APB Reloaded Is Reloaded (Onto Steam)

By John Walker on December 7th, 2011 at 11:57 am.

Black veils all round.

It’s a strange sight, seeing APB back on Steam, a year after it went away. Of course this is the new version, brought back to life by K2 Networks, reinvented as a free-to-play game. Which as of today can now be played-for-free via Steam. So, you gonna?

And here’s a sweet thing – the image above is captured from the new version of the game’s opening video. Is it sweet? Or is it slightly creepy? I can’t decide. Cheers Craig.

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48 Comments »

  1. CLD says:

    Yes, i’m glad they brought it to Steam. Honestly, it should’ve been F2P since the beginning.

  2. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    What is it? The only APB I remember was “All Points Bulletin” which I think was a GTA 1-style game back in the 90s. Is this that?

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Um yeah, *checks the linked steam page*:

      The city of San Paro is a crime-ravaged metropolis in the midst of political upheaval. The introduction of the City Security Act has caused the creation of the Enforcers, licensed vigilantes who take to the streets in an effort to stop the Criminals where the Cops couldn’t. The Enforcer faction believes that it is a force for good; the Criminal faction believes that its city and freedom are under threat.

      But who has the right of it: Criminal or Enforcer?

      Your decision is to choose which of these two factions has your allegiance. In a fast paced PvP action game, you must fight for the survival of your chosen faction, gaining standing with several organisations along the way. In doing so, these organisations will provide you with new and exotic weapons, vehicles, and clothing that will not only change the way you play but will affect how cool you look and sound when doing it.

    • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

      It is, except it’s more like a GTA III style game and was originally released last year.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Honestly, I enjoyed the old All Points Bulletin arcade game from the 80′s more than the PC game 25 years later. It casts itself as a multiplayer GTA when in fact it’s just Counterstrike where every time you die you have to drive back to the arena. The controls are floaty and awful and it’s really not very much fun in my experience.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Yeah, its kind of GTA style MMO, but not really. At least, its not as good in execution as the concept sounds (if it sounds good to you, that is).

      It does, however, have some neat player created custom content tools, though. Logo designer utilities, custom paint jobs, and the like. Enjoyed my (admittedly short) time in those far more than the game itself.

    • kevmscotland says:

      the only good thing APB had going for it was the customisation youve mentioned, and that customisation isnt apart of the F2P model.
      Thats what the premium ‘paid’ service unlocks.
      So really, it might aswell not be F2P at all.

    • Hypatian says:

      Better to think of it as a semi-open world third-person tactical shooter, really. There’s not much “GTA-like” here. What you do have is a purely PvP game that’s a mix of driving to race to the next objective, identifying the best terrain to hold around the objective (either to defend it or to cover it while your team hits it), and shooting.

      That terrain choice thing is among the hardest problems for new players, by the way. Old hands (like me, I played back when it was released before) know pretty much every nook and cranny in the city, so when we get to a spot we know just the best places to set up. New players will take some time getting well enough used to the city to even be able to efficiently move from one part of it to another, much less to know all the tricks.

      On the other hand, though, that’s one of the more unique things about the game. While the objective-based gameplay is predominantly “go here, do this thing” or “carry this thing here, drop it off” (with a handful of “capture this item before the enemy does” or “hold this point”), the fact that the missions are all within the context of a larger city means that there’s always a little more room to adjust “outside” the area where people are engaging (falling back away from the fight and driving around to come in from a different direction, say), and there’s always a little more chaos introduced by other players outside your mission (somebody else’s car chase crossing the street right in front of yours).

      It’s definitely not a perfect game, but it’s still got a lot of fun and depth to it, if you can make it through the initial steep learning curve.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    I still have really mixed feelings about APB, I want it to be great, but in a few ways its the worst kind of game.

  4. Gonefornow says:

    Well, now that they made it soooooo easy to try it out..
    Why not.

    As for the second question.
    Yes definitely creepy.

  5. Ganj says:

    It’s quite a fun game, certainly the customisation is second to none, but there were quite a few issues with cheats when I last played. Since then I believe they’ve quashed a bunch of the more common ones and balanced the level of the people you play with and against – all they need to do now is fix the problems with crossfire on ATI cards and I’d be willing to give it some more time, (at least until TOR hits).

  6. Cyberpope says:

    well gosh its awfully tempting but, well, Saints Row…

    • Premium User Badge Sunjumper says:

      This, pretty much.

