Well unless you’ve been living on the moon, or perhaps you were ill, or just out of contact with the gaming scene in some way, you will have seen that RealTime Worlds Multi-player Cops and Robbers game All Points Bulletin (APB) launched at the end of June/start of July. I should mention that I took part in the beta testing but dropped out as I couldn’t make alot of the schedule play-times.
In the last week I’ve been loading in to lay down the law in San Paro, after working through the tutorial which was rather familiar and playing a few 1v1 missions I headed out in to the Action districts to play for real. The selection screen for the districts is rather good and indicates the populates levels in each area. Additionally if you have any friends online you can see their location, allowing you to jump into the same one as them. I spent a good few hours teaming up with DokChaos while we got to grips with the missions and later on the guys from Kiasa, kicking ass for TheDepartment.
Whats on offer
This game certainly brings some new ideas to the gaming table. To avoid me blabbering on about nothing for a whole post I’ll attempt to bullet point those features which have made the game fun and enjoyable for me:
- Customization – the game has nice customization system that some may argue isn’t that detailed, but I will say it’s got enough settings for you to get the starting elements of an avatar setup. Put it this way it got more options that Warhammer Online, yet fewer than Champions Online.
- Teams – Grouping is rather simple and you can generally find at least one other person to group with, which in this game is better than running around solo.
- Higher Ranks – There is a problem in many PvP centric games in that the person who has played longest is all powerful and will have the best gear etc. Now even though there benefits from being a higher level it can negated by calling in backup and thus it doesn’t have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the game.
- Unlocks – The unlock-able costume/vehicles/weapons seem to come thick & fast, I not once felt like I was just grinding out levels, the gameplay does a great job of distracting you from XP watching.
- Fast Paced – If you want it to be the game can be pretty much non-stop missions and action, but it’s nice to chill out and redesign your avatar in the social zone.
What annoys me
This is a rather new game and it has some rather big issues that I feel it will need to be resolved if the game is to remain as a shortcut on mydesktop:
- Memory – the amount recommended for the game is 4GB which pretty much rule out any one running Windows xp 32 bit, which still appears to be the most common OS around for gamers at the moment. I have 2GB and when the game is in full swing I’ve encountered the Low on Virtual memory message in Windows.
- 64Bit – The other option that recommended is that for the OS to be 64bit, a step that I’m trying to avoid as I’m not sure how many of my games/apps support 64bit.
- Loading Zones – the loading times aren’t great. I understand that there is a whole zone to load, but I’m currently playing the game on the lowest graphic settings, do i need to load in all those High-Res graphic files that I have no urge to view as i aim to reduce my crash numbers?
The overall feeling I get from this game is that it wants to create a kind of drop-in environment that matches you with a group and allows you get into the missions and action without delay. Currently this is never a possibility as the zone loading times are so boringly long and number of crashes I’ve had to deal with means i see alot of those loading screens. I think something simple like purchasing ammo and equipment could be a mundane task that a player could perform while the game loaded their world and character. Thoughts?
If the memory leaks are resolved and us “run if the mill gamers” without 4GB of ram can start to last a few hours in game without a crash (windowed mode helps to regain control of your PC without a hard reboot), the potential is there for this to keep me coming back time and time again.
I’ve not mentioned the payment model as I hope to give a little more detailed reporting around that area in the future.
One last thing to note, given the rather simple control systems I think that this game will certainly be distended for the Console market in the near future, even if it’s a cut-down version (zones/options) to suite the console hardware this is certainly one to watch in the next 6 to 12 months.