admit, when APB
was canceled by Realtime Worlds, I was disappointed. I wouldn't say the
game was a must-play to any extent, but I did have enough fun with it
that I was sorry to see it go. I did have some major gripes about it,
though, as did the rest of the community.
So, when GamersFirst announced that they had acquired the rights to the
game and would be bringing it back with APB: Reloaded
my first instinct was one of caution. It frankly wasn't fun to step
into the streets and get gunned down in seconds by players who were 50
levels higher than you. It was frustrating to chase someone down on the
streets, filling them full of lead from your gun, hitting them 50 or 60
times without their health going down much, if at all; and then having
them turn around and kill you with a single shot. These things were not
cool, and I was praying that GamersFirst would address those issues.
Well, they have. That, and more, as I saw at GDC this year.
The first thing I noticed with my hands on with the new iteration of
the game was how much vehicle handling had improved. In the old version
of the game it was a bit tricky to control your car without it skidding
everywhere or even toppling over. And while this may still be the case
with some of the top end cars, most of the cars are much easier to
control now. Additionally the player starting car is a very solid
vehicle that will not roll easily. Its control is grounded and
responsive and its speed and acceleration are potent. This is all good
stuff as it's counter intuitive to give players the hardest experience
they'll get in game right at the beginning.
Similarly the newbie weapons have had their power increased. This was
in attempt to bridge some of that gap which would allow players who had
lived in the game to instantly kill any new player that appeared. Along
these lines the damage calculation has been modified which allow more
damage in smaller more concentrated bursts. The longer the spray of
fire, the less accurate it will be, and the less damage it will do.
This allows for more tactical play. All weapons now have a 100m range
which allows an even battlefield when players face-off with eachother.
Should players stay within that 100m range their accuracy is 100%.
Should they exceed the range their accuracy begins to decrease, making
it possible to exceed the range but it will take skill and timing to do
well from beyond 100m.
Character progression is much more easy to understand now. Players will
be able to view roles without any hidden unlockable arbitrary
achievements. In addition, as players use a pistol, for example, their
gunslinger role will increase and eventually unlock a pistol with a
customization slot. All roles work the same way--comprehensive and
logical with a slotted weapon reward.
So what about the free-to-play model? GamersFirst is adopting a mixed
subscription and free-to-play approach for APB: Reloaded
Premium members will of course get full access to all features. Free
players will be locked to specific character models, roles, and limited
vehicle customization. They will be able to only add 25 layers to their
vehicle customization whereas premium members will have 100 layers to
work with for decals, symbols, typeface and the like. The
music studio will be free, but GamersFirst is considering adding some
optional instruments in the store.
One of the more exciting changes to the game is the integration of
vehicle races. That's right; there will now be actual racing in the
game, complete with potential unlocking of off-road racing. This seemed
like a fairly obvious feature but was never included in the original
title. GamersFirst is going all out to include it in Reloaded
and offer several race events for players to participate in. The races
will first be simple time trials, but head-to-head will be added a bit
Witnessing has changed too. In the old game if a criminal was caught in
a crime they would be hunted down by the enforcers. It was a pretty
lop-sided battle. In the new system for every crime a criminal is seen
doing, their heat will increase. Once they reach a certain heat level,
they will be able to go on a special mission to capture some loot and
bring it back to a fence. However, at this point enforcers will see the
criminals with loot, and it will be their mission to take the loot from
them and bring it back to their precinct as evidence. Conversely, when
an enforcer has loot they can be hunted by criminals to take that loot
and bring it back to a fence. It's a much more balanced system that
will bring meaningful PvP to both sides.
The worry of severe outmatched gameplay will be much less of a worry in
There are 3 "servers" or instances where players will automatically be
placed. One for beginners, one for intermediate players, and one for
advanced. So no more will you see level 99s farming level 2s. Hoorah!
Finally, for the really really cool part. If you have played the game
before, you will have a chance to restore your character on Reloaded
Your progress and vehicles will not be restored, but you can restore
your character name, appearance, symbols, costumes and music. This is a
huge boon for many of us who have spent many hours on character
customization before the game had been canceled.
Everything about APB: Reloaded
has me excited to log in again. All of my old gripes have been
addressed and new cool things are being added. This certainly is
shaping up to be the APB
that should have launched and GamersFirst seems to have a proper grasp
on what players want in APB