      I have been playing Saints Row 3 in co-op a lot lately and it is pretty much what I’d have wated APB to be like. We were driving around with our bespoke avatars wearing ther more or less silly clothes driving around in custom tuned and painted cars causing chaos and mayhem. (And pretending in our heads being enforcers)

    • sidhellfire says:

      And in APB it is actually even harder to pretend you’re law enforcer.

  7. Zealuu says:

    The whole F2P business has ruined most of the game even if it’s technically more sound now than it ever was before – car input lag reduced, certain cars now have weight (!), basic weapons are better balanced against one another, and so on.

    For all their promises that it wouldn’t be P2W, it is. Playing against people with bought guns/upgrades just isn’t very entertaining. Even the successful part of the game, the whole virtual dollhouse thing, suffers from the F2P model. Unlock progression is a straight grind and if you want to get really creative, you need to pay up to get access to more than 8 layers in the customizer. While on the subject of paying up – if you want to escape the hassle of constantly rebuying guns for in-game cash, their asking price for a single permanent gun is €50 (or at least it was a few weeks ago, when I last played). Not exactly micro, as far as transactions go.

    • Cyberpope says:

      thats cheaper than a real gun though so its quite reasonable

      space monocle anyone?

    • The Infamous Woodchuck says:

      and i thought Battlefield Play4free was bad enough

      and someone please tell me what the hell is a Hivemind Throbometer

    • BoZo says:

      That’s what I’ve heard about it, P2W is the devil.

      @Cyberpopre: How much for a real space monocle then?

    • Christian says:

      Here’s an interesting article I picked up on the D’toid-forums (in an article about Tetris going subscription):

      http://insertcredit.com/2011/09/22/who-killed-videogames-a-ghost-story/

      It’s a nice read about F2P (based mostly upon FarmVille-style games, but the same applies to all the others out there, basically..)

    • Cyberpope says:

      @BoZo about $1.5 billion

      http://space.about.com/od/telescopesandoptics/p/hubbleinfo.htm

      on a more serious note I did play APB for a time and ran into a lovely P2W gun thats completly silent and fires the bullets out in a straight line. I cant imagine people will put up with this kind of thing for very long
      As for the character creator Eve arguably does it better now (ignoring the space monocles) and by the look of it Guild Wars 2 is going down the same path with all its lovely sliders and haircuts

    • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

      @The Infamous Woodchuck

      It’s a device which measures the degree to which the hivemind is throbbing.

      0.672%. Barely noticable throbbing.

    • MadMatty says:

      @ Cyperpope

      Yeah, ive identified one of the P2W guns, as an silenced OCW- it has -50% recoil, and the range of an Assault rifle (despite the fact that a real silencer reduces effective range)

      I usually exit the game when i meet someone who paid for it ;)

    • Zealuu says:

      The price of permanent guns are indeed bordering space monocle territory, but at least you’re guaranteed to win with your magically silenced, no bullet spread, recoilless OCW with N-Tec range/damage and OCW RoF. I haven’t seen them charge for purely cosmetic stuff. Which strikes me as a little backwards, but then again, costumization is the meat of the game and so it probably makes sense for them to charge for the means to attain customization options (ie. guns) rather than for the customization options themselves …

      From a gameplay perspective they do deserve some credit for balancing the factions better – now that the ridiculous automatic bounty “missions” are gone, playing criminal isn’t a total hassle (and the PIG was nerfed to one shot per reload, thank god). The population for any given district is now usually somewhere between 50-50 and 60-40, as opposed to the constant 90-10 distribution in favour of enforcers towards the end of the beta; the 10 being a mix of diehards who wanted endless opposition, and hapless fresh players who thought that playing criminal sounded kinda fun, and subsequently discovered it wasn’t.

    • sneetch says:

      Where can you see the price list for this? I’m curious to see just how daft the prices are. (Charging the same as the RRP for a new game for a single gun seems insane!)

    • Hypatian says:

      I have one of the aforementioned magic silent space guns. Permanent, no less. I bought it during a promotion where you would get whatever cash you spent over a weekend back (basically, a two for the price of one deal), because I figured I was going to be paying for “premium” (to support them, because I like the game), and I wanted to see just how OP the gun is.

      Answer: a little OP, but not completely. I regularly lose to people who are using other weapons. The biggest annoyance is the silence, honestly. The reduced vertical recoil and longer effective range means the gun is more effective than an OCA at range—however, an equivalent OCA (sub-machine gun) or a shotgun will completely shred the user of a Whisper at close range, and an assault rifle will completely destroy the Whisper-user at long range. So it ends up being a great weapon, as long as you manage to engage SMGs and shotguns outside their range and rifles from inside their range.

