Ever since its launch in February 2019, Apex Legends has only become more successful. Respawn Entertainment’s excellent support for the game, especially a recent update which added cross-play, have contributed to continued interest and excitement for every new season. And ever since I began playing at the very beginning of Season 7, the game has become my favorite of the burgeoning “battle royale” sub-genre. And I will be explaining my reasons for why I love it so much, and why it’s worth trying.
1. The Focus on Lore
While many games in the genre have stories, none of them are as interesting as this one to me. Taking place in the same universe as the company’s Titanfall series, the two share many characters and weapons. But there are a lot of other aspects that are unique to Apex.
The major element is its characters-each “Legend” has their own backstory, their own motivations for entering the titular Apex Games, and their own distinctive designs and dialogue. These characters are expanded in the “Stories from the Outlands” series on YouTube, which is expertly animated. Each one is a complete treat, but it doesn’t stop there. The stories are integrated into the gameplay as well. One such example are the characters Revenant and Loba. Revenant, many years prior to the start of the game, killed Loba’s father in an assassination mission. This is frequently mentioned by both characters in dialogue snippets if you have both of them in the same match, or on the same team.
Another example is in the character of Horizon, a scientist who was betrayed by her apprentice and stranded in space for 87 years. Her motivation for entering the Apex Games is to fund her research for time travel, so she can go back in time and see her dead son. This works its’ way into the gameplay with Horizon frequently mentioning her son and her goals. That extra layer of care is exceptionally satisfying and shows the love that the developers have for the wonderful world that they have created.
2. The Gameplay
While many battle royale games, specifically Fortnite, have been critiqued for their simplicity, Apex focuses its sights on being more technical.
It isn’t as complex as, say, Rainbow Six: Siege, but it asks the player to make decisions fast. Sitting in one place is not an option with the ring constantly moving. Apex deftly uses that tension to put you on the edge. The amount of matches I’ve played with the ring closing to a small space, while my heart is beating out of my chest in excitement, is too many to count.
But that is just one aspect, another one is the shooting elements themselves. Respawn has spent many seasons tweaking and adjusting weapons to make the game feel balanced. Now, each weapon has their own pros and cons, and as of Season 8, I feel they have finally achieved balance. No weapon stands over another as being excellent, and that makes looking for weapons in the map feel satisfying, as you aren’t looking for one specific weapon. Any of the weapons can be used viably, just that you have to adapt to them.
Another aspect are the legends themselves. Each legend has their own unique ability set, whether it be Wraith with her portals or Gibraltar with his missile bombardment, each legend feels completely different from the last one.
But none of these things stick out to me quite like the ping system. While not entirely a new concept, Apex uses non-verbal communication with startling effect here. Using this allows you to “ping” areas, enemies, items, and other points of interest. This makes doing voice chat with random players nonessential. The number of times I’ve used it while playing with strangers or even my friends is ridiculous, and it’s an indispensable element of the game itself. Even other games in the genre have begun using similar systems because of how useful it is.
3. The Community
While both of the things I covered previously are specifically relating to the game itself, I want to take a look at the community of the game. Specifically, how Respawn cultivates such a rabid fanbase.
The way that the company and its employees interact with fans is a thing of absolute glory. Head over to the subreddit r/apexlegends right now, and you’ll find out what I mean by that. Developers are talking about their favorite characters and what they are thinking about nerfing or buffing in following patches. Designers are talking about how cool some of the art that gets posted there is. Those are just some of the examples of what goes on there, and videos like the one above show how Respawn pays attention to streamers and players, and their experiences.
This shows that Respawn doesn’t just want people to play their game. They want their fans to feel like they are in creation experience with them, and that connection is amazing. It’s a fantastic feeling when you love a product, and the company that makes it loves making you feel connected. Many gaming companies could learn from this, as it’s one of the things that makes this wonderful game so special.
I hope that in this piece, I have shown to you that my love for this game is wide. If you haven’t tried it, I hope you will give it a shot based on what I have written here. Season 9 is starting on Tuesday, and there’s no better time to get invested than this. Or, if you are already a fan of the game, that this article has helped you pick out some of your favorite things about this one-of-a-kind game. If it has, drop some of them in the comments below!