APB: Reloaded Hands-On Impressions -- First Rule About Fight Club...By Stephen Johnson - Posted Nov 23, 2011
Like pro-baseball players, video games seek their own level. While APB launched in the "majors" with great hype as a boxed, subscription based MMO, that didn’t work out so well, so it was cut from the pros, but is seeing new life in AA farm status (i.e. Free-to-play). Far from a loser, APB: Reloaded aims for all-star status in its new league.
This is a new APB, hence the “Reloaded” moniker. The game was rescued from its original launch by GamersFirst, who are showing the game the attention it needed from the beginning. Right now, APB: Reloaded is in beta, but a proper launch is planned for December.
“All of the changes that we made are geared toward lowering the barrier to entry,” explained Darek Connole from Gamersfirst. The idea is to take out some of the harder-core RPG elements in favor of a more action-tastic approach. “We found that the direction we needed to go was to lean more toward the shooter side,” Connole added.
Gamersfirst is already re-tooling some of APB’s multiplayer modes, including adding a new mode called “Fight Club,” where two teams (Enforcers vs. Criminals) fight it out in a directed, team deathmatch style. It’s close-quarters, tactical combat, either 5-on-5 or 10-on-10, geared toward the more casual gamer. The idea is to create a more visceral experience in APB: Reloaded; less complications and more action.
There will be two maps in Fight Club; one is a shipyard, a more open map with cargo containers designed to encourage sprawling showdowns, and a second map that is more of a closed up, vertical environment, specifically, a half-built skyscraper full of tight passages and whatnot where one team starts on the top floor and the other starts in the lobby and both work their way to the middle floors to battle–think Die Hard.
Fight Club is meant to be the most pick up and play mode yet for APB. “For someone who has a half hour to game, Fight Club is perfect,” Connole said. Fight Club is planned for release with the re-launch of the game before the new year.
Fight Club isn’t the only new addition coming to APB: Reloaded. Over the next six months, expect a lot of new content; Gamersfirst said only a quarter of the game they have planned will exist when APB launches.
After Fight Club, look out for the addition of new clan warfare modes, bank heists (which take APB’s current witnessing gameplay to new levels) and some new districts, including a new racing district. Gamersfirst has improved APB’s vehicles enough to warrant an entire district full of Split/Second-style destructible tracks and other surprises—like APB meets Deathrace 2000, which sounds like a ton of fun.
While I didn’t get to play any of Reloaded’s new modes, I did check out the beta’s a bit, tooling around in a variety of souped-up cars in open world. I was impressed both by the handling of the vehicles and the feel of the game. Driving is obviously a huge part of APB, and the cars have been noticeably streamlined and improved with the goal of making behind-the-wheel sections on par with arcade games. The cars handle well, especially for an online game, with different families of vehicles performing the way you might expect—sports cars are zippy and responsive, where vans and other larger vehicles are sluggish but tough.
It might still be inherently rough around the edges, APB: Reloaded looks to wrong the rights of the first iteration in pretty much every way possible. Whether those efforts will be recognized in the form of a substantial online community remains to be seen, but if ever there was a time for curious types to jump into the open-world mayhem of APB, it might just be now.