      (I also regularly use other weapons, which are all available for in-game money. The Whisper is the only premium weapon I have, and I’d say it accounts for no more than 30% of my play time.)

      The silencer, though, is the thing that makes people feel just awful. It feels incredibly frustrating to get hit with it and die before you even know where the shots are coming from. I continue to think they should change that effect, because although I’m now able to react to the sound it took me a good solid month of playing against whispers before I could. And I wasn’t coming in wet behind the ears, either.

      I will note that it is entirely possible to be very very effective in this game with any of the weapons, including the “newbie” weapon, the STAR. While it feels really painful to get shot up by people with “better guns”, when you’re starting out it’s usually more the case that your opposition is simply more experienced than you. Yes, the higher priced guns (modifiable, with trade-offs) can give them a leg up as well—but I’m regularly slaughtered by re-rolling players with starter weapons.

      Short form: Yes, things like the Whisper feel terribly unfair, and I don’t think G1 should have included it in the game. On the other hand, it’s not nearly as unfair as it feels.

    • grundus says:

      ‘thats cheaper than a real gun though so its quite reasonable’

      Willing to bet that even with the recession you can buy an AK-47 for less than 50 euros. You can bet it’ll outlive this game, too.

      This has just gotten me thinking… Given that a lot of guns look like AK-47s and there are likely few people in the kinds of areas where AKs are widespread who know or care about the difference between, say, an AK-47 and AK-74, I wonder if you can pick up an RPK-74 for the price of an AK-47? Ok, so there are obvious differences there, but there are some slightly more subtle-looking variations out there.

  8. D3xter says:

    I started the download this morning before heading out after I checked Steam, never played it before and it doesn’t have long to surprise me though as SW: ToR is around the corner and likely starts mid next week xD

  9. Zarunil says:

    I loved APB on my Amiga back in the 90s. Can’t wait to try it on Steam!

  10. Gimmedacash says:

    The game is a blast! As far as the P2W guns go……you can counter any of the P2W guns with guns you get for free. Somebody mentioned the silenced OCA….well…you can counter that gun with a 2 slot OCA that you buy with in game money (money you get for completing tasks in game).

    The driving has improved drastically…but it also depends on which vehicle you drive. There’s one vehicle that looks bad ass but only if you drive in a straight line…if you want to turn the thing it’s like driving on ice! Yet there’s other cars that will take the corners like a champ.

    Anyway……There’s a bit of a learning curve to the game though and it’s not really fair to listen to those people that played it for 2 hours a month or 2 ago and decided it’s a pile of horse dung.

    I will say the guns you buy with real world money are over priced though….I refuse to pay for any of that rubbish!

  11. mondomau says:

    I bought and played this when RTW released it, it was terrible: Full of cheaters, hackers and spammers, terrible game design, boring missions, laggy driving, useless match-making, unbalanced upgrades. The customisation was unbelievably good though.

    Then downloaded it when it went ‘F2P’ – exactly the same, but you have to pay for the unfair upgrades aaaaannd the good bits of the customisation. So no, basically. I won’t be downloading it on steam and I strongly suggest others don’t waste their time either – at least when it was a pay model there would have been some chance of increased sub numbers equaling improved gameplay, but all the current mob give a shit about is monetisation.

    • Gimmedacash says:

      Sounds like you downloaded it when it went free to play…that was like…what 6 months ago? The game is NOT exactly like it was when RTW had it. Not for nothing but a lot has changed in the 6 months when it as released.

      I will say this….if you like a fast paced game…..you will enjoy this game. If you’re the type of player that likes a turn based combat type game….this ain’t for you.

      I would strongly suggest trying it though in it’s current state.

  12. Innovacious says:

    I put in over 100 hours to APB before it went bust (over 200 if you include the time i idled in designers to unlock stuff). I SHOULD have been happy about reloaded, but i wasn’t. I just couldn’t get the motivation to start again. A lot of that time was spent just making t-shirts and car designs. I made enough money in the marketplace to pay for a few more months of game time, more game time than the game actually had left even.

    With all the progress i had gone and all my designs gone i just couldn’t be bothered going back. Now that its on steam and its getting some more press again. I still think I’m happy enough without it.

  13. TODD says:

    APB is fun as hell every time I sit down to play it. I would not recommend it if you don’t have at least one friend to play with; due to the sprawling and complex maps and variety of vehicles and weapons, it can be the absolute best “tactical” multiplayer shooter, but the random players with whom you’re matched are often either pathetically stupid or outclass you so badly that YOU feel useless.

