Have You Played… APB Reloaded?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The story of APB is a twisted games industry tale that makes us all squirm with discomfort. Presented as Grand Theft Auto meets MMO it had neither the confidence of the former nor the lifespan of the latter. It was ambitious but also doomed. Poor driving controls, humdrum shooting matches and a lack of variety couldn’t save it from the ire of heartless critics, myself included, not even when Realtime Worlds collapsed and the game was bought and relaunched as APB Reloaded.

So why even mention it? Well, GTA Online wasn’t around at the time (although Red Dead Redemption’s sparse open-world multiplayer was). Still, nobody had ever done this ‘full welt’ before. It was a noble stab at something slightly more novel than the next big multiplayer shooter. It might have fallen flat on its face but the open-world city with multiplayer bits has since been improved by Rockstar’s online anarchy and Ubisoft’s The Division – both games with their own flaws – as well as others. If anything, we should remember APB as the game which showed us what we were lusting for, even if it didn’t deliver. And you could still play it too, you know, if you really wanted to.

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19 Comments

  1. CartonofMilk says:

    i ended up spending FAR FAR more time working on my character’s outfit and customizing (which was pretty damn good) than playing the game.

    I remember that accusations of cheating and using hacks ran rampant in this game and while i tend to dismiss those most of the time, i have to say i came across players who could shoot suspiciously well. But it could just have been that they’d paid real money for better weapons since the microtransactions in this game were disgusting. You could RENT yourself a better gun for like a week or something.

    • SnallTrippin says:

      I actually played the shit out of this game…and cheaters killed it more than cash imo. I also really liked it (but I had found friends/group to play with).

      • bikkebakke says:

        Cheaters definitely ruined the game (for me). I loved APB and played it all the time, but at some point it felt like there were cheaters everywhere. Sad :/ I really loved the game.

    • brgillespie says:

      Nah. APB Reloaded’s dev team periodically posted ban lists that were always full of “gold threat level” players. The number of players using hacks that were caught by the anti-cheat systems were fairly enormous for a game with a comparatively-tiny playerbase.

  2. Ghostwise says:

    I have it on Steam solely to test the character creation for RPG illustration purposes, but I’m sure I’ve even gotten around to launching it yet.

  3. int says:

    I preordered the original (somebody slap me hard and sexily!). It’s not in my Steam library anymore because if I recall, it’s the one game I requested be removed from there. No refund of course, it was ages ago.

  4. frozbite says:

    One of my friends played it, while is was launched as APB, said it was good. Personally, played it as APB Reloaded. Lack of variety in gameplay, yes, but hell… best character (car also, dont remember) customization i EVER saw. You can take shirt, get some templates, put it on shirt and paint. And every other player will see this, created by you shirt!

  5. SlimShanks says:

    I also want to say that the game wasn’t great, but my character was soo cool. And there were actually other things to like as well. That game would have been pretty fun if it was balanced, not pay to win, and the progression was seriously rethought. I loved cruising around the city hunting for nice player made graffiti, and watching car chases and shootouts go by.

  6. Tayh says:

    The original APB was great. The potential was endless – unfortunately, the budget wasn’t, so they had to shut down.

    Then Gamersfirst(hah!) bought it and turned it into APB Reloaded: a shitty freemium game where you now have to lease weapons and gear for in-game currency or pay real money for permanent versions, as opposed to the modest monthly fee you’d be paying in the original APB and subsequently have free access to all the content, with none of this lease bullshit.

  7. Skandranon says:

    I really wish they’d rip out the character creator and sell it to someone, because its FANTASTIC.

    Shame about the rest of the game, though.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      Yeah, that and the car customizer and the music sequencer – incredible bits that other games haven’t even come close to since. Those creator tools were (well, are, I guess) just about perfect.

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Wasn’t that part of the problem though? They spent so much time working on the cosmetics that they didn’t have time to make the game fun.

  8. Hyena Grin says:

    I was part of the beta testing group for the original pre-release, and I remember the revolt that took place on the internal forums. Almost everyone in the beta testing group was in agreement that the game was badly balanced at best, and a failure as a game at worst.

    I can’t think of a game with so much hype and potential failing so fast. It was a shame, because I think if they had the benefit of future developments in online game financing models, they could have fashioned APB into a successful game. It wasn’t great, but it had some nice features that might have carried it.

    I loved the character creation, I spent a huge amount of time messing with designs and clothing and tattoos. I can’t think of a game, to do this day, that gave as much leeway for creativity. Which is a damn shame.

  9. toraque says:

    The character and vehicle editors were more fun than the game itself. IIRC you could make designs, clothing, vehicles and sell them on the player market for normal or even premium currency.

    I think I sold a couple dozen plaid schoolgirl skirts I made (because who doesn’t want to be a tiny girl running around with an enormous gun) and a couple vehicles.

    Best memory of the game was selling a ‘Republican Campaign Strategy Van’ (complete with stars and red, white and blue stripes) and then actually seeing someone driving it out in the game world. Literally everyone who saw it stopped what they were doing to shoot it the hell up.

  10. neofit says:

    This game allowed me to fulfill my lifelong dream of running around in an MMO as a skinny ese with a neck tattoo wearing a wife beater, cargo shorts and knee socks. But then came Gamersfirst, and unless I paid real money for each gun, I’ empty a whole clip into some guy’s back from melee range only to see him turn back and one-shoot me. “Big Ese” didn’t like that and skipped town.

  11. rekedens says:

    If the game didn’t take so damn long to load, I would still play it. I actually like the driving, I mostly play just to go and drift the sports cars.

  12. Ding says:

    APB: Reloaded might well be the most underrated game I have ever played, to the point that hearing other people’s experiences makes me think that I’ve somehow played a magical unique version that only exists for me.

    Frequently, you would end up on a mission against an opposing team that spilled over into another two teams’ mission as a third match barrelled through both of you. You can only affect your own match-up, but all of it happening alongside each other was enthralling.

    I must have been playing it several patches in, as driving and shooting felt absolutely fine. A heavy machine gun could reliably hit and destroy an enemy car speeding towards you as you stood in the middle of the road, causing it to flip over the top of your head at least 50% of the time, with the other 50% of times resulting in you becoming extremely brave road kill.

    The car customisation tools also allowed me to put an ‘L’ plate on the back of my truck as an effective way of warning fellow team mates that all bets were off when getting in that passenger seat.

    Maybe the world has moved on since I played this near-obsessively, but it is definitely worth a couple of hours of your time to take a look!

  13. Pelaf says:

    The one thing I really remember about this game was a T-shirt I got at a convention booth for it years ago. The shirt is, unfortunately- gone now, but it had a skeletal ribs design on it and a heart infused with a rose. . . Perhaps a rose infused with a heart? Regardless, this article brought on a weird flashback moment.

    (Apparently every online shop I’ve checked has no idea what shirt I’m talking about, either.)

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