APB Reloaded Overview
APB is a GTA-style MMO based around the tried and true concept of cops and robbers. It’s deceptively simple, amazingly fun, and is bound to keep you latched to your screen for many hours on end as you rob, fight or arrest your way to fame. Wield a plethora of firearms, drive a variety of vehicles, and make your mark as you fight for the streets of San Paro as one of two factions:
Criminal: Criminals get to perform a variety of missions and roles, such as ramming stores with their cars for loot, or mugging civilians for a little extra cash. Their pro-active role means they have to keep an eye out for Enforcers who can take them out or arrest them, then steal their “hard-earned” money.
Enforcers: Enforcers play a more reactive role; they patrol the streets hoping to “Witness” criminals committing a crime, which allows them in turn to arrest or take them out. Enforcers gain access to a special range of weapons called “Less-than-lethal” weapons who’s role is to stun rather than kill, in order to arrest (Check the full review for more on this).
APB Reloaded Screenshots
APB Reloaded Featured Video
APB Reloaded Review
By, Guillaume Barbeau-Roberge
Have you ever played one of those games you just couldn’t unglue yourself from? This is one of those games. Marked by a rough history, APB was first released as a full-priced MMO back in 2010, but lacked the necessary success to keep it running, and was then closed along its developing studio Realtime Worlds. Purchased afterwards by K2 Network (now GamersFirst), it at last re-launched in May 2011 on a free-to-play model, and while APB might not have been tough enough to make it in the paying MMO market, it`s turning out to be one of the strong players in this one. The question is; does it have what it takes to keep a loyal player base?
Welcome to San Paro
Starting up the character creator, you’re immediately slammed in the face with how heavy-set the customization is. You can control just about every aspect of your character`s biological features, and the way the creator lets you wield this power is comparable to EVE Online’s new Incarna creator, where you mold the feature by holding the mouse button. There’s a very acceptable selection of hair styles, though it seems most of the tattoo and hair color content is actually unlocked in-game rather than in the creator. Once you’ve chosen your side and crafted up your avatar, you’re dropped square into San Paro with an assault rifle and a stub-nosed revolver. You’re led through a tutorial mode, which does good work of explaining you the basics, though this may be unneeded for players of games such as GTA and Saint’s
I fought the Law
One thing you just can’t avoid in this game is absolutely gorgeous art. Its urban style is pervasive and omnipresent; you’ll see it all over in the form of graffiti, car and character art. You’ll also notice that you’re not alone, perhaps from the gunshots, or from the sudden shock of being rammed for no reason whatsoever by a hijacked ambulance (In San Paro, you don’t need a reason). This is one chaotic city, with 100 players packed into each instance; you can be assured to see constant non-stop action, with burning cars racing through the street and explosive firefights being common happening. The graphics are fairly good as far as general video game standards go and absolutely gorgeous for a free game. The downside to this is that the system specs are going to be a slight bit steep if you haven`t upgraded in the past two years or so, and there are quite a few graphics-related bugs (Supposedly a lot fewer for Win7 users).
Criminals & Vigilantes
That said, the gameplay is where APB really shines brightest. APB has a fairly simple system of grouping and missions which award four sorts of points; RS, standing, money and prestige/notoriety. RS is basically your level, showing your progression through the content, standing is used to unlock content and money is used to… Well, buy things! The last, prestige/notoriety, is a 5 levels meter used to measure your level of short-term activity. It goes down slowly on its own, and is raised by simply being active. The higher it is, the more money and standing each mission will give. Once you reach max level however, you’ve become too much of a big shot, and the other side places a bounty on you; anyone in the zone can take you out for a nice wad of cash!
Pipes & Cans
Missions play out quite simply. You enable auto-group placement, get automatically placed into a group, which is then assigned a mission. Missions consist of go to X place, collect Y object, claim Z area. Other types include holding a briefcase/item for as long as possible or hunting down the VIP. When you start, you are either automatically matched with an opposing faction team who comes to play the antagonistic role within your mission, or you’re put in line to be matched, which simply means that the enemy will join at a later stage during your mission. As far as quality goes, the missions themselves are fairly boring, but as soon as you’re matched with an opposing team, they become a total blast, and the missions can go from 1 against 1 to pitting up to 6 players in some rare cases, in an epically explosive match. If a player leaves, the team leader gets the option to call backup, which simply matches other players to your group for the duration of the mission to re-balance it. Overall this is where APB is at its best, racing through the alleys of the city with a briefcase in hand while under enemy fire is quite simply ecstatic! The action is intense, fast paced and yet somewhat strategic, as high ground and leaning gives an edge against players’ naturally low health pool. Team play is also better than ever, and cars support up to 4 players inside them while allowing the 3 passengers to pop out of the car for some drive-by shooting.