    Go Enforcer for the most varied playstyle: less-than-lethal weapons, while much more difficult to use effectively than the normal guns, allow an Enforcer to stun criminals before moving in for an arrest. You can also attempt to apprehend random players if you see them committing a crime. Overall the Enforcer is more difficult to play, since causing damage while driving and killing civilians both affect mission-end rewards.

    If you get tired of relatively structured PvP, you can spend hours and hours customizing cars and your character using APB’s amazingly robust designer, which is as much as part of the game as the shooty bits. And if you get tired of that, just hop in a dump truck and go to town.

  14. Karlix says:

    Sorry for the wall of text!

    So I feel the need to repost this here from the previous APB news-thingy just with slight adjustments as the game has been improved since then. Also @mondomau: I don’t know what game you were playing but it definitely wasn’t APB:R….

    First off – I am extremely biased. I have more than 1000h spent in the closed and open betas of GamersFirst, not counting the time I played the RTW closed beta and live of APB. I think that this game is still a gem – massively flawed but still unique and awesome. Also, I am a graphic designer. K, that’s the warning, here goes:

    PROS of the game:
    * One of the best character customisation suites I have seen in any game.
    * THE BEST visual customisation suite for clothes, cars and tattoos – you create the graphics on the clothes and cars with an ingame editor. I have seen nothing remotely close to this in any other title.
    * Nice open world, with many varied places, all of which can be accessed during the missions.
    * Awesome sound design – especially city ambient sounds
    * A very distinct and and high quality art style (note: art style, not graphics as such).
    * A wide choice of different vehicles and guns that for the most part do not overlap.
    * Unique combat mechanics / TPS.
    * PvP only.
    * F2P.

    CONS of the game:
    * Unique combat mechanics / TPS.
    * Open world.
    * Often biased/somewhat broken mission locations.
    * Repetitive missions.
    * PvP only.
    * Hackers.
    * Matchmaking.
    * F2P.
    * Steep learning curve, not helped by absence of good tutorials.

    K, so yeah – first off, it’s still a third person shooter. Because of this you can look around corners and you can be looking at the opposite direction to where your character is looking, making your character snap by 180 degrees when you start shooting. Because many people are not used to this, they often get steamrolled, which results in them quitting the game and throwing around hackusations left and right.

    That is not to say there are not many hackers. APB uses PB… Yeah. However the devs of APB have started to implement some very good anti hack measures. They already have rooted out almost all wall hacks. Aimbotters still roll new chars though, however after the last banwaves I have seen less and less hackers.

    Free 2 play sadly means it is a lot easier for the hackers to reroll new chars on new accounts. Overall the game is not purely Pay 2 Win after its transformation to F2P, however a few of the guns that are only available for cash do show signs on just being plain better, even if the difference is a slight one. Also the F2P players get a lot less money (which can be a pain, as all the guns are now leased, except some of the ones you buy with real cash) and get less contact rep (sort of XP) as well as less layers for customisation.

    There are many small tricks and weird things to the gun battles of APB, however when you get the grips with them they are all manageable and interesting to play with. However without any tutorials it is really hard for a new player to persist and learn them all. And here comes the big one: APB IS A TEAM GAME. IF YOU ARE NEW TO THE GAME DON’T PLAY IT ALONE. Only experienced players can do that well to some extent. Khem khem, I am looking at you, game reviewers. When all the harsh reviews came out about the first iteration, it seemed that most reviewers had been playing alone… A team of new randoms does not stand a chance against a smaller but well experienced team who are using dedicated voice coms.

    The missions are repetitive and more often than not they favour the defending side (which is chosen pretty much by chance), however a bit of variety is brought in by the fact that missions can happen in many places around the quite large districts so the same mission is rarely exactly the same twice in a row.

    The world is open (divided in instances). At max there are 50 enforcers and 50 crims on the instance. You can only shoot people on your mission, except if a person is doing extremely well and gets a bounty on his head. Then the whole opposing faction can kill that person (or on crims – everyone). However if you collide with a vehicle that is in another mission, you will still hit it, not go through, so sadly there are ways to grief.

    The developers are working in two new types of districts: turf wars and racing district. They sound promising, but they players haven’t seen or heard much about them yet.

    However they just added Fight club – it is a more deathmatch (or point hold) type of thing on smaller maps. You can jump in and out of these matches easily when you have just 20 mins to spare or want to unwind. The smaller maps also mean better performance on PCs that have problems with APB.

