All Points Bulletin Review

Ever wanted to play GTA online? No, we’re not talking about those unofficial mods that let you gather up with a few of your friends and chase each other on motorcycles. You’ve probably wished for it at some point – a full-blown online GTA, with hundreds of other players in the town, and perhaps a MMO system to make the world persistent? Say no more! All Points Bulletin, the next big thing from Realtime Worlds, has been developed with that kind of gameplay in mind exactly!

Gameplay

We already said that APB is pretty much a MMORPG version of GTA, and it really is just that – though with lots of improvements over GTA’s gameplay in order to cope with the massively multiplayer world. You can choose to join various sides which are constantly in wars, customize your character in a completely unique way, even forming gangs of similarly-styled soldiers (one of the trailers for example shows a gang of punks versus a trio of guys that looked like they just came back from shooting up some cops in “Reservoir Dogs”). Of course, there’s a great emphasis on vehicle action, and just like in GTA you can hijack random vehicles from the streets, engage in drive-bys and adrenaline-pumping chase scenes.

The combat system is very flexible, and you’ll have to think out of the box to be successful in APB – forget about ducking behind a crate and popping up only to empty your magazine – in APB, this is only effective until someone decides to ram their truck in said box – which, we assure you, will happen before you’ve even considered it as an option. The streets are chaotic, and with over 100 players in a single town you can have some massive shootouts, even playing on the side of the police if you wanted. The total world consists of over 100,000 players split into towns, so you can imagine the overall feeling the game produces.

Graphics and System Requirements

Yet another title on the Unreal Engine 3, Realtime Worlds have made numerous modifications to the engine to help it handle the large worlds better. It performs very well in drawing the huge cities and the various detailed vehicles and players with all their customization options. The city skyline looks beautiful as you’re cruising around with your gang in another stolen vehicle, and of course the combat parts of the game see the most attention to detail, with large explosions and lots of special effects.

Other

The game sadly requires a monthly fee to play – your initial purchase of the game itself only gives you about 50 free hours, after which you’ll have to pay up and subscribe. But seriously, there’s no room for even wondering here – no other game can offer you a similar experience right now, so the price is more than justified.

Conclusion

APB should definitely see lots of success. It’s already proving to be highly popular among players, and some of the innovations it brought to the genre will surely become a staple of it.

Champions Online Review

Massive multiplayer games are no longed limited to RPG titles, and it has been like that for a while now – as technology kept improving, developers were given new ways to incorporate massive worlds that can handle hundreds/thousands of players, yet still do this in a genre that requires more detail than an RPG – such as shooters, adventures, etc. Champions Online leans more towards the action genre, with lots of references to super heroes – and those of you familiar with the “Champions” comic books should already have a good idea of the premise of the game.

Gameplay

The game concentrates mainly on the action aspect, giving the player various ways to dispose of their enemies in direct combat. There is a good combo system that allows you to gain steady bonuses from consecutive hits, and the combat feels nice and smooth, despite the game being played online – a common problem with making online versions of fighter games is that lag can make all the difference between losing and failing, and a lot of players aren’t willing to sacrifice that much of their skill aspect – this isn’t a problem here though.

There are some very cool options for character customization, such as setting your own custom animations for your character, allowing it to move around in a manner entirely designed and customized by you. This is something unique in this genre, as we’ve never seen another game that offers such a fine degree of customizing your character and making it more personal – imagine giving your guy a “tough” walk and the appropriate outfit – and you can easily stand out from the rest.

Graphics and System Requirements

Some very eye-catching graphics await you at Champions Online, as the Game Tech engine allows for some great levels of detail, both on the characters and the surrounding environment. Fights are accompanied by the appropriate cool-looking effects, and you can easily recognize what attacks your enemy is using on you, or may be planning on using – allowing you to better coordinate your own style of play.

There are lots of references to popular culture as well, especially other games – if you’re an avid gamer, you should easily recognize some familiar characters, both as NPCs and probably as elements for character customization. It’s quite interesting to see someone reminiscent of Team Fortress 2′s Heavy Weapons Guy running around, or perhaps your favorite supervillain from a cartoon – you’re very likely to recognize such elements here.

Other

The game is for PC only, even though an Xbox 360 version was planned at one point, but it was canceled a few months before the PC version came out. Also, if you’ve played lots of RPGs before, you’re probably well-familiar with the HERO character creation system – the one used in Champions Online is very similar to it, and you should feel just at home picking your character’s traits and stats.

Conclusion

Champions Online is a delightful combination of solid action and deep RPG elements, all put together in a captivating world. It’s an experience you shouldn’t miss at any cost!