“She was six feet of black dynamite. He was a short Hassidic Jew!”
~ Kentucky Fried Movie
Okay, well maybe it doesn’t quite describe our characters exactly, but we haven’t really fleshed out our backstories yet, so it will do for now. Yep, last night the Combat Archeologist himself and I put our guns together and laid down the law in the land of APB.
With the help of a little start up cash and a favor from the wrong side of the tracks, I started the game with a nice rifle, the NTEC-5 (an AK knockoff), which has rapidly become the go-to weapon for Enforcers and Criminals alike. We won some and we lost some, but at the end of the night, we had a nice wad of cash and a few new achievements under our belt. And a feeling of reinforcement around our initial impressions of the game.
It starts at the bottom, with the little things. The first time we commandeered a car as Enforcers, the NPC got upset and started yelling about writing down our badge numbers. You can imagine where the PC dialogue went from there…
Animations are fine-tuned, from fence hopping and ladder climbing, to watching your character actually *drive* inside the vehicle. The pacing of the game is nice, with new unlocks coming from virtually every night of play. Combat varies a good bit too. At some points last night we were fighting probably 10 on 10 (or more) on missions as various teams came together, and other times it was 2 on 2. Our one frustration was that some of the locations (the casino and the parking garage in the Financial District for exmaple) are tough nuts to crack, and so its hard to win missions that require VIP kills there, where you can stash the VIP and force suicidal assults into a well laid out killzone. But even the, the game moves fast enough and missions are varied enough, that you try your best, collect your cash reward (yep, you get money even when you lose), and move on to the next thing.
And I’ll say this now, perhaps with regrets later – I *like* not knowing everything. With most MMO’s I can pull a wikia up and find out what and where and how and who. Last night, we were asking other players if they knew how to unlock such n such achievement, or how did they pull off a particular character look or get said vehicle unlocked.
And that continues to be awesome. The customization and, yes, I think its fair to call it crafting, element of the game is just unreal. Remember how I told you about the A-Team van from Open Beta? Check it out:
Yeah, that was built with the powerful designer tools that come with the game. And then the player, if they like it, can duplicate their stuff and put it on the market. Already there is a few well known clothing designers that are doing things I hadn’t even thought of before for outfits. One guy last night had a full-on prison guard uniform on straight out of Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile.
At the end of the night, we packed it in, and chalked it up, as a great experience. I’m sure at some point today or tonight, we’ll log into the social district, tweak our characters and buy some new guns or upgrades or vehicles and be set for tonight. All without eating into our play time, since the social district is not on a timer. I’m wondering if its even on an active subscription – something that would have both advantages and disadvantages I suppose.
Though you may think me crazy, there is a solid comparison to EVE here. The game is sandbox, PvP oriented, with a player driven economy. And it looks deceptively easy on the service, but the real complexity comes in the game itself, from the interaction of the human an nonhuman elements. If you don’t believe me, then you haven’t heard anyone complain about EVE being a game of pushing a button and then watching two ships circle each other until one dies. EVE vets will tell you that’s what it looks like on the surface, but the reality is much deeper than that. APB is the same. On the surface, it looks like an odd duck shooter, a limited game with the veneer of an MMO. But once the sirens come on and the guns come out, it seems like anything but.