I’ve been spending a lot of time with APB for my review (which will be published Thursday for those interested). And on the whole I find the game both entertaining and endearing, if not a little depressing because of what I feel are some glaring omissions. Now, feel free to get angry, argue, or even (gasp!) agree. These are just my opinions on the game’s mechanics and gameplay and serve as a little preview of what my final review will bring tomorrow.
- A Modern Cover Mechanic - APB is a very much akin to games like GTA set in an MMO space. Why then does the title not make use of today’s much-lauded cover mechanics that can be found in recent Rockstar games, and were likely pioneered to nigh essential status by the likes of Gears of War. It’s a third-person shooter, and I just can help but wish it was in the game. It’s fun without the simply crouch and peek controls they have in place, but with a landscape littered with barriers, dumpsters, and indeed destructible cars, I really think that a cover mechanic akin to Mass Effect 2, RDR, Gears and GTA IV would have really helped the feel of the game. In a TPS game, it looks and feels awkward to only have the crouch and peek controls in place.
- Better Driving – Some will just say that it’s a learned art to drive in APB, but I refuse to let that be reason alone why Realtime Worlds gets away with some of the worst handling driving controls in all of gaming. It’s such an integral part of the action, and I have found myself getting better at “dealing with it”, but I almost always dread those times when I have to get behind the wheel and on more than one occasion I’ve just hoofed it because I didn’t want to use the cars. They drive like bricks sliding across the ice.
These are my two main actual “gameplay” complaints against APB, and they pretty much come down to poorly implemented controls and physics. I still enjoy the game, but I do feel it’s a very flawed offering, and my review tomorrow will likely reflect that. The only good thing about the complaints gamers may lay against the title? It has the luxury of being an MMO, yes luxury, and if it can survive long enough a lot of our complaints just might get fixed and my whining might be rendered moot. Check back Thursday for my full review of a game that’s at once both incomprehensibly addictive and totally frustrating.