Imagine Grand Theft Auto with 100 or less players running around (with more across multiple instances). Now you have a pretty accurate image of what All Points Bulletin looks and plays like.
APB has a bit of a rocky past. In September of 2010 Realtime Worlds announced the shutdown of APB. On November 11th K2 Network purchased the game. The game then saw a relaunch as All Points Bulletin: Reloaded opened during the first half of 2011 under a free-to-play model.
There aren’t a lot of first/third-person shooters out there similar to APB. Those that have existed either didn’t last long or were not received well. Remember Tabula Rasa? It was shut down on February 28th 2009. Fallen Earth is still live but not doing so well and will be free-to-play in the undetermined future.
When creating your character you choose either an Enforcer or a Criminal. As a criminal (when not doing missions) you’re able to mug NPC civilians and steal merchandise or cars to turn in to a fence or chop shop. You accumulate money as you steal cars or mug people so you will have to be careful and launder the money before you lose it. There is a feature much like GTA’s wanted system (called notoriety) that increases as you commit criminal acts which will decrease over time. As your notoriety increases an Enforcer can witness your crime and may be able to attack you.
Missions are the real “point” of the game. There aren’t a lot of different missions available but the game manages to stay interesting with all of it’s “open world” nuances as you do them. Missions are random with multiple objectives and locations. The low number of missions available in the game isn’t as much of a turn off as you might imagine. They are still fun because you never know what’s going to happen.
Hackers, Cheaters and Negatives
The largest problem is the rampant hacking. The problem is present with such severity (especially at higher ranks) that it could be (and probably should be) considered a game killer. Even I was recently accused of aimbotting when I was on a roll with a small kill streak. Players are so accustomed to legitimate and rampant hacking that they assume that they are facing a hacker when lag causes their shots to fall off target. All that you can really do is deal with it, not play the game or refuse to participate in missions with cheaters.
The developers claim to remove players from time to time but in reality it’s a cop-out and total bullshit. You can not combat cheaters by waiting for players to report them and then taking the time (which you don’t have resources for) to “validate” those claims when the number of cheaters is extremely high.
Another strike is the “pay to win” gaming. You can just buy the best weapons in the game which (contrary to what a lot of fans will tell you) does make the game extremely easy against those with lesser weapons. Not to mention the trash talking and immaturity far exceeds and rivals that of what you expect in World of Warcraft barrens chat.
The Redeeming Factors
There are a plethora of ways to customize your character, wardrobe and car in this game. As you play you unlock new weapons, cars, shapes, decals, tattoos and other items. Players can design decals for your cars, clothes and tattoos and sell them on the marketplace. Simply driving around and goofing off can be pretty entertaining. The combat is extremely fun when you’re not getting killed by the all too often aimbotter or wall hacker. If not for the drawbacks, this games very interesting and refreshing features and gameplay could have made it a success.
Like many games if you can manage to avoid the griefers and hackers the game is a blast. At times you will just have to log off and get away for a while and let the children play.