Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
MSRP: Free To Play (Does include micro-transactions)
Rated: T for Teen
Release Date: February 4, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
The battle royale genre of gaming is all the rage these days thanks to Epic Games juggernaut Fortnite. Many games have stepped up to challenge Fortnite as the king of the Battle Royale, just as many have failed. Even games with the lineage of Call of Duty have come up short in their quest to dethrone the king of battle royale. Apex Legends is developer Respawn Entertainment and publisher Electronic Arts attempt to at the throne. Can they be successful? In reality, as long as there are ten-year-old kids in this world, probably not. What they can be successful at is providing an alternative to Fortnite. A ruler of another kingdom so to speak. Is Apex Legends capable of knocking on the door of the Fortnite kingdom? Let’s have a look.
By now you probably know what a battle royale game is. I mean even Tetris has a battle royale game at this point. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a battle royale game drops you somewhere, typically an island of some sorts, with nothing more then the clothes on your back. You are then tasked with scoring the map for weapons, armor, and equipment to be used to dispatch of your foes until you, and you alone are the sole survivor. Unless your playing in a team mode, then there are other winners, but you get my point. Apex Legends currently only plays in a team mode that sees teams of three fight for survival.
For the most part, Apex Legends follow the formula to a T. However, Apex Legends does a few things that set it apart from the competition. Those things are what not only make it stand-out, but they also make it a great game. The first feature of Apex Legends that instantly helps set it apart from other battle royale games is right in the title, the legends. Apex Legends borrows a page from Overwatch in the form of Legends. Each legend has At the time of this writing, there are 8 total legends to play as. Two of those legends are locked behind a paywall. Caustic, a tank-like character that uses poison gas to stop his foes. The other pay to play character is my personal favorite, Mirage. Mirage can create clones of himself to throw the enemy off his trail. Each of the other legends has special abilities that really set them apart from the player characters of a game like Fortnite that just skins in a world. Speaking of skins, Apex Legends is heavy on the customizable microtransactions. While you can earn currency in game to unlock all the products, it would seemingly take decades to collect them all. The legend skins, of which there are many, is a slight gripe of mine. Character skins in games are cool of that there is no doubt. Skins in a first-person game such as Apex Legends lose some appeal. The only time you really see your character is in the menus, when you are jumping into the map, and when you die. The third-person perspective of Fortnite makes it much more suited to selling character skins. This really is a shame because the art design of the legends and their skins is great. The weapon skins in Apex are leaps and bounds above those of Fortnite and are sometimes worth the cost. In the end, the main seller of Apex Legends microtransactions will no doubt be additional legends, which have been confirmed to be on the way.
The gameplay of Apex Legends is fast paced and frantic. Movement across the map is aided by zip lines that allow you to move quickly from place to place and some can allow you to redeploy to cover large chunks of ground quickly. There is also a slide that will feel familiar to players of Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment’s other big title, and the universe in which Apex Legends takes place. This mechanic is great for both travel and combat. The best gameplay improvement though is without a doubt the ping system. This allows for you to highlight an item, place or enemy in the game and tell your teammates what it is, where its at, or places you may want to go. This is amazing even when you are already using a headset. It also brings voice acting into the game. This provides life to the legends and creates a sense of realism missing in other battle royal games. The gunplay in Apex Legends is tight and precise. Weapons feel and perform differently making your loot choices important. The right weapon and attachments can bridge the skill gap. Another stand out feature in Apex Legends is the respawn system. When you are eliminated, teammates can pick up your banner and take it to a respawn center that allows for you to be brought back into the fight. Death is only permanent if your banner is not claimed and revived in a certain amount of time, or if your entire team falls at once. This is great. Reviving teammates and then going on to win the match is a great feeling. Speaking of feeling. Everything in Apex Legends feels right. Gunfire, reloads, running, jumping, sliding and gliding all feel near perfect. The overall presentation is fabulous. If there is one part of the presentation that is lacking, it is the music. The score is dull and repetitive. It is a minor issue in an otherwise stellar presentation package.
There are a few aspects missing that keep Apex Legends from ascending to the apex of battle royal games. I would love to see a practice mode that allows you to get a better feel for the weapons and enhancements outside of trial and error in matches. Stat tracking could also be improved. A few graphical bugs have popped up on occasion as well. It is early in the games life, so I’m sure fixes will be made. None of the bugs I encountered were game crippling, but they happen enough that they must be mentioned.
Apex Legends is a game that takes the best parts of Fortnite, Overwatch, and PUBG and smashes them together, adds a bit of their own seasoning and creates a beautifully satisfying game that is extremely fun to play. If you’re on the fence about battle royales and enjoy first-person shooters you can not go wrong with Apex Legends. Winning my first match was a great sense of accomplishment. Apex Legends is a truly fantastic game that should not be missed.