If you have put countless hours into games like PUBG or any other battle-royale, you know what fatigue feels like. Constantly dropping out of the sky, grabbing as much armor and weapons as possible then running from house to house, surviving by the skin of your teeth… Until you either get chicken dinner or get jumped by another player you never saw coming. Even faster paced battle-royale games have been stained by over-the-top in-game purchases and the repetitiveness that comes with any game in this genre. If you understand what I am referring to, and even if you don't, playing Apex legends will feel like a breath of fresh air; and with a million players within the first 8 hours, the fans everywhere seem to agree.
Released on February 4th, with only a stream right before launch and a couple of Tweets to advertise it, Apex Legends is now one of the most beloved battle-royales of all time. As of now, there is no cross-platform play, but Respawn vaguely mentioned wanting to allow players to play with friends on other systems. In this review we will examine each intricacy of the surprise battle-royale, leaving no stone, or Apex Pack, unturned.
EA hasn't done any favors for themselves, between the Battlefront II fiasco and Anthems buggy VIP Demo, the company needs to score big. Surprisingly enough they found this much-needed win in a battle-royale of all things. It comes to no surprise that Respawn and EA would want to get a slice of the battle-royale pie that has been cut even smaller in recent years, but no one was expecting a game on the caliber of Apex Legends.
Apex Legends can be found on PC through Origin, Xbox 1, and PS4 for free!!!
The world of Apex Legends shares a universe with the Titanfall franchise, but no, there aren't any titans to commandeer in the game. Although I could tell from playing the game that the intricacy and technological level of the equipment used would be on par with huge soldier-like mechs. For those who were waiting for Titanfall 3 to delve deeper into the lore, this is the next best thing.
The game has an opening that briefly explains the characters, appropriately named Apex Legends. They all have different reasons for joining the battle, most of which are only hinted to in the game. Although we have a year of updates and new content on the horizon, I am sure Respawn will want to delve deeper into the characters just like the wildly popular Overwatch still does.
The first thing that catches your eye when you start playing Apex Legends is, well, the Legends themselves. One of the many twists you can expect from the game is the integration of 3 special abilities per Legend. This takes the gameplay to a whole other level; just imagine you see an enemy squad in a shack across the valley, instead of having a straight-up firefight you have tactical options depending on your Legend. Call down an airstrike, use your sense to see them through structures, or even string a zip line to a better vantage point. These are just some of the ways Legends affect the overall gameplay, but they aren't the only new features being introduced into the battle-royale stereotype.
Squads are now made up into 3 players per squad 20 squads per game, this creates an interesting dynamic all but unseen in the gaming world. Even with the odd number, the system works incredibly well and has only improved the mechanics from the outdated 4-man squad dynamic. Since the number of Legends you can choose from are limited at the moment, this feature makes every time you choose a Legend a crucial decision. Will you play as a healer/support while your friends tank, or will you have high damage potential, the choice is yours.
After choosing a Legend, a screen pops up that is new to the battle-royale genre, it shows you a team from the game your playing and names the best among them the champion, this player was the best in the last match. There is also a kill-leader, this player, appropriately named, has the highest kill count. Both of these players have bounties on their heads, giving a certain sadistic element to hunting down certain squads.
This game really has something for everyone, by handpicking the best parts of some of the most successful games being played right now. A good example of this is the executions or finishers that are performed in a short animation when killing an enemy using melee. Each Legend has its own repertoire of finishers which complement their personality. Bloodhound, for instance, will throw a knife at his victims face, and if you are the unlucky receiver of that knife, it still looks great from your first-person perspective. On the flip side, when you revive a squadmate there is a short animation of your character sticking a needle in your friend bringing him back with all of his gear. If your squadmate dies fully after being knocked down, there is still hope. How? By bringing their tag (which will expire in 90 seconds) to a nearby Respawn Beacon you are giving them a second chance but without any prior loot. These short but entertaining animations break the constant first-person view you will most likely be using for most of the game.
The tools of death used in Apex Legends do not stand out by first glance. There are all the usual categories like Assault Rifles, SMG's, Sniper Rifles, LMG's, Shotgun's, and Pistols. You can personalize your weapons (and your Legend for that matter) with skins of varying rarity. There are 4 levels of rarity in the game when it comes to loot and aesthetics, there is white for Common, blue for Rare, purple for Epic, and yellow for Legendary. This makes picking up loot in the game much easier and quicker if you see a purple (Epic) helmet and you only have a white (Common) one you can immediately pick it up without wondering if it is worth it or not.
