Criming It Up In San Paro

June 14, 2010

Adventurer Historian alerted me to a APB key giveaway last Friday, and thanks to him I was able to be part of the Key to the City pre-launch event, shootin’ it up in-game as a criminal tonight. It took me this long to get into it simply because it took me a better part of two days to download the 7 GB client, due to technical difficulties on my side and theirs. But that’s all behind us now, and I was ready to see what APB has to offer.

Though I’m pretty sure the NDA has been lifted for the KttC event, I’m not going to go into too much detail about the gameplay simply because I’ve only had the chance to play a little bit — just enough to get a feel for it, but not enough to write anything in depth. I will in time, but if you’re looking for more detailed thoughts for now, I recommend going over to AH’s awesome write-up of his first impressions at Combat Archaeology.

I do, however, want to mention the character creator. In fact, I think this was where I spent most of my time. In a word: it’s incredible. I mean, I think this is like the kind of customization I’ve always wanted! For example, I think I once said on my blog about wanting the option to customize my toon right down to the color of my nail polish…well, it was sort of a joke, but whad’ya know, this game’s got it. I could even customize my haircut, specifying how I wanted my fringe, and how long I wanted it at my nape.

Outfit-wise, however, my plan to deck my character out in the skankiest clothes I could find was foiled by the fact that many of the clothing items (often the best looking pieces) have to be unlocked before I can access them.

Sorry guys, but I’m not about to have my character running around the streets of San Paro in nothing but her skivvies either, so I messed around with what was available to me. The goal was to have my character exude an air of I-don’t-give-a-damn…but I was also feeling a little coquettish at the time, so the result was this Patty Hearst meets Punk-Princess-Avril-Lavigne inspired get-up. Whatever, carrying that big ass gun gives me permission to look as ridiculous as I please.

Going overboard with the pink because I don't think I wear it enough in real life.

I also want to relay something else I found quite amusing. APB has built-in VOIP, so I was able to communicate to my teammates while grouping for missions. You can probably guess what was the one thing almost everybody said to me tonight — “Wow, I think you’re the only real female I’ve met in this game so far.”

Well, given its nature I can understand how this game won’t really appeal to many women. Gameplay is hectic and deliciously violent and destructive. A four-car pile-up was the first sight that greeted me the moment I stepped foot out of the beginner’s area. Then, it’s pretty much: here’s your mission, use your gun, kill or be killed. On the surface, it may seem like a relatively shallow experience, but I gotta say, nothing gets the heart pumping like a massive shoot-out or a good old-fashioned car chase with other players.

My character on the lookout, while my teammate drives like a maniac and barely misses the oncoming traffic. Don't try this at home, kids.


  1. That actually looks and sounds pretty good. just how many games are you playing right now anyway?

    So what were you doing in that car? i don’t see a gun in your hand.

    • I suspect she took the picture right at the moment she was climbing out the window, meaning the gun was temporarily holstered. I could be wrong, though.

    • Right now, I’m actively playing 3.5 games, though LOTRO is my main focus these days. AoC and WoW are on some evenings only, depending on which one my husband wants to play. Guild Wars is sort of on the back burner at the moment. I’m not really feeling it, but at the same time I know it’ll there whenever i want to get into it again.

      My APB account is like a quasi-beta one only, because I got a free KttC code and it’s only good for 5 hours. It’s a lot of fun so far, but nothing jumps out at me right now to make me go, “wow, this is a must buy!” for the long term. But like I said, I haven’t spent that much time with it. Anyway, I guess it doesn’t really show, but I’m actually armed there. If I click my mouse I will actually aim and I can fire at oncoming cars or people on the street.

      • Ah! The gun is in your right hand, and it’s perfectly blended with the surrounding black.

  2. I’m really glad to hear that you liked it! I’m looking forward to playing the game, and hopefully we’ll be able to be Criminals/Enforcers together.

    Also, thank you for the kind words about my review! I worked really hard on it, and it made my day for you to say such nice things!

    • Ok, maybe I misread your enthusiasm a bit. I’m glad you found the game passably enjoyable, and maybe you’ll pick it up some day. When it goes on sale, like it almost certainly will.

