APB: Reloaded Hands-On Preview
A detailed preview of the revitalized All Points Bulletin action game from Realtime Worlds.
Calling All Enforcers...And Criminals
GamersFirst has taken over the rather heavy reigns from Realtime Worlds’ highly ambitious actoin game, All Points Bulletin. In the original review, the game received rather poor scores last year when it was released full of bugs, graphics issues and generally an overall presentation full of poor performance. Nevertheless, the game contained some of the most unique and underutilized potential the gaming industry has ever seen: the very idea that the game is a quest-based, PvP, cops versus robbers, open-world action title speaks volumes and moreover most gamers saw it as an MMO version of Grand Theft Auto. Well, a few months after its release All Points Bulletin was shut down.
The good news is that the very month it shut down GamersFirst was already looking into ways of reviving the highly original action-shooter but ran into a few roadblocks when they couldn’t entirely recover the studio behind the game, Realtime Worlds. The developers went into administration and laid off a lot of non-key members. After a long legal struggle and a few compromises, GamersFirst (under the parent company of K2 Networks) announced that they were officially reviving All Points Bulletin under its new moniker, APB: Reloaded. Find out how the new and improved version of the game plays out as well as what sort of changes and alterations have been made to the game for it to fit into the new free-to-play MMO genre, in this APB: Reloaded preview.
Same Maps, New Ways To Play
Gamers who played the original All Points Bulletin from RTW may have recognized that the entire mission structure of the game was a bit all over the place when it was first released; Enforcers were just kind of running around trying to take down perps and Criminals were a chaotic force of uncontrolled mayhem. A lot of the missions were varied but similar in the original game. With GamersFirst, however, the mission structures seem to have undergone slight modifications…requiring a buildup to more challenging tasks as opposed to throwing all the mission types at players from the very get-go.
The buildup of newer missions in the GamersFirst edition of APB sort of means that players will have a ton of repetitive missions from the early goings of the game. It definitely makes sense to add layers to the questing in the game in order to give higher level players something varied to do. If they can manage to add a few more mission varieties after open beta then I can see this game going very far in terms of longevity and addiction.
Level-Based Weapons And Vehicles
In the original APB players simply had to pledge to an NPC quest-giver and acquire the necessary funds to buy new vehicles and weapon upgrades. It was pretty easy for players to grind out the funds they needed to buy whatever weapon they needed early on in the game which really did hamper a sense of progression and tiered levels of play.
GamersFirst has alternatively restructured a lot of game’s items, weapons, clothes, customization tools, music tools and vehicle acquisition by adding a hierarchical leveling and progression system so players have to be a little more cognitive about which NPC they pledge to in order to unlock specific weapons and items. This also means that not just any and every player teams together but players who are pledged to specific NPCs are the ones who need to team up in order to earn new unlocks.
Fixed Vehicle Controls
One of the biggest complaints from just about anyone with an ounce of common sense and a history of playing 3D games that allowed for operable vehicles, was that All Points Bulletin had some of the worst vehicle handling, controls and response timing in the history of 3D games. As bold a complaint as that might seem, it rang true enough for GamersFirst to ensure that the vehicles were completely reworked and redone when it came to physics, turning, cornering and even speed and acceleration. There’s a huge difference now in playing the game and how many of the vehicles operate. And it's all for the better, I might add.
For the most part every car has its own pros and cons. Some vehicles are perfect for team getaways, allowing for up to four players to buddy up inside but may lack speed or handling. Other cars can take a ton of punishment but suffer from acceleration, while other vehicles are extremely fast but are only two seaters and can’t withstand a lot of gunfire or explosives. The balance seems to be evenly matched out for all the vehicles in the game. All they need now are motorcycles *fingers crossed*
Freemium Vs Premium
In the previous release of Realtime Worlds’ rendition of All Points Bulletin, the game was pay-per-play. In other words, you paid for time within the action districts and after you used that time up you were stuck with only being able to go into the social district. Well, GamersFirst has reversed that into a free-to-play with premium content available for those willing to lay down some sweet, sweet dollar bills for additional in-game content and goodies.
The entire game can be played for free, which is a major plus for anyone who may not be convinced to put a lot of their money into something that may or may not be to their liking. The optional premium content allows players to further enhance their character, theme music, vehicles and gain access to certain rent-worthy weapons. For the most part the premium content is associated mostly with cosmetics, which is kind of cool because it enables paying players to express a different kind of creativity, which will more than likely get F2P gamers to invest a little extra as well to look just as cool.
So far the game is shaping up to be very fun with minor balance issues here and there that still need to be worked out and tweaked. Otherwise, APB: Reloaded could be one of the most unique and fun-filled free-to-play MMOs ever released.
For a list of more online action games, be sure to check out Bright Hub’s MMO Action Game Directory.