Like good ol' pot-aholic Tom Petty once said; Every high has to come on down. And he's right on the money. Probably high too, but mostly right as well. Regardless, the game APB suffers from more and more problems the longer you play... So y'know what, time to moan and bitch like an abused trophy wife.
MatchmakingRight, matchmaking in this game is broken. Broken as can be. Everyone notices the problem and RealTime Worlds claims they're right ontop of it - I can see it from their side, the game's only been out for a month or two and revamping the matchmaking system is basically ripping out your lungs and hope you won't run out of air.
Although, another side of this coin is that the game also had a beta for a good 2 months. Problem was there and it carried over.
The exact problem goes like this; There's about 15 ranks of 'threat' in the game, which basically work as a TrueSkill system. Higher ranked players get matched against higher ranked players while newbies sit with the newbies. Thats the theory. Now add the critical flaw-or-fix to it: Notoriety/Prestige.
Five ranks of it, lowest indicates you're a no-one. You won't be attacked or matched against anyone higher than you. At two it gets rougher, you'll be able to be dispatched against but the same old your-rank-or-noone applies. At three the matchmaking system takes a dive for the cocaine and goes royally tits up - You'll be pitted against players that outrank you by a few ranks, atleast.
Still, if you're rolling solo for the duration of it it's no point to complain... However, it takes a even more broken turn when you're in a group. If the entire group has a three star notoriety basically every group out there in the field can take you on regardless of rating and/or threat. My friends and I are all basically at threat 4 and have a rating of about 75-100. At 100 you can get the best batch of weaponry, and at 20 with each faction you can upgrade your character with a health/damage boost.
Basically, we're outranked, outplayed and outgeared in several ways. So if a group of 5 threat 10+ takes on a group of 5 threat 3-5 it'll be a lucky lucky day for the lower players if they somehow achieve victory. It doesn't retract from the fun, as 5 on 5 tactical open-world chaos is awesome. It makes it insanely difficult to progress however. Making the long way to the top a painful grind of constant losing.
CustomizationHoly tit fuck this game has it all. Sure it misses some basics like forcing you to unlock plain decals to use and forcing you to sit AFK in the customization rooms to unlock more clothes and parts for vehicles. But if you do begin customizing, you can get absolutely lost in it.
Long story short, the unlocking literally requires you to spend time customizing stuff. The games' unlock chart works by seconds, Fashionista Rank 1 is 100 seconds, Rank 2 is 300 seconds, and it goes on to Rank 15. Same with Tuner, which is the same but then for vehicles. It's silly to reward people for AFKing out in the booths, cause for the most part the Rank 8-plus requirements are fuckin' insane.
Another big complaint is that if you run a 32bit system, the game will turn your character into a pixelated blob compared to what you see in the customization screen. It'll be tight and sharp on a 64bit system but still, does it have to be such a big dent to the quality if you run a 32x system? Regardless of that, it's wide. It's varied. It's huge. It's basically a Sims game into a GTA game with the amount of dept you can slam into your character.
Your character can also have a themesong that'll play when you kill someone. There's alot of over-used ones like the Mario death-theme and the Axel-F Beverly Hills Cop theme but it's a wicked feature regardless. Got AC/DC's Thunderstruck jamming over myself, but hey. Anyway...
When it comes to vehicles it's nearly as open-ended. You can completely customize the decals to an extend that makes Forza Motorsport 3 rather simplistic. You can upgrade the engine, you can add parts, you can color every panel and prop on your ride. The likes. Your car will truely be your car.
There's about 20 vehicles you can buy and upgrade, and 4 seperate takes on each vehicle. One's a preset, precustomized vehicle with one upgrade. The other 3 are freely customizable but each carry either one, two or three open upgrade slots.
Basically the game does best when it comes to customizing, sadly enough... Thats not even half the game.
Driving & RunningHey, I'm allowed to bring it up! And we all know the handling of Crackdown's vehicles was absolute garbage and the designer of the said vehicles should be beaten by old ladies with big bags. It is better in APB, that's for sure. But err... Yeah... The pick-up I have rides like a boat on ice. The Porsche-like car drives like a bat out of hell, on ice. The cab drives like a Welsh cottage on ice-skates, on ice. The Aston Martin clone drives like a well-set-and-oiled-up-woman gliding down a ski-slope, on ice.
Get the drift? No pun intended...
The movement when it comes to running and walking on the other hand is fluid as can be, which is odd. Usually in games without cover-systems, especially third-person games... Movement tends to be like being a sack of bricks thats pushed down a set of stairs. It's responsive, it's quick, it's very easy to master. It's just right... Weird.
Now ofcourse there's radio in this game. And the game's full of preset music, but one wonderful option is available ontop of it. It's something alot of other games need to take a gander at and steal;
You import your own music and it'll play in your car, or if you enable it on foot as well. In the vehicle it sounds properly muffled and echoes in tunnels. On foot it sounds like you're wearing an iPod or something, crystal clear. Now, the best part is - If your friends share your music taste and have the same music uploaded; It'll play for them too! If they don't, the game picks something alike to it from the default list. Which is pretty neat.
Closing BullshitLotta whining, lotta praising. Long story short, the game has some flaws. Some big ones even. But as is with most MMOs... they'll all be fixed in some magical LSD-induced way over time... Like hell. You will have to put up with the game's critical flaws and make the most out of it... Best I can advise is to not let enemy players get to you, just lose and try to get the most fun and chaos out of it.
Thats what we do, atleast.