    The design bit is exceptional: you can create many different graphics so really rarely there are two characters or cars that look exactly the same. This is one of the selling points for me. The design part also is sort of like crafting in other MMOS. Designs are the main going thing on marketplaces. Also you can design death themes in a music creator. Here are a few of my creations as an example: Shameless Self Promo.

    The game runs on an extremely modified Unreal engine, so the performance is hit and miss, but it should be playable on an average gaming rig. The game itself doesn’t look spectacular but it also doesn’t look bad in any way (at least in my humble opinion). Sounds design is awesome for the most part though.

    Also some of the devs are quite communicative and receptive to ideas, complaints and comments, if they are worded politely enough. :)

    Overall it is a really unique game with many selling points but also many flaws and a hidden, steep learning curve. Also it can be stupidly fun when played with mates. A lot of ROFLCOPTER WTFBBQ moments to be had, not always because of the mission however, more because of the open world.

    If any of you want to try it and create the char on PATRIOT EU2 server, drop me a line and I will be more than happy to show you the ropes. Karlix is my crim char and nick on APB forums, Karlita is my enforcer. This invitation goes out to RPS writers too! :P

    Sorry for the wall of text!

  15. TODD says:

    I forgot the customizable kill music. My enforcer’s was a convincing Hawaii Five-O theme song.

  16. PodX140 says:

    I found APB to be one of the best tactical and organic games around, other problems ignored. I loved the idea of getting to a location to defend, quickly sizing up the area in a few seconds, then figuring out the best place to get to to ambush or attack the enemy. And attacking was the same. It really became a game of “Hm… I need to get protected, here’s how I think I’ll do it.” But it was an extremely organic style, I never felt like “Oh! This building and pile of boxes here was left by the developer as cover! I’ll use it!” I really felt like I was using the world to my advantage.

    I also managed to make a 16k bust as an enforcer. Fun times.

  17. manveruppd says:

    I think I may well get back into it, yes! :)

    Though I’m not too happy by the way they made customisation paid-for. I was happy paying for playtime and whiling away my spare hours making things/cars/clothes/theme tunes.

  18. Thunderkor says:

    I wanted to like this game so, so much. I played in the beta for the original, and I thought they had some elements of a really cool game in there. But the driving controls were the worst I’ve ever seen. I knew the game was going to tank on release, and it did so badly that it killed the developer. A real shame, that.

    So when it got resurrected and they claimed it was improved, I gave it a try – and nope, the driving controls are still ass. Some people say it’s only certain cars, but really every car I tried ranged from bad to terrible. The outside of the newbie bases look like some sort of post-apocolyptic auto graveyard, with wrecked cars piled up all around.

    I hate to say it but that’s enough to keep me from the game, in addition to the ridiculous P2W guns and exorbitant prices for pretty much anything. I had small doses of extreme fun while playing. Piling up in a car with some other guys and tearing through the city, having running gunfights in the streets with the opposing team, that’s all great fun. Until you get sick of the cars that turn like battleships sliding along greased up shuffleboard tables.

    • Karlix says:

      That is interesting, even though I am also a racing games fan I have never really had issues with the car handling, especially after the changes they did in Reloaded. And the car handling is miles better than in say GTA IV imho.

  19. TwwIX says:

    It’s still the same shitty game but now with a ridiculous amount of microtransactions.

  20. TODD says:

    I pay $8/mo. subscription and never worry about buying anything else. Unless something has changed, the weapons you pay real money for are almost always functionally identical to those you can get from normal play. One notable exception is the “Whisper” (a submachine gun with a unique silencer), but except for the suppressor it is worse than most SMGs you unlock normally, and you still show up on the minimap when you fire it. Paying for weapons saves you some effort, and affords otherwise unobtainable gear at low ranks, but matchmaking is balanced around “skill level” (how well you do against other players), not rank.

  21. hocevar says:

    An error was encountered while processing your request:

    This item is currently unavailable in your region

    grreat

  22. Frank says:

    APB: Wait two minutes while I update.
    Me: “Start”
    APB: Like us on Facebook.
    Me: “Start”
    APB: Are you sure you ran the APB installer correctly?
    Me: “Start”
    APB: We cannot start since blah.dll is missing. Have a nice day.
    Me: F@#$ MMOs, especially those run by amateurs!

    Actually, I’m trying the launcher’s “repair” feature, but am not optimistic.

  23. valru says:

    APB:

    Its like that excellent 500 player Multiplayer Mod for GTA: San Andreas…

    but shittier.

  24. HardcoreGamer12 says:

    *So, you gonna?*

    yup i’m gonna… since its free why not..
    in fact the download is 99% at the typing of this.