Will's Game Of The Generation: APB Reloaded
On the technological front,however, there's no denying that RAGE is probably one of the most advanced and forward-thinking game engines not available for licensed distribution. The attachment of Euphoria and procedural animation and AI reactions makes it a one of a kind – something that's stiff and stilted by comparison in a game like APB: Reloaded, which is running on an older version of the Unreal Engine 3.
Nevertheless, the basics of what APB wanted to convey to gamers still shines through with Realtime Worlds' original vision of the game.
NPCs still move and walk around the game, they react to your actions (for better or for worse); they still drive around, getting in the way or moving out of the way depending on what's going on, and they can still be interacted with. In a way, even the minor form of interaction – as simple as robbing them or holding them up at gunpoint – is still something that seems to be missing from a lot of other open world games these days.
But it's not all about technicalities. Having a hundred or so players going at it in an open-world district with a wealth of weapons, completely customized characters, culturally poignant guilds and equally fancy cars is only as significant as the fun it spawns... and this is where APB shines.
Many AAA games out there don't promote or encourage gameplay that revolves around “thinking outside the box”, but that emergent style of gameplay in APB: Reloaded is not only encouraged but required at times. It's a game that changes the landscape of interaction because it's an incessant game of bullet-chess.
You're always trying to find ways to out-think your opponent, like when you have to retrieve a package that your opponents are keeping on the move while one of the teammates on the opponent's side uses a dumptruck to block incoming fire from hurting the car carrying the package; or trying to kill/apprehend another player on the opposing team who's being guarded on a rooftop full of snipers; or attempting to prevent players blowing up buildings in a somewhat crowded mall area where visibility and NPCs can get in the way or change the tide of a match.
Playing like Call of Duty or Battlefield isn't always required or guaranteed as a way to earn success.
APB is one of the few games where I felt that it was defining the generation with a whole new way to interact and play a big-budget game, on top of trying to bring technical achievements to life within the scope of a third-person, role-playing, action MMO atmosphere.
It's a game that still has its rough spots, but it's still a one of a kind experience that has yet to find an equal rival in the over-crowded but innovation-deficient action genre. For this reason, APB: Reloaded is the game of the generation... not because it sold a record-breaking amount of units or has Crytek-quality graphics, or because it sports an immeasurably large procedural world, but because it takes something we love (e.g., action, customization, role-playing, open-world exploration) and turns it on its head into something new, challenging, unique and separate from the competition out there.
I just hope that we get a new generation-equivalent of something like APB: Reloaded; something that forces gamers to adapt to a new way of facing unpredictable opponents; a game that challenges the way we view interaction, role-playing and socialization. One can hope, no?
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