by Matthew Fletcher
previewed on PC
Delay, delay, delay...
Of all the Massively Multiplayer Online Games out there to choose from, be they Role Playing games, Simulator games or First Person Shooters, there is one that has me very intrigued, and that is All Points Bulletin.
Suffering many release delays, as most games do these days, APB is set to be released in North America and Europe this spring. Developed by Realtime Worlds and published by EA Games, All Points Bulletin is the latest offering in a slew of MMOG’s. Played in the same 3rd person style as the latest games in the GTA series, and surpassing visual expectations set for your average MMOG, APB looks more like your high-end big budget single player game. All Points Bulletin is set in an urban jungle setting, with buildings, shops, roads etc. Set in the online fictional town of San Paro, there are two sides to choose from when you begin the game, the Enforcers or the Criminals, which serve as your standard “goodies vs. baddies”. Within these 2 sides, you can then form sub-groups, be it a team of vigilantes cleaning up the streets one bum at a time, or a gang of street thugs, going around terrorizing the public, harassing poor pedestrians who are simply going about their business.
Wreak Havok, and let Loose the Dogs of San Paro!
Being either a Criminal or an Enforcer, you can choose to do missions, which for the Crims involve robbery, graffiti, arson and murder, and for the Enforcers your missions involve arresting criminals, preventing crime and cleaning up the city, or, like a lot of games are doing today, free roam and explore the city, wreaking your own havoc upon San Paro.
Apart from looking visually jaw dropping, All Points Bulletin boasts one of the most in depth character and vehicle customization tools available today, as quoted on the official APB website, and verified just by looking at it. Whether you want to make a rag tag gang of tattooed freaks ready to blow themselves sky high let alone your enemies, or a clean cut, men in black-esque crew of ‘street cleaners’, there is no limit to what you can make your character look like with the stock standard choices, not to mention the unlockable items you are rewarded with upon successful completion of missions and special tasks. So the more missions you complete, the meaner, rougher and better your character looks, which is testament to other players just how hardcore you are.
Gimme That Punk
On top of all the juicy elements previously mentioned, APB also has one of the most killer sound tracks I’ve ever heard for any game, and I wish that more games developers follow in its stead and really try to capture an ambience and mood with the music they use in the same way APB has demonstrated. Having over 100 tracks to head bang and bop around to while you’re doing your thing. The lead music playing behind the many trailers and showcases of the games capabilities is a catchy little track by the Audio Bullys called Gimme That Punk, which just goes so well with the footage for you all to salivate over. As well as an awesome, extensive standard soundtrack, it also gives you the option to upload your own music files, whether you feel more at home blazing away to country music, or catapulting your car through a shopping mall with some thrash metal cranking.
This game has done something never seen before in any video game, and that is if you are a musician or you make music, you can license your own tracks to APB, and if they are accepted, they will become part of the games soundtrack, which I think is a really good idea, and a good way to get your music out into the open air.
Inspirations from the past
There is an interesting fact about All Points Bulletin. There goes an arcade game by the exact same name, released in 1987, which sees you playing a police officer by the name of Officer Bob, and has you driving around the streets in your squad car, taking down criminals in the same overhead view of the original Grand Theft Auto. The same person, who had a hand in developing GTA, is also the developer of the new, completely different All Points Bulletin game. Could it be an inspiration?
The executive of Realtime Worlds, Mr. Colin Macdonald, has described APB “as the bastard child of everything we’ve been striving towards over the past 15-20 years”. If what they have been striving for is pure excellence, then APB is most definitely the aforementioned ‘Bastard Child’. Having said that, All Points Bulletin looks set to take the online world by storm, looking like GTA: VC on steroids, with brilliant graphics, unbeatable soundtrack, killer game play and customization that would make your head spin. They’ve taken all the things that make a good game great and turned it into an MMOG. Just it being online tells you that no two gaming sessions will be the same which in turn translates into hours upon hours of gameplay value.
Fingers crossed there won’t be much Lag!