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Play new MMO APB this weekend for free

Play new MMO APB this weekend for free

Baby, you can drive my car

We've not covered MMO All Points Bulletin, better known as APB much here on bit-tech before but in part that's down to its long and convoluted development and the fact that as we've been beta testing it, we're under NDA. What we can say is that it's a cops-and-robbers game with players forming both the forces of law and the forces of disorder. The character creator is exceptionally detailed, and as well as fighting on foot, you can jump in a car and drive around like a lunatic.

Developers Realtime Worlds have been beta testing the game for months, and it's now close to completion. The developers are running a special weekend long event to celebrate, called Key To The City - and we've got a few keys to enable you to see what the fuss is about.

Here's what you get: "Your Key to the City, you will have unlimited access to the Social District (where you can customise your characters, clothing and car, design symbols, play with the music editor and use the marketplace), and five hours of gametime in the Action Districts."

We're going to give them away using our Twitter account, starting at 4pm UK time - that's in 1 hour from now!

In order to win a key, you'll need to be following us on Twitter and send us a message - using @bittech in the message entry box on Twitter.com or in your Twitter client - with the name of your favourite cop or robber. Once you've got your key, check out the FAQ here for instructions on how to redeem it.

Please note, these are for UK and European users only!

The codes are coming to us courtesy of AMD graphics. Played the beta already, or tempted by a GTA IV style MMO? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Updated: And we're done! Thanks for taking part, and enjoy the game!

46 Comments

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BlackMage23 18th June 2010, 15:27 Quote
Shame I don't use Twitter.

By the way, does it have to be a real cop or robber or can you use fictional ones?
Sifter3000 18th June 2010, 15:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMage23
Shame I don't use Twitter.

By the way, does it have to be a real cop or robber or can you use fictional ones?

Fictional is fine :)
BlackMage23 18th June 2010, 15:33 Quote
Twitter is blocked at work for me so that's me out anyway.
LeMaltor 18th June 2010, 15:34 Quote
Twitter? No thanks.
BlackMage23 18th June 2010, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
Twitter? No thanks.

Yeah, would have been nice to try Crackdown online (which is what APB basically is).
Idioteque 18th June 2010, 15:39 Quote
looks a good game, but not good enough to make me open a twitter account *shudders*
Unknownsock 18th June 2010, 15:40 Quote
Theres been like 50000 keys on eurogamer for free.
And didnt this start last weekend already?
Although you can only play for 5 hours.

Pretty fun game though i might give it a shot. Runs in eyefinity too!
logonui 18th June 2010, 15:43 Quote
This is one of the MMO's that I've been following for a while. I managed to get a very early beta pass but could never quite get any decent game time due to clitches and bugs. I might have to take another look and see if they've been sorted out. I think there's a lot of potential in APB but as many many other MMO's have proven, it's hard to get it right!
BlackMage23 18th June 2010, 15:44 Quote
"runs to eurogamer"
NuTech 18th June 2010, 15:47 Quote
I was in the beta for APB and while it initially showed promise, its current state is straight busted.

Calling it unfinished doesn't even begin to cut it - performance is poor, combat is horrible and draw distance is limited to something stupid like 100ft (to reduce server strain) which makes car chases near impossible because players keep disappearing in front of you.

Then there's the crazy payment model, it's insane. Apparently playing against 80 other people justifies ongoing fees? I guess they haven't played Battlefield, MAG or Mount&Blade.

But the character creator is cool (when it works right).

Fun fact: when the release date was announced, the game client version number jumped from v0.6.4 to v0.9.8 in one patch (which only contained a new tutorial, inventory screen and bug fixes) in the space of a week. I think the date surprised the devs tbh.
jrs77 18th June 2010, 15:58 Quote
I can only say, that people shouldn't really bother...

I've tried it out as it sounded very good and like alot of fun, but the game is actually plain awful.
WildThing 18th June 2010, 16:05 Quote
Entered. Awaiting my key:D
B1GBUD 18th June 2010, 16:07 Quote
I don't do tweets.... ghhaarrr
bogie170 18th June 2010, 16:17 Quote
I played the beta too and it was crap. I wouldn't hold much hope of the final release version of being any good.
BlackMage23 18th June 2010, 16:20 Quote
Sounds like I'm not missing much. Maybe after 6 months when its all patched up properly then it may be worth a go.

