APB: Reloaded is essentially a lobby-based shooter. The lobby -- or social district, as it is called -- and the instanced battle arenas are massive places. While I livestreamed the game last week (you can watch the embedded video after the cut), someone accurately commented that watching it was like watching "GTA Online." I agree, but it's also so much more than that. Join me past the cut and I promise not to run you over.
(EDIT: I was able to order an APB: Reloaded box from Newegg.com for $7.99 USD which contains "over $50 value" like a permanent Magnum gun, a Cisco car, 500 G1 credits and 30 days of premium. I paid no shipping fees at all and received it within three days of ordering, but after this article went live.)
You can choose between two factions: Enforcers and Criminals. We all know that only cool people choose crims and dorks choose the cops, but the side you choose will affect the in-game missions you get and even some of the abilities you have access to. You can find a contact in game easily and can choose between playing solo or with open groups, and you'll be sent to break into cars, deliver "packages," spray paint walls, and any number of other fantastically evil things. Along the way you'll be pitted against the Enforcers, who act more like a group of heavy-handed vigilantes. The coppers can be just as ruthless as the criminals and can even arrest you in the middle of a crime. It's sort of like freezing you and placing cuffs on you, but one of your teammates can come along and break you out. Most of the time I was arrested (and that was a lot), I just sat there until the timer ran out and I respawned.
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The maps are very large, but after a while it's easy to become familiar with them. One of my favorite missions sends teams out to rescue an armored truck. One team grabs it, jumps in the driver's seat, and tries to keep it for as long as possible. Because the truck is massive, it can push its weight around easily. It will switch hands many times; the emphasis on vehicular combat makes me giggle every time. In fact, my main strategy in the game is never to be number one in kills or acheivements. Nope, there will always be someone better than I am at that. My favorite thing is to grab a car, drive around the goal area, run over enemies, and only pop out when I see a good place to hide and pick off the enemy with a sniper rifle. I also adore grenades even though I am sloppy with them. I'm working my way to a grenade launcher.
"Are there still cheaters or hackers or aim-botters in the game? Maybe. Possibly. Probably. The only thing I know is that occasionally I get in a good shot or two and occasionally so does my enemy."
The cash shop sells powerful weapons, cars, decorations... everything you could want is in there, and it's not cheap at all. The shop offers rentals and permanents, but I cannot stand to rent. Even though renting is in reality a pretty good deal, I'd rather own an item I buy online. Still, the shop also lets players "try out" certain cars and weapons, and let me tell you, there is no more powerful selling tool than that. I tried out a wickedly fast car from the shop and was amazed at how fun it was to drive. It turned like a miracle and was so fast that I almost plopped down the cash to buy it right then. Another player who jumped in the passenger seat exclaimed "Where did you get this car?!" After 30 minutes, it disappeared.
APB: Reloaded is one of those games that will just make you laugh out loud. I kept telling my wife, "Look at this! Did you see that shot I made? Whoa, look at how high that guy flipped!" before realizing that Doctor Who was much more important to her. Even she loved the game in the past thanks to its immensely creative tools, but I love the fact that the truly mean-spirited players appear to have left the game. What's left now are the ones who really want to have a good time or who really want to kill you. Both make for good opponents. Is there cheating going on in the game? Oh, I'm sure of it, but I'm also sure there's cheating in almost every PvP game out there.
The cash-shop prices can be ridiculous; there's no denying that. But I actually prefer a game to charge bold prices and deliver amazing toys like the car I borrowed. It needs to be pointed out that you'll pay the same amount for Guild Wars 2 or a copy of The Secret World that would get you a killer gun and car in APB: Reloaded. That's not a bad deal, at all.
GamersFirst and APB: Reloaded have been growing, even branching into a new title. I'd like to see a new open map or two soon, though, because the ones I played on over these last few weeks are the same ones I've played on since the beta. Other than that, get your gun, steal a car and watch out for cops. See you in the game!
MMOs are constantly changing, and our opinions can change with them. That's why we're here to give some beloved (or not) games a second (or third) look. Has that game that was a wreck at launch finally pulled itself together? How do the hits of yesteryear hold up today? That's what we're here to find out as Massively gets its Second Wind!