PC Review: All Points Bulletin (APB)

Should you spend your summer in San Paro?

When I visited San Paro for the first time a few months back, I had a great time but saw that there was still things that needed improving like balancing, mission variety and matchmaking. The game has been out for a few weeks now and I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the city, so have RTW fixed the problems and made it a must-have game for you to play all summer?

APB has been wrongly called a GTA MMO when RTW has never claimed it is one. As a result, people’s expectations may have been a tad too high…especially considering RTW’s history with Crackdown and GTA. The game pits two factions against each other known as Enforcers and Criminals across a variety of missions with each trying to stop the other from completing their objectives.

There is a major problem that if one faction completes a number of objectives then loses the next, they lose altogether. It’s pretty unfair to say the least, especially if you have put in considerable time into the mission. Matchmaking problems still seem to persist, I found myself outgunned at every turn and probably only got a handful of kills across my entire time in San Paro’s two action districts.

The good thing for the customisation fans is that you can spend all your time in the Social District for free and create designs for cars, clothes and modify your character in great ways. There is a huge emphasis on user-generated content in APB and it definitely pays off. I personally designed a Triforce logo to go on the back of my jacket with ease, the tools are easy to use and there are a ton of options to add. It was impressive to say the least and I hope the content continues to grow over the coming months and hopefully, years.

Mission and matchmaking problems aside, the city of San Paro is a nice place just to drive around…take in the sights and see all the action going on around you. It is nice to be put into groups for missions instead of hunting for people to play with you, plus VOIP helps a lot during missions instead of typing. The control layout is a bit mixed with the CTRL button throws grenades and the F button interacts with everything, vehicles tend to handle well for me but I’ve heard some dissatisfaction with other players.

Weapons are another mixed bag. They do get powerful when you add perks to them, but for newcomers they will feel pretty weak and pathetic in comparison. That’s probably why I got obliterated so many times in missions, despite getting a ton of shots in. There’s also an issue of long load times when entering a district. I have a speedy connection and it still took me quite a while to get into one. Others claim to have no problems with long load times, so maybe it isn’t happening for everyone. Luckily if you die though, you respawn fairly quickly without any loading.

Visually, APB looks pretty good and runs smoothly even on the highest settings. I didn’t experience much lag and what lag I did come across didn’t interfere with gameplay, which is a surprise considering the scale of the districts, the people in them and the action going on all around. It’s pretty impressive. Character models are detailed nicely and the customisation options are simply astonishing. The game makes good use of audio with last.fm support, although the ads that come on even over VOIP a few times are annoying.

The Verdict

All Points Bulletin (APB) is a game that shows a lot of promise and perhaps has been judged harshly by its critics. I can see it being better received when issues like mission variety and matchmaking has been fixed. There is room for improvement for sure, but as it stands…San Paro is a pretty nice place to hang out over the holidays.