APB showed up on my radar a few days ago and hasn’t left room for anything else since. While the original APB died under the weight of a pathetic management team and lack of funds, its rebirth is something of a statement on how popular the concept as a whole is. While it’s not a traditional MMO in that it doesn’t have RPG elements such as ridiculous quests to scalp twelve dogs or something, it does have a bit of an RPG feel in regards to unlocking bigger and better toys, but is otherwise a chance to run around and just do whatever you want.
The gameplay resembles something from the Grand Theft Auto series though without the annoying minigames. You choose to play either a criminal or enforcer, and from there you go on missions to earn rankings with your contacts and money for new guns, but there’s also a few elements that make it stand out. As self-aware beings, the enforcers can instigate missions when they spot a criminal conducting a crime, making it a mad-dash for home if you want to keep your loot. The criminals have an easier time making money, what with being able to smash store fronts with cars and carry off loot by the van-load, the enforcers do seem to have a slight edge on combat, meaning it’s easier to pounce on unsuspecting crims and cash in on their hard work. It’s an element that works well in most cases.
The biggest downsides for free to play characters has to be the time limits on guns. Even the most expensive guns come with limits on how long you can use them, so if you have a gun you really really like, better have enough money to pay for it at the end of your limit, though granted it does usually take 10 days for the weapons to expire. Ammo is ridiculously cheap and easy to come by from vending machines scattered everywhere, and vehicles are in such abundance that it’s only the option to customize your car that keeps you coming back for more. And that customization is insane. Everything on the car can be painted and decorated in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to find a real limit, short of the imposed limit placed on free players by the server. A plain car can suddenly take on the appearance of a legitimate police car thanks to the magic of carefully placed logos, decals and paint.
All in all, if you liked Grand Theft Auto and really want to have fun in an over-the-top world full of guns, girls, explosions and enough testosterone to fuel half of China, then APB is a safe bet. The expiration on weapons and grinding to earn money and rank do get a bit repetitive, but the thrill of hitting a ramp to land on a criminal only to jump out and open fire on a van full of his team mates more than makes up for it.