Published on July 27th, 2010 | by prime1
APB – Review
Summary: Realtime Worlds has created a game unlike any other, and it’s worth experiencing
Five years is a long time in game development, and when it’s for a game spearheaded by the original creator of the GTA series, it’s to be expected that many gamers may predict the dawn of a new age when your anticipated product is finally released. Unsurprisingly, APB isn’t the diamond descended from heaven which so many people were hoping for, but that doesn’t make it any less of an enjoyable online open world actioner.
APB is a PVP-oriented online experience where gamers can align themselves with one of two factions – Criminals or Enforcers. These two forces must then go at it, for the good of a rather boring setting of San Paro, split into three different areas, there’s the two action zones, Waterfront and Financial, where missions are carried out and battles are fought, and the peaceful social area where players can design new outfits, car liveries, tattoos, music, and give their avatar some expensive plastic surgery. It reminded us of an edgier version of the Sims – if EALA let off the shackles and let players design anything they wanted to.
The heart of the game is in the action zones, where players for either team carry out missions for a handful of contacts scattered around the city. As objectives are met, opposing squads made up of real players will be dispatched against you, transforming the tepid ‘travel here, interact with this dynamic there’, to tyre-squealing, gun-blazing, all-out action. Teams can accommodate six players to take out opposing members and civilians but not other random players, which means that griefing potential is definitely dialed down considerably on the 80-player servers.
Most of the game time revolves around driving or shooting, the former of which is great fun, but the latter just feels too loose. Damage caused to other players isn’t communicated properly, so usually you’ll just pepper away until somebody rag dolls.
Perhaps the most puzzling element of APB is the payment structure, which offers players 50 hours of action zone play out of the box and more time can be purchased via a top-up fee. It’s bizarre because other than the PvP aspect, it’s really hard to excuse the additional cost of playing.
Realtime Worlds has created a game unlike any other, and it’s worth experiencing initially. There are some unforgettable moments to be had when teams work together – such as jumping off ramps to escape pursuers, or rolling into an ambush all-guns blazing. Viewed as a standard 50-hour experience, most players will get enjoy their time with APB until their time expires. As a standard third-person game, this online experience represents great throwaway fun, but when compared to the play-to-play heavyweights all vying for your cash, it lacks real depth.