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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Two Things I Wish APB Had...

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday July 7 2010 at 5:25PM
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        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.

Vagrant_Zero writes:

"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."  

It's not whining if it's true. Bricks on Ice pretty much covers it.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:03PM Report
Corpus47 writes:

I think the mini-review above is pretty spot on. I'd also add that early in the game (when nobody knew better), the VIP assassination and item-holding missions usually ended in car chases, which was incredibly fun, but also risky for the Crims (they could get outmaneuvered, unlucky, etc.). Then, they figured out that there are several spots on the map that they can camp with very restricted access -- and now those missions devolve into "can the Crims get to the top of the 4th story building with no adjacent high buildings before an Enforcer cuts them off" or "can the Crims get to the floating pier with two tiny walkways on to it and a building to protect from sniper fire before an enforcer stops them." It's pretty boring for both sides, but it's the only logical move for a Crim. If they do it, their chance of winning is 90%+ -- but they have to camp the same spot for 10-15 minutes. If they don't do it, they risk losing due to bad luck while driving or being outmaneuvered.

The other complaint I have is that smaller "guilds" don't really have a chance in the game. The bigger "guilds" have their high prestige members hand out, for free, the highest level guns, upgrades, and vehicles (which are cheap to buy and/or make if you have high prestige, but incredibly expensive on the auction house). The smaller "guilds" have more limited options there. I think they should have required prestige levels for the higher level guns and gun/upgrade combinations.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:17PM Report
bobfish writes: Doesn't handle any worse than GTAIV does on the PC and handles a lot better than Saints Row 2. Admittedly its nowhere near as good as a real racing game. Thu Jul 08 2010 12:52PM Report
lethys writes:

To say it handles similarly to GTA IV is simply wrong.  Saints Row 2 is also not a game with good handling in vehicles anyway, but it still is way better than APB.  To be completely honest APB has worse driving than the old GTA games for PC as well as any game I've ever driven anything in.


And the lack of cover is atrocious for APB.  I think more atrocious is the lack of hitboxes, considering it is a shooter.  The game is fundamentally flawed, it's not like the long load times or anything are that bad but the core concepts are bad.


And I personally wish territory control the way they initially advertised was in the game.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:56PM Report
-exo writes:

I actually do agree with this 100%.  On both factors, cover and driving. Cover would be great for this, because it can be extremely frustrating at times. Though, the lag does not help. I'm not sure if it's my processor or what it is, but good lord.... it's very difficult to get anything smooth at times.

Thu Jul 08 2010 1:50PM Report
Saerain writes:

Unless you're connected via dialup, it's your system, yes.

Thu Jul 08 2010 7:24PM Report
Vestas writes:

Going to have to mostly disagree here.  The driving model is pretty damned fun, both my friends and I have pretty much mastered sliding around corners, nailing precision turns and dodging traffic.  Every car handles and peforms different and has their plusses and minuses.    Outdriving your opponents in escape missions is a blast.

APB doesn't really need a cover system.  Creative use of the terrain is already a core gameplay element and allowing people to lock to environmental objects would only serve to prolong gunfights and increase incidences of getting pwned from behind, so many of which turn into hacking allegations.

The game works, on a fundamental level.  Is it call of duty 4000 or GTA 20? No. It's it's own game and if you pick it up and play it without th eexpectation that it's just a clone you'll be in a happier place.

Thu Jul 08 2010 10:14PM Report
Daitengu writes: I actually think both cover and driving are fine.  Admittedly I was use to worse in the beta. So being accustomed to worse than it currently is filters my pov a bit.     I think a cover button is just an unneeded extra button. Fri Jul 09 2010 2:58AM Report
LoboMau writes: "A Modern Cover Mechanic"!! Are u serious?? This is a FPS/Third Person Shooter!!!  Not some console game! Do you want that to Battlefield or COD?? Just crouch, hide, use the corners! Not some "Modern Cover Mechanic" ! Use your skills!!! Do you want someone to  hold your hand when you cross the streets too?  You are definitely playing the wrong game! Sun Jul 11 2010 11:19AM Report writes:
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