Apex Legends may be turning a corner with their development team, with the new update addressing many of the game’s limitations, pre-update. With all new content including LTMs, weapons, and new Legend classes, the game is heading in the right direction. The update released on February 14 boasts new features to learn in every game mode and it gives loyal fans a brand new experience with the shooter. While this is one of the best updates in recent memory, it could still be improved upon and I have categorised the new features into groups to review what Revelry has given to the community.
The new Legend Classes have been a breath of fresh air that should alter team compositions and have profound effects on team building in the future. In ranked, having one of the Recon characters was a must-have for both aggressive and passive teams as they looked at the next ring location with their Recon passive while being able to track enemies with their individual abilities. Now with the changes to the Recon class, the Recon class feels more aggressive as their scans reveal enemy locations, which is more suited for teams who want to play the edge of the ring and force fights by tracking opposition teams. Contrarily, for teams who want to play it safe, Controllers will be able to scan for the next ring and these Legends excel in fortifying small spaces and bunkering down inside the safety of the ring.
These kinds of differences also feel more in line with the characteristics of the Legends themselves. It didn’t really make sense that Pathfinder and Valkyrie could scan for the next ring, but it does make sense that Crypto and Bloodhound can scan for enemies on the map as their bread and butter is gathering intel on enemy teams around the map. While this should alter compositions, it feels like every Legend fits their class in a more meaningful manner, which was probably due to the previous class system being outdated due to the increase in Apex Legends’ roster size since the beginning of the game four years ago.
The shakeups to the meta have also been much needed with the nerfs to Horizon and Seer especially significant as they no longer have clear meta dominance like they used to. As a Bloodhound user, it has been very fun to use the White Raven as a means of tracking enemies and I feel Bloodhound suits a more aggressive playstyle while Crypto wants the info to get away from people or get advantageous positioning first. Seer feels like he excels in controlling the area around him most out of the Recon Legends, and I think all of them have a unique value proposition despite all being lumped under the same ‘scan Legends’ group.
The buffs to Pathfinder and Wraith for their ultimates make their abilities feel more responsive in a battlefield situation, and I think they are healthy buffs without making them too powerful as they haven’t buffed their most powerful abilities while countering the power creep of new Legends with more dynamic and influential ultimates.
As someone who still sees a lot of Horizon play in ranked, it is easier to fight them while they are on Gravity Lift as they don’t feel like they’re strafing on solid ground while being 50 metres above me. They’re still powerful enough and all of their abilities can massively swing the battle in their teams’ favour which still makes her one of the strongest Legends in the game.
As someone who often duos with a Lifeline main, the decrease in Care Package drop time is significant as the Lifeline can drop the Package in front of them while running forward, and there’s less downtime and not so much standing around awkwardly while every other team on the map now knows where you are. Early Care Packages can provide a lot of value with big heals and better armour for the squad, and Lifeline provides an opportunity for teams to play closer together, which suits her kit very well.
The Pleasantly Surprising
The Firing Range needed an overhaul and it got one in a pretty meaningful way. The strafing bots, hit markers, infinite ammo and weapon accuracy stats make warming up in the Range feel more meaningful and useful. It’s also useful when warming up with a friend as you don’t have to do constant runs back to the floor ammo. The weapon accuracy is a good improvement that tracks your performance with weapons giving players quantifiable evidence of their accuracy. It’s good the devs are listening to user feedback and incorporating some of the strengths and successes Apex Legends Mobile had and we can all hope that the community feedback is incorporated for quality-of-life changes in the future.
The Anniversary Collection is very distinctly ‘meh’ in comparison to previous years. While the skins cycle through three different themes, they have all been pretty disappointing in comparison to the previous cosmetic items in terms of design. The Battle Pass is interesting and is pretty good, but the Anniversary Collection Challenge Rewards also feel very underwhelming for a celebration of the 4th year of Apex. For those who aren’t spending a lot of money in-game, I’d recommend buying the Battle Pass and unlocking the two free packs through the Anniversary Collection Challenge to have something to remember the game’s fourth Anniversary with.
