APB First Impressions

I am a wee bit over-WoWed at the moment – meaning that I’ve only played for an hour or so in the last few days. Thankfully, I had DDO last night and All Points Bulletin for the last two days to occupy my time. Here’s some thoughts:

  • This game is fun.
  • I suck at it.
  • The client is slow-loading but performance is quite good (on max settings) after it does load. It looks pretty good as well – not the best-looking graphics I’ve ever seen, but very good for an MMO.
  • The feel of the place reminded me of City of Heroes, except that you can shoot the pedestrians.
  • The client is also not entirely stable. It’s crashed on me three times. But I’ve gotten a fair bit of gameplay in between the crashes. Vanguard this is not.
  • Gameplay is right out of GTA down to beating up people on the street, with one big multiplayer twist: the opposing faction can be called to oppose your mission.
  • The customization is top-notch. Not only in the charcter creator, which is the most felxible I’ve seen as far as allowing for different human body types and looks (i. e. not superheroes,) but in the symbol editor, which lets you assemble custom symbols that you can the use as tattoos, but on your car, the back of your jacket, and so on. It’s neat, and one could easily fiddle with it for hours.
  • The music editor is an utterly unique feature in an MMO, and it’s fun to play with as well. I liked it so much I ran down a similar music editor for Windows just to play with.
  • Content seems to be there, insofar as going after unlocks (gear, clothes, cars, weapons, etc.) goes. The missions are a bit samey, but opposing players helped keep things fresh. Did I mention I suck at it?
  • I’m not terribly clear on how the pricing model is going to work, but you’ll either pay a flat monthly fee of around $10 for unlimited play, or buy a block of hours. Not sure if there’ll be a retail box or an initial buy-in.
  • APB is worth checking out if you like GTA-style crime games.

3 responses to “APB First Impressions

  1. I gave APB a first try last night, and the one biggest frustration for me was that the vehicles are nearly impossible to control. The slightest tap left or right sends you weaving all over the road. I can’t find anywhere to adjust this sensitivity. Also, having to keep the forward button pressed to keep moving is also seriously annoying, though a bit of an FPS convention. Seriously, do all FPS developers think cars only go if you have the pedal to the floor all the time? Trying to regulate speed is a nightmare. I literally ran around all through one mission because it was easier to do a 500 meter dash than try to navigate the vehicle.

    Only did one opposed mission, but that was kind of fun. If the travel wasn’t such a nightmare it would have been much more fun. I did quite poorly for about 3/4 of the mission but blew up the car the crook was hiding behind and grabbed the stolen cash in the last few seconds of the mission, giving me the win.

    The camera perspective for shooting is not great. It would benefit from a full on “down the sights” mode like a regular FPS, rather than an over the shoulder near eye level camera. My own body blocked my view of the target a few times.

    Overall, first taste is enough to make me want to give it another try during the free beta, but I can’t see them coaxing me into paying for hours unless they clean up the vehicle controls in particular.

  2. See, I find all driving games to be like that, even ones played with a steering controller. I think it’s a matter of lacking the tactile feedback one expects when driving – the feel of the wheel resisting you. I can eventually get the hang of this (I did in Twisted Metal back in the day,) so APB’s controls didn’t stand out to me in this way.

  3. I do decently well driving, say, the Humvee in Battlefield 2. I’ll probably never be an expert at driving them, but I can manage to stay on the road usually unless I get really reckless. APB has ostensibly the same control scheme in terms of WASD, but there’s something wonky with it. I find it impossible to even drive in a straight line with this game. The slightest hint of a tap of a side arrow key and I’m slamming into buildings. Equally impossible is attempting to match speed with a line of traffic till you can get around it.