All Points Bulletin Hands-On Preview

Criminal or cop? What side will you choose?

When thinking of the term "MMO," it is quite common to quickly add RPG to the acronym without a second thought. But based upon what I have seen of the MMO shooter All Points Bulletin, that notion will be changing very soon.

Showing off the game on the PAX East floor, Realtime Worlds had several representatives on hand to demonstrate the gameplay, provide tons of information regarding the title, and even step aside to allow attendees to play. One such representative gave me a solid twenty-minute demo, before letting me loose in the massively multiplayer game world.

In APB, players in each city, which act as the game’s servers, can choose to be either criminals or law enforcement officers (enforcers). The two sides wage urban war against one another in open play or within specific missions. These missions are all either the causes or the results of missions given to players on the opposing side. As these situations play out, players on either side can call for backup, reaching as high as 20 versus 20 conflicts where players will either arrest or kill members of the other faction before completing their prescribed objectives.

The only NPCs in the game are the civilians. All criminals and enforcers will be controlled by other players, so you will always be competing against another live person somewhere in the world. Criminals will be able to mug and kill the civilians in order to obtain cash. They can also smash in store windows to steal money and stockpile their earnings at safe houses throughout their city’s districts.

However, criminals are advised against going too crazy. When they cause enough chaos in the streets, an all points bulletin will go out to enforcer players, who will hunt the criminals down and either arrest or kill them. The same is true for law enforcement players, though, as cops who bring in or kill enough criminals will have a bounty placed on their heads for criminals in the area to try to collect.

A cool feature in the game is how voice chat can be used to smack-talk players on the other side. Players will be able to hear insults from the players who gun them down while waiting to respawn nearby, which takes about five to ten seconds. Arrested criminals will be taunted by enforcers while being cuffed and respawning, which will take up to fifteen seconds.

APB will feature several competitive missions in each district of each city server. They will range from tagging missions, where criminals must tag certain buildings with graffiti in a certain amount of time while cops try to stop them, to more traditional modes like protect the VIP. Players will also gain access to a variety of abilities as they progress through the game. They range from faster health regeneration, to nitrous boosts for cars, to faster tagging, and more.

In its current stage of development,  the game controls very well and feels just like a PC shooter. The fast-paced action is a lot of fun and can be incredibly addictive just to watch, let alone play. Driving, however, does feel like a dumbed-down version of Grand Theft Auto IV. There were also a few technical glitches, such as players running through doors and problems leaning out of the back seats of cars to open fire, but the representative assured me that these problems are being worked on and will be fixed for the final product.

APB is definitely shaping up into a great shooter that can very well shake the concept that the only successful MMOs have to be RPGs. It’s extremely enjoyable to watch and play, and gamers should be keeping an eye out for the game when it is released later this year.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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