Battle Royale for the last year or so has been immensely popular in the world of video games and whether you love them or hate them it’s going to be hanging around for a good while. The market is mainly dominated by Fortnite and PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) both offering different flavours and styles in how they go about it.
PUBG with a more modern setting and realistic approach, and Fortnite for its cartoon aesthetics and that every fucker spends more time building a house or skyscraper rather than killing their fellow man – like a twisted version of Grand Designs where Kevin McCloud is on acid. Anyway, following on from their successes and attempts from established IPs like Call of Duty and Battlefield have their own takes on Battle Royale. Respawn Entertainment have come up with their very own take on the Battle Royale Genre – Apex Legends.
Respawn Entertainment was the team behind the Titanfall series (Titanfall 2 is a Hidden gem of a game, so get it in your veins) and originally was founded by former members of Infinity Ward (pre-2010, with games like Modern Warfare, Call of Duty 2 and well before that Medal of Honor Allied Assault). So, they do know how to make a damn good FPS.
Anyway back to the game itself, Apex Legends is set within the Titanfall universe set 30 years after the events of Titanfall 2 – and that’s pretty much the plot really. The game differs itself from the other Battle Royale games with Heroes with predefined abilities and organized into roles such as Offence, Defence, Support and Recon, so, very much like Overwatch/Rainbow Six: Siege. As of writing the review, you have to play the game in Squads. Which with a squad of your best mates at the helm seems fine and dandy, but playing with randoms can be a bit of a pisser when some may have microphones and others don’t. Thankfully Apex Legends have this covered with an easy to use single button communication which to point out weapons, items and other useful information to your teammates which in action is very handy if you don’t fancy talking to your teammates, or can’t.
If you and your team want to redeploy into another area quickly or to get nearer to the safe zone as quickly as possible there are zip lines dotted all around the map which is very handy. Also when jumping out of the jump ship you can have the option of jumping together as a team which is nice when it would have taken coordination from everyone to land in the same square yard in Fortnite or PUBG, and you could still say sod that and go solo if you so, please.
If one of your squadmates is killed via shooting or a unique finisher then it’s not over for that person as you can collect his banner and take it to a nearby beacon to then respawn them back into the fray (with no equipment mind). While takes some of the stakes away from Apex Legends knowing that you can come back if you are killed early on. It does balance out that you can play the game way more aggressively. So, while it’s a good aspect for the game it does take something away.
There is a handy training mode where you can practice with all of the weapons and learn the game before jumping in which will help newcomers to the genre and game itself. other than this is still your basic Battle Royale game mode where 60 people jump into the map, tool themselves up and kill the other squads in an ever decreasing circle and be the last man or squad standing at the end.
The gameplay is very reminiscent of the Titanfall series. The guns feeling very nice and fluid and chunky. So when I unload a shotgun into a bad guy it feels like I’m hitting them with a wild haymaker, or with a sniper feel like that, I’m nailing the target with pristine accuracy. While the wall running and the boost jumps from the Titanfall series is gone it still a fun game to play and is married well to the hero sides with the unique abilities. If you’ve been at the bottom of the sea with a very interesting book or haven’t touched an FPS since May 5th 1992, then Apex Legends is very easy to pick up and play, but much harder to put down.
There are dreaded microtransactions, unfortunately (but as the game is F2P it’s to be expected) and while some heroes have to be purchased with in-game currency which is a bit of a pisser, but it mainly contains in them character or weapon skins, banners and emotes, there are loot boxes in the game, which while far from a good thing and is a glorified slot machine in short.
It isn’t to the extent of Star Wars Battlefront 2 where it did affect gameplay rather than cosmetics so it’s very easily ignored as loot boxes should be in my books. There is one map at the moment but with new maps and more as well (weapons, heroes and skins) on the horizon depending on its success (so yes obviously).
On a technical level there were no glitches or bugs to report from my time with the game and servers which for EA standards hasn’t been a total shit show. And graphically looks very nice and pleasant and the heroes while has that familiarity to Overwatch still differentiate itself and brings its own style across successfully with their abilities and personalities.
One more thing I do want to say before finishing this review off, and its to do with its release and marketing because normally any triple AAA publisher would have more money than sense In promoting the game through every sort of means available. And would have had a pre-rendered trailer ready for that years E3 and either tell the release date and be slightly vague or be vague completely.
With Apex Legends, however, they’ve kept it quiet till it was finally released which was a pleasant surprise even by EAs standards, allowing to form our own opinions of the game first hand without witnessing the marketing onslaught. While this isn’t completely unique as there have been cases where games were released during their announcement at E3, makes it more of a nice surprise.
In short, Apex Legends is a good game that puts its own spin on the ever-growing battle royale genre with playable heroes with unique abilities, nice and chunky gameplay with that Titanfall familiarity which is easy to pick up even if you have one arm (Google that to find out folks this isn’t a joke). With little changes with respawns and communication between your squadmates makes it a different and approachable challenge. Compared to its competition for me seems quicker and balanced with the size of the maps with the players, as of this moment, I can’t be 100% confident and say this is game to challenge PUBG and predominantly Fortnite dominance of the market in the long term however going by the rate it’s grown – 1 million players in 8 hours after launch, 2.5 million unique players in 24 hours, over 10 million unique players after 3 days and 1 week later after launch 25 million unique players, and is the most popular game streaming on twitch right now.
It does certainly have the potential to do so, and it will be interesting to find out.
Apex Legends does stand out in the endless pool of the Battle Royale genre with the hero gameplay spin on it and its solid gameplay as well with the nice touches as well, while it not in the position to challenge for the no 1 spot yet, but well placed to do so in the long term.
- Solid gameplay
- Playable heroes
- It's free
- One playable map at the start
- Only able to play in squads