Side note. It would be nice if someone could bring out a mmo that didn't feel like a beta test on release.
aLtikal 18th June 2010, 16:21 Quote
So you calling a game thats not been released, or finalized "crap". Beta's are called Beta's for a reason...
Sifter3000 18th June 2010, 16:29 Quote
Best answer so far: "Rebus, he drinks in my local" :)
NuTech 18th June 2010, 16:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aLtikal
So you calling a game thats not been released, or finalized "crap". Beta's are called Beta's for a reason...
The game is done, it's no longer a beta (v.1.2 iirc), Key to the City went live. It's finalized and still crap.

Hopefully they get an influx of cash and make APB into the game it should of been, not what it currently is.
iwog 18th June 2010, 16:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aLtikal
So you calling a game thats not been released, or finalized "crap". Beta's are called Beta's for a reason...

GOD DAMIT, most beta's are pretty polished. What you're talking about is an alpha, Dorf Fort is in alpha, its broken at times but it still plays.

WoW PTRs are beta, they're for shaking down and making sure most of the bugs are out, they still have 90% of the balance there and 100% of the content.

I have played the APB free weekend and it feels broken. Solo content is a crap shot, and there doesn't feel to be any real progression other then the odd gun here or there. You're not really given a real direction to head in and everything feels inconsequential. I will give them their dues, the editors are amazing and you can spend hours customising everything.
Veles 18th June 2010, 16:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aLtikal
So you calling a game thats not been released, or finalized "crap". Beta's are called Beta's for a reason...

It is very soon to be released, when you compare this beta to something like wow, that was incredibly well polished.

It is a big problem with MMOs, there are so many being released that just don't feel any way finished, and I don't see APB getting the massive improvement it needs to be considered a releasable game by non-MMO standards by the time it's released.

There have been several MMOs I've played that have been quite unfinished at release, but they were good games because while the content wasn't quite there (which is easy to patch in later) the core gameplay was well polished.

That's the thing a lot of MMO developers are doing wrong IMO. They're focusing on getting lots of content there rather than focusing on getting the core of the game right.

I've been playing the game for a bit, and while I don't think it's as bad as the shambles that is STO, it's still not quite up to scratch, however, I haven't got into the meat of the gameplay yet so my opinion of it could change either way.

If I compare this to Pirates of the Burning Sea, I played the beta, the content was a little sparse for PvE, but they had gotten the ship combat and player economy down. The controls were tight and it was well balanced. I could see that I could subscribe upon release and enjoy what content they did have there and by the time I was bored of that they should have released new stuff. However, with STO and to a certain extent with APB, it's too stodgy. I wouldn't find the game enjoyable while they fixed it to a playable standard.
pimonserry 18th June 2010, 18:08 Quote
It's on EA too, I got my key from Sapphire though.

Just started playing tonight...
Xtrafresh 18th June 2010, 18:16 Quote
ok, i have my key, let's see how it works :)
cheeriokilla 18th June 2010, 18:32 Quote
This game sucks, what you get is this:

A game that by stating to be a MMO lacks polish on such basic things as: animations, lag-free shooting and driving, repetitive missions. So basicaly the gameplay is broken.

What you DO get is VERY NICE customization. That's cool if what you like to play is dress up and pimp my car

I'd rather buy a very good non-mmo shooter like BFBC2, Shattered Horizon or COD4 than buy an mmo-shooter that lacks on the shooter side just because you get to look like a douchebag while you're TRYING to shoot down or run over people.... Don't waste your time on this one lads
burnoutuk 18th June 2010, 18:33 Quote
Cheers Bit-Tech, got my key.
Will report back later :D
Sifter3000 18th June 2010, 18:39 Quote
And we're done! Thanks for taking part, I'm off home to watch the England match :)
HourBeforeDawn 18th June 2010, 18:49 Quote
Woot got my KEY, now I just have to way until I get off work to give it a shot ><
Skiddywinks 18th June 2010, 21:02 Quote
I got in the beta, but got kinda bored with it quite quickly.
thehippoz 18th June 2010, 21:05 Quote
I smell bacon!
flaming_goat 18th June 2010, 21:12 Quote
whats the point in a limited free weekend. If the game is any good, then surely an open free weekend would attract loads of players to the game. I often buy games after trying them at a free weekend, or dont if i dont like it.
Phalanx 18th June 2010, 21:21 Quote
I just tried this myself and the game is clunky, unresponsive in terms of controls and really, really lacking in ideas. Very boring, not worth the effort imo. Uninstalling now.
HourBeforeDawn 18th June 2010, 21:49 Quote
Whoops lol sorta didnt read the whole thing so this is not for people in the US ^^;;

Well folks who wants a key???

