Criminal or vigilante? A life of fighting the system, or the pledge to defend it, albeit through unprecedented means? This is the question that APB: Reloaded will ask right away, and it will completely define the rest of your gameplay.
APB: Reloaded is a online multiplayer game that is the 2010 sequel to the RealTime Worlds game APB. For those who don't know the acronym, APB stands for All Points Bulletin; a police code meaning that all units in the area should be on alert a respond to the issue at hand. The game takes place in a modern day city called San Paro that is in complete chaos. Criminals and thugs are running ramped and crime rates have skyrocketed, far past what the police can handle. In order to combat the growing turmoil, the mayor has put into place a Security Act that will allow licensed civilians to carry out vigilante justice in the name of the police department. From this decision stems the chaos that is APB:Reloaded. The setup is similar to Grand Theft Auto in the sense that is is open world but there are missions around the map to complete, though this could be due to the fact that developers from GTA worked on this project as well.
As soon as you boot up the game, it asks you to decide for which faction you wil be fighting, either the Criminals or the Enforcers. Both classes have their own missions and gameplay, yet both are well interwoven. After choosing your faction and creating your character, you are placed into a "world" or essentially a server based on your location. Once in the game, you can create groups to make completing missions much more feasible. You carry out missions and perfrom tasks for gang bosses or group leaders depending on your faction choice. However, as you are completing your missions, players from the otherside are dispatched against you with the sole purpose of stopping you from completing your task.As you complete missions, you gain money and rank, allowing you to purchase new weapons, cars and upgrades.
There are alos other ways in which you can level up besides missions. As a Criminal, you can walk up to any civilian NPC and mug them or, if you feel it necessary, shoot them. Mugging them gains you money while killing them gains you noteriety. The higher the level, the more likely you are to have Enforcers dispatched against you. You can also steal cars or break into shops to gain money. As an Enforcer, you can drive around the city and try to catch criminals in the act to arrest them and bring them in.
This game is free-to-play on Steam and I think there are a few things that other games could learn from it. For one, it does not make you pull out youor credit card if you want halfway decent weapons. While there is a premium account option that you can sign up for to gain upgrades and other perks, it is still possible to do well for free. Upgrades to weapons can be "leased" for ten days and the prices are fairly reasonible in-game. In a matter of a couple of hours, you can have up to seven to eight thousand dollars, which is more than enough to buy a different gun. Other games in the same category make it extremely difficult to do well or get past the standard pea shooter gun without seperating from your hard earned money (money that you are saving for something useful like Assassins Creed 3...only a few weeks left!). The game also does its best to match you against opponents of similar rank. Although everyone plays the same server and map, you wll generally be placed against people that are of similar standing, unlike games like BulletRun where you are placed against players of level 30+ on your first time out. The route that APB takes makes the gameplay more interesting because no one is being blown away and it keeps you interested instead of making you want to rage quit every five minutes.
I would reccomend this game to anyone honestly, especially if you enjoyed games like Grand Theft Auto or just generally love chaos. Theres is never a time where I am not dodging the dozens of player controlled cars zooming around the map or dodging fire as I try to load up my van with the goods from the storefront window I just rammed into.