It has been a long time since I played APB: Reloaded and was keen to see how it has progressed.
My return wasn’t the most positive one at first. I’d lost all of my weapons with the 10 day expiration and only had a small amount of money left. Oh dear. My first few matches were all about getting used to the combat changes, vehicle handling and what not. I can’t really say whether the combat has improved or not. Its certainly a lot more flashy than the APB v1.0 days but compared to the final APB patch, well it seems like weapons have all been tweaked but ultimately its all much the same. Perhaps if I’d been more of a regular this would be easier to comment on. One thing I did notice though was the vehicles. Oh my fucking god they are horrible to drive now. Out of the games I played during my 24 hour marathon Crackdown was the clear winner, then GTA a bit behind (purely for being insane) followed some distance back by APB: Reloaded and GTA: Vice City… although which way round those two are I’m not sure. I used to love driving and on every opportunity would grab a car but on a few occassions I did think “fuck it, I’ll run”.
I think the big dampner on my opening session was that because 15 months ago I was reasonably decent at the game (despite not having too much fun then) and as a result my threat was reasonably high so I kept getting into tough matches against folk who were fully modded out. Not so fun. This is one of the issues that balancing has. We were usually a man up and combined statistics probably worked out fine but as it was usually just myself and randoms versus a bunch of guys who play together frequently we just got smashed tactically.
However I started to get better. I learned how to use the weapons and started to get a decent feel for the game again. My performances improved and was really enjoying the game. In a balanced fight with no upgrades and a good location & objective, APB is a fantastic game. It is high paced with a range of gameplay elements from driving to tactical assaults or just plain first to fire. On top of this you have the customisation. Unforunately I’ve not really unlocked a great deal of clothes, at least for the styles I usually go for, which is a bit frustrating. Obviously the game needs a long progression tree but perhaps more presets could help here to fill in the gaps. That said I’m earning fuck all money and standing, something the game is quite fond of reminding me.
Subscribing to be premium levels you up quicker and earns you more cash. On top of that you also get cheaper weapons from the Armas Marketplace (the pay-to-win store). If I do plan to play regularly I kind of feel that in order to compete its going to cost me quite a lot. Free to play barely balances your books and it’ll take a long, long time before you can afford a swanky vehicle. I feel bitter about it but I may subscribe and pay for permanent weapons. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to pay for games… it would be moronic to think that I’m entilted to things for free and I don’t mind paying for premium but the 10 day limit thing does really piss me off. Given my interest in creating indie games on top of other commitments, what happens if I don’t play for a while? As a paying player the game is still fucking me over.
Anyway, back to the game. My improved performances must have affected my threat because opponents got harder and for several missions in a row I found myself getting hammered. When I say myself, I did okay but my team… oh dear. I think I need some fiery jack for my back! I called it soon after, having for the most part actually enjoyed the game but found it could still be just as frustrating as ever.
So I should probably wrap this up. APB: Reloaded had some absolutely brilliant moments and at times it is one of the best gameplay experiences around. If you want to get the benefit of these great matches on a regular basis you probably want to group up with friends and make sure that you are always playing together. Otherwise if you’re a “lone wolf” then it really is a hit & miss game. Unfortunately though if you truly want to get the best out of the game then its gonna cost you a fucking fortune. Whilst I’d like to become a regular, subscribe and what not… no doubt what will happen is I’ll get distracted by something else (work, other game, holiday etc) then when I’m looking to return, all my weapons will be lost. At this point I’ll straight log back off and APB: Reloaded has lost itself a customer. In fact I’ll jump to the end straight away.