Most of the weapons have pretty good damage output, but lots of the clip sizes underperform in a firefight. You'll find yourself jumping around in circles with an enemy doing the same, sometimes reloading 2 or even 3 times before knocking them down. This is especially true for the SMG's which are in dire need of a damage boost. I'm sure as the game is played and more data is recorded, Respawn will inevitability bring the right updates to the combat system.
Ah, the moment you have all been waiting for, details! After many hours running, jetpacking, and more sliding anyone can hope for, I have seen if not all then most of the map, and it is glorious. First off, the jungle aesthetic is some of the best environment integration I have ever seen. You can use the brush to camouflage while sniping your enemies, or quickly use the valleys and shacks for some intense guerrilla warfare.
Now don't worry there is a wide variety of landscapes and environments to traverse through during your journey of survival. Some of the best sniping positions are the large caverns and rocky cliffs that are seen throughout about half of the map. Those who prefer a cozier lifestyle won't feel out of place at all, with the number of buildings and abandoned military bases (which are littered with loot most of the time) the map strives to cater to all.
Graphics & Audio
As a Triple-A FPS title released in 2019, Apex Legends delivers a high-quality fast-paced visual experience which satisfies the average consumer all the way to the pro gamer. The art style for the Legends differs slightly from the rest of the game by giving them a slightly animated tone. Although as I was playing the game some of my friends made the mistake of calling it CoD or even Destiny, so for those who are tired of the Fortnite cartoonish animations this game won't disappoint.
As I did my part to create as much carnage as possible, I didn't run into lots of bugs or anything of the sort. There were a few instances where the game would slow down for my whole squad, making it look like we were walking through a world of honey. Other than that the servers have been holding and my frame-rate has been steadily at 60 fps.
After getting in my first game I was surprised to hear fully-voiced character lines ranging from the most insignificant comments to the tactically imperative 'pinging' which is a new and exciting feature in the game that allows players to 'ping' almost anything. Every time you 'ping' something, let's say a level 3 helmet, your character will say something along the lines of, "Level 3 helmet over here" and a point-of-interest will appear on the map for your squad. This is probably the most innovative change Apex Legends has made. Bringing together people of all languages, with headset or without, all players can communicate effectively and concisely.
Unlike other franchises like Cod and Battlefield, the weapons in this game aren't recorded from their real-world counterparts. Differentiating an assault rifle and a sub-machine gun becomes a difficult task, but when someone is trying to take off your head with a sniper, you'll know more times than not. The environment itself doesn't have much wildlife to speak of, hence missing sounds of the wild, but the pings from your squad and the sounds of your footsteps easily fill the void.
Yes yes, there are micro-transactions, but hey it's a free game. There are 3 types of currency, Crafting Materials, Legend Tokens, and Apex Coins. Crafting Materials unlock cosmetic items, while Legend Tokens, as the name suggests, unlock Legends and store exclusive cosmetics, finally, Apex Coins unlock various store items. You can acquire Crafting Materials from Apex Packs, and obtain Legend Tokens by leveling up. A necessary evil resides within the Apex Coins' origin; Apex Coins are only purchasable by real-world currency. Alas, it is a free game and it is an incredible one at that.
Admittedly there are a few cool cosmetics and animations in the store. Something like a golden dragon wrapped around your sniper rifle could tempt a person, but all jokes aside, since the Legends are so prominent in the game, getting a new stance or execution could be really entertaining.
At the end of the day, I have yet to play a better game in this over-saturated genre. Given that the game had no hype or any advertising leading up to it, the player base is very impressive and the reactions to the game are even better. Respawn was playing a dangerous game by changing up the squad number to 3 and adding an Overwatch Hero element, but all of it paid off in the long run. With new updates and a flood of new content announced for the coming year, this game seems to be reaching for the skies. There may not be Titans but the pure replayability of this game has made up for most if not all of its insignificant faults. Now if you don't mind, I am going to go back to playing some Apex Legends.
|+ Tactical Hero Abilities||-- 1 Game Mode|
|+ Fast-Paced Gameplay||-- Low Clip Size|
|+ 3 Man Squads||-- No Cross Platform Play|
|+ Beautiful Map|