Edit: seeing if anyone on my facebook wants it that qualifies, if its a no go there, then who ever wants it here will get it.
Simnol 18th June 2010, 22:10 Quote
All gone :(
Guinevere 18th June 2010, 22:27 Quote
It would seem there isn't anyone out there saying good things about this game...

Pop Quiz... seeing as I have my key?

Is it worth me wasting the wear on my SSD even installing this? Let alone my time.
Phalanx 18th June 2010, 22:33 Quote
Guinevere, there are far better things to be doing than playing this game. But of course, everything on the internet is "in my opinion".
flibblesan 19th June 2010, 00:14 Quote
aww no, I was at work :(
Hovis 19th June 2010, 03:42 Quote
I think it's a game that really doesn't benefit from an MMO mindset. If you're thinking about things like an endgame, PvE, raiding, quests and so on then you're going to be completely, and quite likely unpleasantly, surprised. APB is a GTA style combat game writ large, with a decent character progression path and spectacular customisation options, and that's all it is. Personally I think it's a lot more solid and playable than any of the other vehicular shooters I've played online such as GTA or Saints Row, which tend to be horribly warpy and laggy, even on good systems with a good connection, and for that reason alone I forgive it most of its sins.
Kenny_McCormick 19th June 2010, 11:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hovis
....

I've got my key yesterday (thanks BT!) and tested it for two hours. I agree with Hovis, I'm not a fan of MMO, but the "groups" idea is fine, so the driving does.

In my opinion, the pay-per-hour mode it's the weakest point.
enciem 19th June 2010, 11:40 Quote
I already played the beta too, it was proper crap. Unless they're going to release a completely different game and it was all an April fools the retail will be rubbish to.
b5k 19th June 2010, 17:07 Quote
I played in the closed beta, the limited play time format made it hard to get a good idea for the game cause sometimes I felt forced to play it just because there was game time. That aside, I very much enjoyed playing the game with friends but as soon as I'm alone, it feels like a grind. The driving is easy to use and can be very fun. Car chases are one of the best aspects of this game. A 4v4 car chase with 4 cars involved is just mania! Each side has 2 drivers and 2 shooters and it can only end in carnage. :)

On another note, the 32bit Beta forced low graphics (including resolution to 800x600!) which made the game blocky and unattractive. Not only that, there was some serious fault on my system causing the game to micro stutter.
HourBeforeDawn 19th June 2010, 19:29 Quote
Wow I cant even give away the key that I got lol ya that speaks volumes about this game...
aLtikal 19th June 2010, 23:08 Quote
WOW my comment was taken out of context!!! LOL. I was aiming it at "Bogie170" in an earlier comment - not the article itself! Sorry lol!! Not slating the article atall! Apolagies haha
Xtrafresh 19th June 2010, 23:43 Quote
I tried it too, and was thoroughly underwhelmed.

The main problem is that there's just no sense of spectacle. Car crashes for example, are just a 'thud', and that's it. No wheels flying around, no cars rolling over, no spinning out of control, just 'thud'. Also, the streets feel empty and flat, and even shooting is totally undramatic.

The whole game is like a bottle of coke that's been open for two weeks.

Thanks for the key though bit-tech :)

