Walking past the nVidia and Alienware booths at PAX East, I hear a rather charming accent describing mayhem caused by Criminals, forcing the Enforcers to call for backup.
Standing up on stage overlooking the demo kiosks, the announcer declares that Realtime Worlds’ APB provides a persistent open-world landscape where the Enforcers uphold the law and the Criminals, well, don’t.
You have the option of going on missions to give your band of thugs or your boys in blue some direction, or you can simply roam the streets of the open world to create (or prevent) a little road havoc. Think Grand Theft Auto, except you can also be the cop. (Although it seems they want to distance themselves from such a comparison.)
In true cops-vs-robbers scenario, Enforcers patrol the streets, arresting the Criminals caught breaking into parked vehicles or looting the fictional city’s stores. Criminals shoot first and ask questions later (if at all), doing everything they can to get away, collateral damage be damned.
Moving away from the EXP system in most MMOs, the APB world is built upon notoriety. If you become a Supercop or a Crime Lord, appropriate bonuses and customization options will reveal themselves to you. With a high enough notoriety, you can even create a ringtone-like tune to play every time you get a kill. (Think teabagging, except classy.)
I didn’t have a chance to actually get my hands on the game (the crowds were a bit too stifling to bear), so, unfortunately, I can’t comment on the feel and control of the game. From what I saw, though, it did seem like, first and foremost, fun. And isn’t that what matters most?
I admit I usually have trouble with open-world gameplay (give me the option to do everything and I’ll inevitably choose nothing), so I’m not certain how long it’ll hold my interest once I get my hands on it, but the game is definitely on my radar and should be on yours, too.