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APB Reloaded review

APB Reloaded

MMO Review

Publisher: Gamersfirst

Free to Play

Released: 2011

Play APB for free

All-Points Bulletin was going to be something special, something we’d all wanted since GTA 3 hit PS3 in 2001 – a massively multiplayer cops and robbers game. One team would be the baddies, the other would fill the role of the goodies, and the two would clash over various pieces of territory. Unfortunately, it had far too many problems and died only a few months after release. The developers had been overconfident, and it almost meant that APB disappeared for good. When it was brought back as a free-to-play game, now titled APB Reloaded, you’d have thought the additional PR and development time might have done it some good. Unfortunately, it still suffers from far too many bugs and a general lack of polish. That's the summary of our APB review. Now, the details...

APB Reloaded Gameplay [HD]

APB Reloaded - positives

Cops and Robbers – APB Reloaded does exactly what you’d expect it to do. You get to choose whether to be the enforcers or the criminals and then you fight off against one another across multiple locations. Every mission has an exact opposite on the other team: while the criminals try to steal a car, the enforcers will need to protect it. This makes for a very interesting mission dynamic not entirely like anything else available in the MMO world.

Big and Beautiful – There’s an awful lot to see in San Paro across a number of different districts. While it doesn’t feel as alive or real as the cities in Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row or Mafia, there’s still something nice about it. This is only aided by above average graphics. They’re not on the same level as the game I mentioned earlier, but when you consider this is an open world MMO and the lack of any loading whilst in-game, this is quite an achievement.

APB Reloaded screenshot 1

APB Reloaded screenshots - click to enlarge

Own your Character – One of the really nice things about this game – and the thing that is likely to keep some people hanging on – is the level of customization you have over your character and their possessions. Change and edit clothes, spray paint walls with a custom logo and compose a ditty to play whenever you kill somebody. If you like creating an avatar totally unique to you, I can’t suggest APB Reloaded enough.

APB Reloaded review - neutrals

Off-Target – One of my biggest annoyances so far is the players that tend to see the objective as some sort of optional extra while in mission. They generally hang around, get themselves killed and then do exactly the same again. This is bearable – just – but the real problem comes from players on the same team that genuinely want to kill you. You team is free to finish you off whenever they fancy it, and if you play APB for any length of time you’ll find new meaning in the word troll.

APB Reloaded screenshot 2

Free and Easy – APB has a real lack of structure, and for some people that will be absolutely fantastic. They’ll enjoy tooling around the city with their friends and reacting to anything that might grab their attention. Gone are the linear missions that plague every MMO on the market and it’s refreshing, especially to begin with. But with this lack of structure comes a lack of goals, and others will find themselves confused as to the progress they’re making.

APB Reloaded review - negatives

The Glitches are Criminal – APB has been worked on by two separate developers over many, many years. So why does it still hardly work? Apparently almost everybody that has trouble is using an AMD card and, with the wrong options selected, you’ll get 10fps on even the lowest settings. Turn off frame rate smoothing (one of many potential solutions and the one that worked for me) and you’ll get as much as ten times that. Unfortunately, it then crashed my entire computer just a few minutes later.

APB Reloaded has also been terribly optimized, and after a short amount of play can take up to 3GB of your RAM. If you have less than that, you might end up having trouble.

Grabbin’ Guns – This is a pay-to-win game, with no attempt at balancing out the guns to hire (because lifetime “rental” is really expensive) and those that come ready-equipped with the game. In fact, the entire combat system is a bit of a joke. It works well so long as you don’t stress it too much – if you’re crouched down and shooting from an ideal distance – but get in close and try to move quickly and it starts showing its holes. It doesn’t help that some weapons are just stupidly overpowered. If you want to play at a high level, bring your wallet and do your research.

APB Reloaded screenshot 3

Dangerous Driving – It’s also worth noting that the driving system fails to excite as well. It isn’t terrible, don’t get me wrong, but there absolutely no sense of speed. The cars sometimes move as if they’re on ice as you’re going round corners and there isn’t enough variety in the rob-a-cars to keep you happy. The drive-by co-op shooting is very nicely done; I just feel sorry for whoever has to actually drive the car.

The Verdict : APB Reloaded review

"Despite all its glaring flaws, APB Reloaded isn’t a terrible game. It’s pretty badly made, but it’s difficult to give specific blame on that count". This is a title that, really, we shouldn’t even be playing. That is was brought back is a great thing, and that alone gives the new developers a little wriggle room in fixing issues and balancing things out.

APB Reloaded screenshot 4

Whether they ever will is another question entirely. ABP is a game to keep installed, to play in bursts. There’s only so much you can do before the cracks seem bigger than the game itself.

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