Edit:
Oh, right, and it's broken to a rediculous degree. Really, stuff that should even make you think twice about calling a build an Alpha, let alone organise an open beta:
  • on first startup it throws an error: cannot start PhysX something something. Ok, point taken, i run an ATI card. Click OK, and the launcher saw that as an excuse to stop. I had to browse into my install folder to find the launcher and relaunch it manually FFS.
  • 2 minutes later: i'm wathing the intro video. Halfway through, the game crashes to desktop.
  • another 3 minutes later: i'm in the main menu, try to set the resolution to the correct one (eyefinity native resolution of 6048x1200 isn't picked up automatically, but that's forgivable in a Beta), but the game freezes and stops responding alltogether. I manage to escape to desktop through ctrl-alt-del.
  • yet another 5 minutes later: i've been able to select the correct resolution, and find myself in a very elaborate character editor. Somebody mentioned that this game supports Eyefinity, but apparently bezel correction is one bridge too far. The menus are all behind the bezels. I atl-tab to the desktop to go and report this issue, as it's a typical Beta-thing. MMO's should be alt-tab resistant ofcourse, but this one really isn't. Crash to windows.
  • Once in windows, it becomes clear to me how blatantly uninterested the developers are with quality: there's no clear place to report my issues.
  • one hour later i try again. In the customisation screen I fool around with it a bit, and after a minute, the game freezes, and stops responding. I manage to close it through ctrl-alt-del.
  • cursing, i give it one last try. I want to at least see the game content after having started the game almost 10 times now! I pick a random character, and start playing. Popup is horrible, to the degree that to see the flames coming from a car, i needed to stand right next to them, with predictable results.
  • After a few hours i notice that i'm not at all entertained or even interested, hit escape, and click exit to windows. The game kicks me in the groin one final time: bluescreen.

In short: it's not a beta.
If you were to pretend it's a beta, it's really unplayable.
Even if you manage to get ingame and play it, it's not entertaining.

I award this game 4,5 wallbashes: :(:(:(:(
kylew 21st June 2010, 02:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aLtikal
So you calling a game that's not been released, or finalized "crap". Beta's are called Beta's for a reason...

They're actually called "betas", but yeah I get your point...
matt... 21st June 2010, 09:56 Quote
I thought it was quite good for what it was - but just wasnt my cup of char... did find the maps (especially backalleys) pointlessly complicated and suffered by struggling to find other players to group with...
grammarye 21st June 2010, 18:13 Quote
I found it a lot of fun, especially once multiple people were involved. Chasing down a pair of criminals, whilst leaning out of a car shooting, as I'm driven at stupidly fast speeds by a guy who could have come straight from YMCA left me speechless with laughter. The attempt at built-in local VOIP is quite impressive too.

Nevertheless, it feels like it needs some more polish; some reason to pay a monthly fee; some hint that there is a bit more than a set of constructed deathmatch PvP games. It should never ever have been called, labelled, or otherwise implied by the devs, journalists, or gamers as an MMO - this is frankly a different genre - I'm not even sure we have a suitable word lined up for it. It's almost Sims meets GTA meets Counterstrike, but with several million bunnyhopping noob-yelling teenagers miraculously excluded.

If I were to highlight one area they need to fix, it's the matching up & balance. One vs two is still no fun, regardless of how stupidly great a shot you are (or the game thinks you are). One vs one can get rather dull if your opposing enemy is thicker than your typical NPC, or if they just run away. Population varied a lot given the method by which Key to the City worked; a lot ran out of time before the next wave of new players hit the action districts.

I think APB strikes me as groundbreaking (automatically therefore being described as garbage by those looking for 'more of the same'), in need of polish, yet capable of creating a real niche that we haven't seen in a while in the online games market. Time will tell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtrafresh
Oh, right, and it's broken to a rediculous degree. Really, stuff that should even make you think twice about calling a build an Alpha, let alone organise an open beta:
...long list of complaints...
Yet mysteriously, I had no problems whatsoever and had pretty good FPS the entire time, and I'm not the only one. Whilst I empathise with your frustration over the game being buggy on your machine, that does not make the entire game buggy - it means whatever is unusual about your machine was missed in testing (and should get fixed pronto; did you take the time to file a bug report?).

Minor aside: it's extraordinarily difficult to blame a user-mode application for a bluescreen on anything more modern than Windows 98. Bluescreens are firmly in the realm of drivers & kernel applications - sure, they can be called incorrectly, but it's still the driver's fault for hard-crashing your PC, not the game's. Write a note to AMD or Nvidia or whoever made your driver saying, in big letters, 'do not let this happen again'.

...and people wonder why consoles are so popular with games developers (I hate them for it, but hey, you can't deny that common hardware/OS/firmware is a great thing to work with).
Xir 22nd June 2010, 13:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtrafresh
[*] another 3 minutes later: i'm in the main menu, try to set the resolution to the correct one (eyefinity native resolution of 6048x1200 isn't picked up automatically, but that's forgivable in a Beta), but the game freezes and stops responding alltogether. I manage to escape to desktop through ctrl-alt-del.

You're the one who built his computer into his stair-closet no?
How many monitors did you fit in there for 6048x1200? :D
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