APB Reloaded and Free To Play

I first tried APB during their beta back in early 2010.  Before I invoke any rage in regards to using a beta as a demo, I’ll point out that I do report bugs if they come up, fill out surveys, and so on.. but I also get an idea of whether I’ll want to buy the game at launch too.

While I thought the concept, missions, and free-roam activities were fun, the lag during driving and combat was often painful.. when it hit, I had single figure FPS, and buildings only appearing while passing them.  Some weapons seemed to be overpowered: the Enforcers’ stun gun appeared to only need line of sight to completely incapacitate a Criminal, which meant inevitable arrest if you were playing without a group.  Whether this was due to a combination of lag, player skill or the current settings for the weapon.. it felt overpowered and made me want to avoid the combat without the backup of friends.. though once I did get a friend to play with in the game, we often ended up driving or ram-raiding 🙂

APB didn’t last long once finally launched.. Realtime Worlds went into administration and the game servers were shut down.  However, the game was picked up by GamersFirst, dusted off and given a bit of love, and APB: Reloaded arrived.. and it’s now free to play on Steam!

Like last time, the Criminals appealed more than the Enforcers, and fortunately my friends thought the same.  A life of crime.. robberies, ram-raids and muggings.. and fighting the Enforcers 🙂

Starting off in San Paro requires you to complete a short tutorial, which is a set of five missions within the Tutorial District.. no opposition is sent against you here, so you can concentrate on the job at hand without being crushed by good players!  The clothes you start off in were described to me as ridiculous and a crime against fashion.. so I quickly changed out of those into some very short shorts which I customised so they didn’t quite look so much like underpants 😉

I want to get the rather smart outfit I had back when we played in the beta.. but for now, this will do.

We ran through some missions.. shooting seems a lot better now there isn’t that horrendous lag, though driving is still very hit and miss.. more hit, really.. turning is controlled by your movement keys, with the assistance of a handbrake.  While in any Mission District, you’re open to attack, so we watched each other’s backs during missions, keeping an eye out for any alert that an Enforcer was being dispatched against us.

As before, fights with the Enforcers lead to arrest or death, and subsequent respawn.  As missions have a few minutes to complete them in, there’s often enough time to get back to the objectives at hand, and sometimes still win it.. so it’s not over too quickly!

Later in the evening we were joined by another friend, so there were three of us completing missions.  This meant the nice little two-seater car was no good, and we had to upgrade to a van.. and while driving, it meant two of us able to lean out and shoot.

One of the things we loved last time around was ram-raiding, so we had to finish the evening up with a couple of vans and a tour of the shops!  Smaller items disappeared into our inventory, while larger ones have to be put into the back of the van.

We ended up with three vans at one point, but too much damage resulted in one blowing up in the road.. and my van caught fire as I ‘parked’ it near our contact.  Oops 😀

Stolen goods from ram-raiding or muggings can be taken to your contact or to a fence.  You do receive a payment there and then, but it doesn’t appear in your balance until you’ve also visited the Money Launderer.  I’m saving up for a nice outfit now, but later this money will be spent on nice looking cars with decent performance 😉

Changing clothes, your appearance and any logo design has to be done in the Social district, away from the missions and activity.  I’m not sure how I feel about this split.  It makes sense as you don’t want to be randomly selected as the target for an Enforcer’s mission while concentrating on designing a new outfit or applying decals to your car, but I think it’s rather a bind to load in to a whole new area just to put a new jacket on.

For now, this is how we look! 😀

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