The fact that the Anniversary Collection gives Heirloom shards is probably a bonus for those who are going to complete the event skins as they give users freedom of choice over what Heirloom they are going to get or save up for. As far as Anniversary Collections go, I think this one has been the most disappointing one to date, but it does get some things right, which puts it in the ‘Meh’ category.
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Revelry and the Anniversary Collection Event are now live on all platforms 🎉 pic.twitter.com/JFDyqhbGIz
— Apex Legends (@PlayApex) February 14, 2023
The ‘Needs Improvement’
Team Deathmatch was meant to be the crown jewel of Season 16 and so far, the game mode has been fun but disappointing to play. The 6v6 mode is always the same with each side of the map elevated and the middle being a valley outside the hectic Skulltown. The problem with this sort of map construction is that it makes it impossible to safely cross from one side of the map to another through the middle, making rotations difficult. If you find yourself in the middle without an escape ability, you get shot from every angle possible.
Skulltown doesn’t suffer from the middle of the map being a free for all shooting range, but Pathfinders and Horizons are must-haves in these maps as players flock to the bones above the building and start lasering all the people below them with the Nemesis or some other mid-to-long-range weapon. The bones being in bounds feels limiting as only certain legends can get on them in a timely manner, and even if you force them off, Pathfinders and Horizons can heal while they drop and then grapple or Gravity Lift back up, making it frustrating. Skulltown suffers with one spawn being fairly disadvantageous compared to the other spawn, which makes it frustrating and difficult to win the initial engagement without a lot of manoeuvring as the other side can get up to high ground on top of buildings quicker. Making the spawns uniform would add to parity and making the bones out of bounds is an essential step in making Skulltown a viable TDM map.
Another disappointing aspect is the balance of the loadouts. I am not going to get into the keyboard and mouse vs controller debate but some of the loadouts are made for controllers to fry with, and since the Nemesis is so overpowered, pairing it with an underwhelming gun like the P2020 also makes the loadout limiting to play with. I understand developers want to incorporate an experience for all players to enjoy all of the funs in the game, but having that one person pick the Charge Rifle loadout is also super frustrating to play against as teams play backed off and closely huddle together while sniping you from the other side of the map. I’m sure this isn’t how the devs envisioned the game to be played, but I see it more often than not with full trios stacking a side of a map with their long-range poke and sticking together for safety in numbers. Getting rid of Snipers from this game mode may be a good idea. Perhaps building a mode specifically for sniper gameplay and removing them from these quick and high-tempo game modes could be beneficial for the pacing and combat experience it can bring.
The amount of leavers in the play mode is also alarming and I understand Respawn has put in measures to counteract these behaviours with penalties for disconnecting. However, I can hardly blame them when I see a 3 stack of Arena Predators and Masters players on the opposing team stomping the life out of my teammates repeatedly. Matchmaking and MMR have long been a problem in Apex but the problem is exacerbated in the TDM mode. Pulling Masters and Arena Predators constantly to have them farm you over and over again can be disheartening. Overall it has been disappointing that Respawn has not learned from the limitations of Control and hasn’t been proactive about fixing the limitations of LTM game modes in the game.
A quick update from the @PlayApex team on Team Death Match. Read on below! 👇 pic.twitter.com/TUEOyyvxYO
— Respawn (@Respawn) February 16, 2023
Despite all the problems, this update is one of the best updates the game has had in a while and is something that can be built upon in the future. It is encouraging to see the developers be responsive to user feedback, and their approach to balancing new content gets a lot of things right compared to previous updates. Hopefully, Apex can build on this upwards trajectory and iron out its kinks so it can return to the prominence it once had in the shooter scene.
Enjoy the new update and download the game.
Check out what’s new in Season 16.
Source: Revelry patch notes