Those who remember the original release of MMO action game All Points Bulletin (APB for short) probably remembers the way it...... well, let’s just say things didn’t go well for the game. As a result of the original title’s troubles, Gamersfirst has taken control and is listening to input from the playerbase to turn it into a more playable form.
APB: Reloaded, currently in beta, is the rerelease of the original title, only taking on several changes in the way the game is run. Most notable of these is the fact that it’s now a F2P title. During my adventures at E3, I was able to get some playtime with the game and check out how it was coming along. I have to say, I was fairly impressed with what I saw.
The game follows the same Cops and Robbers kind of gameplay that the original took. However, various improvements have already been implemented into the game’s formula. Combat is relatively easy to pick up, and once you familiarize yourself with the controls, shooting people is as easy as clicking the left mouse button. Driving is also fairly simple to get the hang of, providing you don’t just drive like a complete maniac, and vehicles even handle differently depending on what you're controlling. Key locations are marked on your screen and are easy to spot, making the only minor burden the trip to your destination (at least, without getting shot at).
The same anti-griefing system is still in place, and those that aren’t involved in your mission can’t actively hurt you. However, they can still do indirect actions, such as blocking your path with vehicles. A clever criminal or enforcer, on the other hand, will use these trolling attempts to their advantage. During a firefight, I myself had a random car drive right in front of me and crashing into a wall. Using that same car as cover, I was able to pin down my target and get him to where I could run up and grab an easy kill.
One of the things I found interesting is the number of things you can do in the game outside of shooting people in the face. The developers have included options for players to make their own merchandise for use in the game itself. This includes clothes, decals, artwork, and even music. Yep, you can now create your own music files. While you're limited to 8 bit formats, you can essentially make whatever you want, and then sell your work to the highest bidder. Even better, if you set the custom music to play for specific actions, other people can hear it too. If you have something such as Guile’s Theme set to play whenever you get a frag, then your opponents will be forced to listen to it every time they meet an end by your hands. (Yes, there are actually already Guile’s Theme tracks in the game already, along with other meme related soundbites.)
The level of customization also extends to one’s own clothing, their cars, your avatar, and even to buildings. If you have the funds, you can rent out a humongous poster within the neutral city, which you can then post a piece of art, a logo, or whatever else you wish, and it’ll be there for all to see.
So far, the game is shaping up to be a huge improvement over the original, so much so that it seems like a completely different product. The question is, though, is will it be enough to win back an audience? Hop onto the beta and see for yourself.