As said before, the customization potential is nearly infinite, with a symbol creator, a car editor, and a massive wardrobe that has enough content to most likely craft whatever avatar you have in mind. While there are a few flaws with this system, it means that virtually no two players will look alike, and with enough effort, a normal car or character can become a truly memorable sight. This is mixed into the character progression by having you unlock cars and clothes through missions, and let’s face it; higher level contacts have some incredible pieces of gear. This, apart from missions, is where most of APB’s fun will come from!
Can O’ Worm
Not everything is flowers and sunshines however. It doesn’t take more than a few matches to realize that the matchmaking system is out for your head. To say that APB’s matchmaking is sometimes unfun is akin to saying that root canals are slightly disagreeable. It will match you up in the strangest ways, pitting your little team of two against a mega team of 6 players, and vice-versa, depending on your skill level. You will sometimes be matched with players far above, or far below your ability, and let me tell you that some people in APB play like they were born for this. That’s not all however; the matchmaking system isn’t done with you when you’re down. Every now and then it’ll throw your way a specific mission type that will make you rage, the infamous “Run Away” mission, and its ugly step-sister, the “Run Away VIP” variant. This essentially broken mission type has one side take down X members of the enemy’s team, usually about 8, in order to complete the mission. The problem here is that you have about 4 minutes to score 8 kills on players that are racing to different corners of the city. The only certainty on this mission type is that the runners almost always win.
Sixty Bucks for WHAT!?
The cash store here lets you purchase GamersFirst points that are afterwards used to buy just about anything within APB: Reloaded. This ranges from cars, to guns, to clothes, and even decals for your car. The prime product as of the writing of this review is the premium subscription which gives you, for one, a discount on the cash store products, and unlocks a range of things like character slots, or new decal spaces on your cars. Doesn’t seem too bad so far, right? Well as of now, the price for a permanent gun (buying weapons with in-game money gives them a 10 days expiration limit), is 60$ USD. You’ve read right; it costs the price of a full-fledged game to buy a weapon that does not expire within 10 days. Other than that, the store items for the most part give paying customers significant advantages, including boosted up versions of their favorite toys, with guns that are sure to make their opponents roar in rage over VoIP. Nothing out of the ordinary here, other than awkwardly high prices. Don’t let that discourage you however.
Final Verdict: Excellent
Barring these flaws, APB: Reloaded could use some more content, and it has its share of bugs, but this is to be expected at release. It’s come a long way, and while its first run was ill-fated, this time it seems like gold has been struck (at least considering its recent popularity). Its intense gameplay and incredible customization is sure to keep you latched to your screen for hours on end in order to get that next piece of garb or prized weapon mod. APB: Reloaded is basically full price quality in a free-to-play context, which means you get a high production value game for the bargain price of; free! So grab your keys, put on your leather jacket, and take a chance on the streets of San Paro!
APB Reloaded Requirements
OS: Windows Vista / Windows 7
CPU: Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 15 GB Free
Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce 7800
OS: Windows Windows 7
CPU: Core 2 Quad Q8600 2.6 GHz or better
RAM: 6 GB or more
HDD: 20 GB or more
Graphics Card: GeForce 8600GT or better
APB: Reloaded Articles
- APB Reloaded: ‘Open Conflict’ update now available - Posted on July 30, 2014
Reloaded Games today announced the launch of “release 17” of APB Reloaded, a top Free2Play® online action game featuring unparalleled character and car customization.
- MMO Valentine’s Event Guide 2014 - Posted on February 13, 2014
MMOs from A to Z are celebrating Valentine's this year. Check in OnRPG and MMOHut's guide for the latest V-Day events!
- Shotgun News 12/5: APB, Black Gold, LoL, and Much More! - Posted on December 5, 2013
A daily look at MMO news.
- Shotgun News 11/25: Trove, EVE, Child’s Play, and More! - Posted on November 25, 2013
A daily dose of news from the MMO industry
- APB Vendetta Revealed at GDC - Posted on March 27, 2013
Reloaded Productions Unveils Multiplayer Persistent Arena FPS APB Vendetta™ at Game Developers Conference