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All Points Bulletin: Reloaded Review

Updated Tue, Jan 10, 2012 by Stow

It has been over a year since All Points Bulletin and Realtime Worlds closed their doors, but thankfully that wasn’t the end of the game thanks to All Points Bulletin: Reloaded and GamersFirst. Recently fresh out of beta, APB: Reloaded attempts to fix all of the faults that caused the game not to last past the first three months while supplying new and fresh content. Is that enough to fix a game with one of the shortest lifespans in MMOG history or is APB doomed from the start?

Cautions

APB: Reloaded makes the use of user generated content and voice chat. While it’s not the wild west of allowing free content, you can find profane subject matter rather easily. That’s on top of a game rated M (Mature 17+) for a laundry list of reasons (Blood, Drug References, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, and Violence). So this is defiantly not one for the kids.

Gameplay

70Okay

The basic game plays as follows. It’s a story of cops (Enforcers) and robbers (the aptly named Criminals) in an all-out war in San Paro. It’s an MMO with a Grand Theft Auto like experience complete with cars, guns, and dynamic missions. Players pick their side and are given tasks to complete that either involve them breaking or enforcing the law while other players are dispatched to stop them. Criminals may be asked to steal something valuable while Enforcers would be tasked to prevent them from doing so at all costs. The auto-grouping system places players together to try and coax them into working together while an “ask for backup” system allows players to beg for additional help should the teams unbalance themselves. Oh, don’t forget the full character customization suite (and when I say suite, I mean it, we’re talking car, body, music, clothes, and more) that is extraordinarily robust (and some players may find more exciting than trying to slay one another in mortal combat).

The game is fun and exciting, but some may opt to play the social game more than the actual combat.

APB:R is billed as a tactical shooter but there isn’t as much "tactical" as it is a fairly true-to-form MMO. There is a one size fits all hit box for characters meaning that there are no headshots (aka “skillshots”). So a sniper rifle does full damage if you blast someone in the head or in the torso. There also isn’t much to the combat beyond point at the enemy and click, and of course, upgrading your weapon.

There isn’t any fancy pantsy Warriors and Warlocks or Medics and Spies in APB:R. Instead you have access to all of the weapons in the game (as you unlock them and can only procure them for 10 days at a time) and that determines your effective damage/power. This lends the game to more skill versus “leveling up”, although you’ll find yourself coming to a gun fight with a pickle versus a bazooka when you first start, and will have to grind your way to that “balanced from start to finish” part.

As much as I rag on the combat, there are drastic improvements over the original game. Weapons deal more damage making fights take less time, servers are stable, and Punkbuster does a good job keeping the hackers at bay. Car physics has drastically improved too, although you’ll still want to upgrade your vehicle in order for it to not drive like an ice cream truck loaded down with grand pianos.

APB is also a game that rewards practice and involvement. Things can get hairy when you fight against even opponents not equipped with the starting pickle and the game can be a blast once you’ve gotten over the steep learning curve. Like how to avoid grenades, how to avoid people sneaking up on you, how to switch weapons, and other things the more experienced players will use against you. This isn’t a game to judge for the first hour or the first day, although you will die endlessly at the start until you get a better hold of the game and better weapons (at least the cucumber, squash, or above).

Of course, by the time you do become skilled, the lack of mission variation (or any variation at all) may have soured you on an otherwise alright game.

Graphics

65Average

One thing this game does not have going for it is its graphics. The only reason it gets a 65 instead of a 20 is that the free-to-play market has some of the worst games for graphics out there and APB:R is definitely one notch above them. That isn’t to say the game looks horrible. Nay, it just doesn’t look good. We’re talking pixelated buildings, generic graphics everywhere, and character models that look more Saints Row 2 than Call of Duty.

Explosions are rather showy, but are one of the quickest ways to find yourself at the respawn point.

You won’t go blind from playing, but you’re not going to write home about any gorgeous graphics here. The player created tags adorning the various vehicles help mix up the rather bland mudded out landscape. You can turn the settings up and the bloom filter, but that isn’t much either.

Sound

82Good

You’ll see a bright and shiny 80 there because the game would snag a 100 for simply allowing you to use your own music or stream from Last.fm if the police siren and horn did not exist. You’ll find that you’ll need these two tools to stop pedestrians from getting in your way (as an Enforcer) and will face drastic penalties should you run them over. Sadly, you’ll need to blare both and hope that the sound is annoying enough to make them flee out of your way.

Otherwise, most of the sound in the game comes from either the built in mixer studio, Last.fm, or your own hard drive and you can pick and choose your tunes as you ride through town. Should you be playing something that no one else has then Last.fm will attempt to match a similar song. Music aficionados can become their own virtual DJs in the social districts by blaring their own custom made tunes for the general populace, providing a neat audio related gameplay experience.

