Thursday, 28 August 2014

All Points Bulletin (Arcade)

Yeah Bob, before I fire your ass.




There was a time when running around, or driving for that matter, jumping out of cars and baseball-batting hookers wasn't considered the done thing in games with robbers and cops. Before it was cool to be the criminal, glorification of being a police officer was the in thing and few games managed to do it with a sense of humour as APB did.

You won, this is a rare sight later on.

APB stars you as Officer Bob, you're a cop on the beat in your lovely car on the job to bust punks, ticket asshats and make people who've broken down get tickets as well... Ok perhaps not the cop with the cleanest nose and interrogations are certainly more than you think they'd be. But you're the cop on the case, you get to travel the usual daily routine of driving around and ticketing perps before getting back to base. Every few days you'll be given a mission to take down a specific criminal which may or may not involve blowing up their car.

This guy is a dick. Arrest him.

You have the wheel, a pedal, a gun button and siren button. People won't commit crimes while the siren is off but when the siren is on you can bump, crash and do whatever you want. So you can't just leave it switched on the whole time. Each time you balls it up, you get a demerit and too many of those will get you sacked, aka game over. Fail to reach all your quota for the day and you'll get more demerits.

Suspect threw himself down the stairs 14 times.

The game plays quite fast, reaction times for turning corners and adjusting to changes in the level and layout can be difficult to make in time and usually you'll not get back to the HQ in time, but if you've met all your objectives then that won't matter. Interrogating a suspect involves you beating the shit out of them before the boss gets to the door and sees you before you get the confession out of the asshole. Later levels give you a gun to take down the more difficult and determined enemies (if you can buy it at the right place) while doughnuts will give you more time in a level. (Shouldn't they be taking away time while you eat them? I don't really know on this one.

Your new target, requires 2 hits.

There's a LOT behind this game, there's new criminals introduced every few levels and such, with new ways of combating them but the time limit is still very tight in getting to acquire all of your objectives AND bonuses AND not cause problems like crashing the car and screwing everything up while the siren is on, but while it's on the criminals won't commit the crimes that will gain you the points you need to progress. It's a little balance on things but it's done rather well.

Congrats, you fucked up.

Later levels ramp the difficulty up with having some oddly placed barriers and a whole host of different criminals to catch while also keeping an eye on the time and the fuel. That said it's never really an easy game and after about day 4 or so, the difficulty spikes and just keeps on spiking. Though it does strike me as amusing to see other cars on the road move aside when you slap the sirens on so the AI is rather impressive in that regard.

You REALLY fucked up.

The audio is rather impressive as the game has a lot of digitised speech. "Not you again" for when you're picking up hitch-hikers, "pull over, buddy" for some insults and others like "No way!" for stubborn asshats that won't get out the way. It adds to the experience but still leaves the game somewhat lacking with little in the way of a solid tune to accompany it.

No, you can't "take down her particulars".

It's a fun little spin every now and then but the way it's presented leaves a little to be desired and it soon becomes a coin-drainer for the credits.