APB Reloaded's open beta finally launches today following a brief delay last week, adding a bevy of new features to the back-from-the-dead MMO shooter.

Available for download now from developer GamersFirst's website, the beta introduces a brand new skill rating system, redesigned "witnessing" game mechanics and a number new items.

Further improvements are also scheduled for later on in the test phase, including new clan-based combat mechanics aimed at higher level players, matchmaking improvements and new game modes.

"From the start of the development of APB Reloaded last Fall our focus has been to remove obstacles preventing players from having fun," explained CEO Bjorn Book-Larsson.

"While our development and design teams have done an amazing job improving driving, shooting, skill ratings, witnessing and other key elements of the game, I am also thrilled with the changes slated to be released during the latter part of open beta.

"We expect APB Reloaded to set a new bar for what is possible to achieve in a free to play MMO game, and the open beta represents another big step in that direction."

Originally developed by Crackdown studio Realtime Worlds, APB first launched back in July 2010. Reviews were middling and uptake was below expectations, leading to the studio's closure in August.

GamersFirst picked up the rights to the game in November 2010 and have spent the last few months making various gameplay tweaks and switching it over to a free-to-play business model.

Earlier this month it announced that the game's original creator, industry veteran David Jones, had signed on in an advisory role.

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