This is a fair review of the game.

The music and customization are surely better in this game than any I've ever played before. You can pretty much customize everything and create your own designs to put on your clothes, car, etc. The music is your own. So, if I wanna mash through the streets ram-raiding while bumping Get Rich or Die Tryin', I can and other people can hear it.

The hitbox is ridiculous, and there are still a few hackers playing but nothing compared to the original APB where Realtime Worlds was going down the toilet so they didn't even bother to moderate their whelp of a game. The hackers are fairly easy to avoid though, because you can just switch instances or go to a different district. One thing that really frustrates a lot of new players is that they come into this game thinking it's battlefield or call of duty. This game has a lot of recoil and spread in its guns, an you should almost never floor the trigger. You'll get used to firing single shots or bursts, well-aimed shots and bursts that is.

The matchmaking seems better now, it was crap in beta and crap in the original. It's pretty decent during the weekends and peak hours of weekdays, but depending on your server it can be annoying during the hours the server is less populated. You might be constantly matched against a hacker or a group who is simply better than your group repeatedly.

Graphics aren't bad at all. The landscape could use some work, but the characters look pretty good. If we're comparing them solely to MMOs, then they're definitely deserving of a better score than given above. The graphics are comparable to Aion and a little better than say Age of Conans graphics.

Still, overall I'd say the game deserves a 70 at best because having the best customization and music of any game out (that I've ever played) don't make up for the poor matchmaking system and crappy hitbox.

A lot of hackers, we had this game since it first came out. We bought the game and the new staff is useless. You need a lot of money to play this and it is just getting worse. It could of been a great game if they balanced it well and got rid of the hackers. After spending a lot of money, the game crashed and we were not able to go back in, the APB staff instead of trying to help our issue... like they say they will, basically told us to f*** off. Before the crash we bought premium the day before and they said oh well too bad. F this game!

The hacker problem exists but I do agree with the review that it's not as big as people think. On a good 4 hour run you may run in 1 or 2 cheaters or even less. Depends on server/time of day but overall not too bad. Still sucks when you do encounter them though.

Graphis and animations are great, don't know what the problem is there, the buildings may be a bit bland I agree, but the characters and their animations are great, more detailed and realistic than swtor ones for sure.

Tough learning curve initially, but hang in there and it will be a blast. Best f2p out there imo despite its flaws

Do you not have a real computer to say that the graphics in this game suck? Another reason this review is bs is stated in this line.

"character models that look more Saints Row 2 than Call of Duty."

-_______-

So your grand view of the greatest gaming graphics in the WORLD comes from the Call of Duty franchise...for all i know CoD's graphics are bland and pixelated and they havent changed their engine for at least the past 5 games they've made...

Absolutely this game has many flaws but it literally just came out of beta, and is soooo much better than most MMORPGS out their these days.

never playd the game but it looks badass:)

As with any game, play in pick up groups and your multiplayer experience is going to be poor. Get yourself in a clan and in a clan group and it's an entirely different ball game.

Had it not been, and still existing, rampant hacking, I would have lived in this game. The potential was enormous. Unfortunately, the ego of many gamers is so fragile that cheating was the only way for them to feel good about themselves and nearly cost the game its life. I am glad APB is still around and I pop in from time to time but things have not really changed. Hacking is still a major issue and now with a HUGE real money price tag placed on everything I do not forsee ever returning. It costs around $60... (the price of an entire game!) to be able to keep a gun on one character permenantly. Otherwise you have to grind for in game cash to 'rent' an often sub-par version that if you don't play all the time is gone before you can use it a second time. I am a casual gamer now that I am older and can only usually play on the weekends. Buy a gun and if you cannot play again until next weekend you got to use it twice. The game is absolutely not casual friendly. It is a game for people with a lot of time, a lot of money, and in some cases very small opinions of themselves that is unfortunately only soved by cheating. Don't mention this anywhere near the official forums though. You will be immediately set upon by folks insisting that their baby is a good kid and only one or two people hack. It 'must' be that everyone needs to lern2play. But such is life. I will continue to follow it. For the moment I am enjoying my pseudo 'cop' life in Brink. :)

Gameplay: Understandable since 18 year olds are obviously dumb as dirt these days.
Sound: Understandable, but definitely richer than most games similar to it.
Multiplayer: Understandable because Matchmaking is broken
Value: Okay.
Lasting Appeal: Understandable

Graphics: If you have a shit computer and you're reviewing APB, just gtfo. 80/100 at the least in comparison to all the shit that is out their now.

Overall: 80/100

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