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K2 Network


Reloaded Productions


M (Mature)


December 1, 2011



- Finally got the visuals up to a decent level of quality



- Same broken game mechanics as before
- Same lack of content as before
- Graceless and gratuitous “pay me” screens are all new
- Ham-fisted player registration model



Review: APB (PC)

Review: Rift (PC)

Review: EVE Online: Commissioned Officer Edition (PC)



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APB Reloaded

Score: 4.0 / 10


ab reloaded          apb reloaded


A word of warning to my regular and irregular readers: this is very likely going to be a short review. It may very well be in the running for “shortest review I've ever done.” But I feel it is necessary to disclaim this fact before plunging ahead. The reasons why will become intuitively obvious.

When APB was released back in summer 2010, it was one of the biggest face-plants for gaming that year. As I detailed in my review, the game botched a simple “cops and robbers” concept with an appalling lack of original content from the developer's side, atrocious lag, a payment model of dubious quality, and a




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surprisingly poor implementation of the Unreal engine up to that point. As a gamer, if you'd asked me about the possibility of going back to that well after Realtime Worlds folded, I'd have told you, “Hell, no!” It was with considerable wariness that I took a look at APB Reloaded, a relaunch of APB as a free-to-play game. Surely, I thought to myself, the new publisher would try to


fix the mistakes of the original and perhaps breathe new life into a game that could have done so much more. As I went back to San Paro, drove down the streets that I'd patrolled (and rubber banded) my way along once before, I found a disturbing paradigm at work. To borrow from the band Rise Against, the surface shined but the inside was rotten.

The rough and unfinished visuals of the original game have now been polished to something of a dull sheen. It looks a lot better than it did in 2010, but at the same time, it still has a slightly tired feel to it. This is how the game should have looked to start with. In that time, there have been newer and snappier implementations of the Unreal engine, and this game does not look like it has caught up with all of those innovations. I was quite frankly surprised. The character models look like they got the lion's share of improvement, and they do look quite good, but beyond that the other models feel like they got a cursory reworking. I wasn't able to tell if they'd expanded the soundtrack or not, but that part at least remained good. The previously unconscionable degree of lag that afflicted the game seems to have been brought down considerably, and yet I heard more than a few people bitching in the General chat channel that the game was lagging out badly for them, so I can't be sure if the lag reduction really was implemented or if people are just complaining to cover up poor play. The load times are certainly reduced, but it's still takes longer to load than the new areas of World of WarCraft or one of the maps from Star Wars: The Old Republic.


apb reloaded          apb reloaded


Virtually every one of my original complaints regarding the shallow degree of gameplay and content is still just as valid now as it was a year and a half ago. Criminals still have a license to make money by stealing cars, Enforcers don't get anything even remotely comparable. You've still got two chunks of a city and a social area, despite the promises of new areas to come. You still have to grind reputation to unlock damn near everything, and doing so is still the antithesis of anything I would call fun. There's part of me that thinks I should be grateful they got rid of the idiotic payment scheme from the original release, but it's hard to feel grateful when the game seems to take an absolutely perverse delight in beating you over the head about the fact you're not paying. Reminding me once a day that I could be enjoying more stuff if I was paying a regular subscription, I can understand that, and it wouldn't bother me. Reminding me every time I logged in, possibly a little annoying, but I could live with it. Reminding me at the end of every mission, and telling me how much more money and rep I could have had if only I was paying, that's crossing over into gratuitous insult. That's the kind of thing that would make most people who were on the fence about this game say “fuck this!” and delete the whole thing from their hard drives. I can't think of another free-to-play game that pulls that kind of amateurish and idiotic money grab, though I suspect there may be more out there, and I further suspect they're all part of K2 Network. Even Global Agenda doesn't grind your nose down in your status as a free player like that. Speaking of which, I resent having to create a profile on yet another publisher's website, then being asked, “Hey, would you like to link your Steam login to this?” If you were going to do that, why not just release it through Steam to start with and save us all the headache? Global Agenda got it right. How did Reloaded Productions and K2 Network screw the pooch so badly?

The original release of the game was an interesting (but not great) concept hobbled by atrocious execution, and it seems like the people who went in trying to rescue it have managed to make things worse in an overall sense. There was little to recommend the original game. There's even less to recommend it's second act.


- Axel Cushing

(February 6, 2012)



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