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.