      • Oh, don’t get me wrong, I did like it! But I don’t know if it’s something that can keep my interest over time, especially given all the good stuff that will be coming out. I have to start being picky!

    • It was a very detailed write up, and it was a good read to tide me over while I was waiting for my client to finish downloading. I also made sure to read it again before I got into the game 🙂

  3. I played all 5 hours until i got booted for having no time and I have to say it is nothing more than an FPS like TF2 with a fancy character editor. Except TF2 has more depth in game play because there are more classes with roles. Also that editor is somewhat (but not totally) pointless because the actual game engine doesn’t render your character to look like it does in the editor.

    I cant see why any FPS fan wouldn’t play another FPS game over this because it lacks the roles and complexity of of other FPS games.

    Likewise I cant see why any mmorpg player would play this over any other mmorpg because it lacks any sort of depth of charter development and story that any other mmo will give you.

    I pretends to be a blend of 2 things and does poorly at both of them.

    Saying that though, I did have fun. I just cant see paying a full box price and paying for game time for this game because it is woefully inadequate for the price they are charging. The customization is nothing but a gimmick because it adds nothing to game-play. I think mmo players will be bored of this game in a months time and fps players soon there after.

    • Well aren’t you a Negative Nancy!

      I get everything you’re saying though, except I don’t understand the “customization is pointless because the engine doesn’t render it right.” What are you talking about here? I didn’t notice that my character looked any different in game from how I made them look in editor.

      • Really? In the editor my characters looked much cleaner with more detail and I would even go as far as saying there was a slight change in the geometry of face between the two.

        I had the game on maximum settings. In the Editor you get to choose makeup and freckles etc. and you see them in quite nice detail but when you get to see your character in game they don’t look lifelike like they do in the editor not do they have the fine detail of seeing each mole on them or having the nice lifelike eyes or bone structure. Its like they get dumbed down (to make the game playable no doubt). I think that really makes the customization more of a gimmick than anything elese.

        What i mean by “pointless” is that the ideal of the editor is to create and share your looks and your character with the rest of APB, but seeing as how your creations and character are not “shown off” to other players the way you see them when you create them is a real let down. What is the point in taking lots of time to lovingly create something that only you can really see correctly?

      • I had my settings on medium/low, which might explain the difference.

        Still, I was really content with all of the customization options, and I didn’t notice any difference between editor and gameplay.

      • Oh, I had the exact same thing happen to me! I thought it might have been my graphics card, or a bug…but yeah, my character would look a lot cleaner in the character creator as well, and it got blurry once I entered the game world. For example, the decals on my shirt became more pixelated, and not all my make up details showed up on my character’s face. I played around on all the settings, from low to even maximum, and nothing I did could fix it.

    • I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of FPS’s but I do play and enjoy them every once in a while. I have to say the biggest thing that bugs me about APB is that shooting someone six times in the face has the same effect as shooting someone six times in the pinky toe. If I feel this way as a casual shooter, I can just imagine what a die hard FPS fan would think…there are other things too, like how the size of the hit box is the same for everyone, no matter what size your character is.

      That’s why I think Thac0 might be right…this game won’t appeal to hardcore FPS fans, nor will it really appeal to the MMORPG traditionalist. I have to agree that it’s still a lot of fun though, but it’s got little lasting appeal.

      • Oh despite me sounding really negative in what I wrote; I really did have fun. If i didn’t I wouldn’t have played the entire 5 hours. I just think it has a long way to go to really reach the potential they think they have. Whats good about it is that its a straight forward shooter with fast action thats really casual; but in that regard thats kind of why we liked STO and that seemed to fade really quick.

      • I don’t think you were being too negative in what you wrote…you said you had fun and pointed out legitimate areas where the game can be improved.

        And you pretty much hit the nail on the head…For me to maintain a sub and keep playing, an MMO has to have something that will keep me interested over the long term. The fun I experienced with APB was all well and good, but it’s the kind of high that I can see fade away very quickly.

  4. […] Shut Up We’re Talking APB: Fun and Done June 22, 2010 For all the fun I had criming it up in San Paro, last night I decided to uninstall the APB client from my hard drive. In spite of this, I’d […]

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