of them. Now, in ways that make it similar to an MMO, you do have a level system. Within this level system (Or, maybe its better to call it ‘Rank’ system), the more missions you complete the more ‘Rank points’ you acquire. This can go towards new weapons, new items of clothing for social/showing off, new cars which can be modified and various other objects within game.
The game mainly takes place within the San Paro City, within three PvE districts. The first District is open to only lower Bronze Ranked players (To make it fairer, which I will explain why I say this later on), the second is for Silver + Gold Ranked and generally harder missions. Both districts have unique contacts which, as you complete missions for them, will give you better rewards from them and for each mission you complete on either side, you’re Prestige or Notoriety level will respectively grow for either Enforcer or Criminal, ranging from 0 – 5, and will increase difficulty, rewards, and at level 5 will incur a bounty on your head which other players will hunger for! As a rule of thumb within the game, Silver and Gold Ranked players cannot go back onto the Bronze District, as their weapons are generally a lot bigger/badder than those little Bronzies, making it a more fun and fair experience!
The third district is for all players, and acts as a Social area. Here you can edit your character with custom clothes, tattoos, even change their body shape at will! While nothing really exciting happens here, if you’re an RPer, there are bars and park areas. Delving into the Options > Buttons also there is a Walk toggle and Holster Weapon, handy for those quiet strolls while cars are racing past, trying to drive-by dumpsters.
It’s Grand Theft Auto meets Saint’s Row. Overall a fun system, -however-… As you see what I put up above, there are some issues with the game. In the time I played, there was a lot of issues between higher level players and lower level. This goes by the exploit that players will get to Gold Level, get crazy good with all the best weapons and equipment… Then deliberately drop down to Bronze Rank, and then start utterly annihilating all the new players with their heavily upgraded weapons and my… Puny little pistol. Honestly, the first day I played this, I was doing a mission and the entire other team had Rocket Launchers… We didn’t stand a chance, and this really pushed me away from wanting to play. I did meet a lot of fun teams, and nice players, but theres always that group of idiots who ruin the fun for everyone. And that day, they ruined my fun. Other than that, the contact system is a bit limited. Going back and forth to the same person over and over, and getting slightly confused as to who I’m supposed to be talking too to get their respect level up (Theres no clear indication to which contact you’re on, as it changes each time you go into one-anothers territory), the Criminals seem to get a bit more fun out of what they do because… They’re bad. So, so bad. But, alas, bad guys get all the fun! To finish off, I implore people to not get frustrated by the idiot players. I felt prey to them, and it ruined my experience of this game for a long time, but when I sat down to actually -play- it, I found it lots of fun! Especially with friends.
APB: Reloaded has a basic control scheme. Think Grand Theft Auto, and you’re mostly set, with a decent driving control system (Albeit can be a bit heavy at times on turning). In fact, most of it is very similar to Grand Theft Auto, apart from some added features like cuffing the criminals which is fun to humiliate them! Mua ha ha!… Until their friend scopes you anyway as you’re too busy making ‘justice’ happy-happ.
I for one thoroughly enjoy this system! While it is an old system, commonly used in other GTA style games, it’s different enough to make me feel ‘Hello, this is a little bit too daring!’. Maybe I should compare this more to Saint’s Row… Well, I’ll say the driving is Saint’s Row style! Just a shame it doesn’t have the same comedic effect as Saint’s Row.These controls are used, but can you really change them that much? I’m just going to say, the controls fit a Genre, and changing them will just make it hard for players coming from Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row to get that feel. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
PvP takes part in two extra Districts within the game, titled ‘Fight Clubs’. These are a pure PvP environment with areas taken from the main PvE districts and edited to fit PvP combat. These are a good way to Rank up quick, either with other random experienced players, or your own Clan/Group. While these will act just the same as normal Enforcer vs Criminal PvE, the respawn is faster, and a lot closer to the action with guns scattered around the map. While I am not a big fan of PvP in MMO’s, this basically was just PvE but straight out killing each other and given free weapons! I enjoyed it a lot, and because there was nowhere for the pesky buggers to run (Far anyway) I was able to pick them off and get my Rank! Boo-yah!
As with most MMO’s these days, there is a cash shop that allows you to buy new weapons/vehicles! But, to save fairness and equal gaming, most of the stuff bought does have a time limit on it! Say, you buy… A fancy new gun? I had one, as part of a Pack, and it lasted a full month of gameplay. I actually quite liked this, while it does kind of factor in as ‘Pay-To-Win’, it didn’t last forever.
To finalise, with my personal experience of APB: Reloaded, I don’t believe it was worthy of its original Subscription Fee. Yes it’s a fun game, and maybe that game GTA fans could have wanted before GTA became Multiplayer Online, but it in no way had enough gameplay/world to fill its Subscription. Plus, with the Community having such a large space of idiot players, some new players could easily be turned away by the downright annoyance that is ‘trolls’ or ‘sore losers’. This isn’t me saying ‘Don’t try it’, I for one say you should give it a try! While not an MMO you’ll get addicted too fully, it’s a fun little side-game to mess around on, and K2 did the right thing bringing this game back. I’m sure Realtime Worlds were happy to see their game survive even if from another Company.