Apex Legends came out, not only in a crowded part of the year, but in a genre filled to the brim with games trying to stand out. With little-to-no marketing before launch, you’d expect this game to fail almost immediately, but it managed to get 10 million players within the first three days of going live. From a developer who was supposed to be making a Titanfall sequel and a publisher that is treated like the devil himself. Just how did Respawn and EA pull this off? Well, that’s all that kept ringing through my head while playing Apex Legends. That being said, this may have been the refresh that the battle royale genre needed.
At first, I was sceptical when I heard there would be a Titanfall-inspired battle royale “coming soon”, but when the game was revealed I couldn’t help fall for the charisma that exudes from every inch of the trailers. You could tell from the get-go that this was no ordinary battle royale game, but it did look and feel familiar.
The Overwatch-inspired “Legends” characters offer an inherent depth to the game that may not be seen at first. The abilities don’t work well in a solo performance, but as a squad, the abilities start to shine. For example, Bloodhound can track enemy movements which can be paired with a Wraith that is able to open wormholes to teleport teammates short distances.
The abilities force players to work together to take on enemies - and you will have to work together, because they are just as equipped as you are. The differences come into how you collect loot. The typical variations in shields, guns, and upgrades are present. Tiers are comprised of grey, blue, purple, and gold, with each being more useful as they go up. Guns, however, are not spread in tiers (aside from a few special gold tier guns), but their attachments are. Everything from your scope down to your magazines works on this system. You’ll need extended magazines because it is almost impossible to kill an enemy in a single clip.
That being said, it means none of your squadmates are going to attack enemies head on trying to be a hero. Respawn added a nifty communication system to aid with. You can ping enemies, items, and even locations, allowing you to jump into a random squad without fear of being a headless chicken. Respawn really have given you the tools to make this game as friendly as possible, but that doesn’t mean that the game is easy. You still have to have an idea as to what gun would be useful in certain situations, as well as the fact that inventory management is key. You’ll need just enough space to store ammo, medic supplies, grenades, and attachments.
Many may be thinking that the lack of wall-running or jetpacking detracts from the core Titanfall gameplay but the boots-on-the-ground approach is still very fast-paced. In a matter of minutes, you’ll find yourself sliding about the multiple slopes within Apex Legends and traversing the map with relative ease. If that’s not enough, Respawn added a tether in some portions of the map that will allow you to jetpack your way out of the area. However, doing so will make you visible to everyone on the ground and could cause you to get shot down.
As for map design, it’s just a few aspects short of brilliant. If I were to be picky, certain areas are too open, causing players to camp in crevices and pick off unsuspecting prey. It changes the tone of the game somewhat, because everything has been clearly designed with fast-paced gun gameplay in mind. Other parts of the map make you feel like you should always be on the move, thanks to smaller towns creating more intimate battles with enemies. The way loot is distributed around the map makes you feel a lot less concerned about looting, and more about engaging in combat. The map isn't that big overall, making it easier to traverse and a lot more engaging to play. The player limit is set to 60, which is understandable for the size of the map, but this just adds to the fast-paced nature of the game.
Most battle royale games cause you to sit back and camp, trying to outlive your opponents. Most cases in Apex Legends feel a lot different. When faced with enemies, I don’t feel like I’m going to die, but rather like they’re just another obstacle in my path to glory. That is thanks to this game’s personality.
This is a battle royale designed to make you feel good about yourself in a survival situation. You aren’t just 1 of 60 surviving on a random island, but rather, the 1 of 60 who will dominate anything that comes their way. That boost of confidence comes from the overall package of the game. The characters themselves are rather egotistical, which slowly starts to trickle down into your gameplay with every encounter you win. Then there’s the music that gives you a little jostle in the right direction. The game has a way of making you feel like you’re going to come out on top, and that is accompanied by the overall polish of the game.
Apex Legends is a battle royale that has given me faith in the genre. It is a game that both fans of Titanfall and battle royale lovers will enjoy. The experience may be different to some due to the learning curve, but this game is filled to the brim with enjoyment. For a title that was launched without a word of warning, it really has left a lasting impression.
Will defend anything Dragon Ball. Occasionally has two-way conversations with himself. Has sleepless nights about Half-Life 3 confirmed.
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