Another day, another battle royale game. I have talked about and played many these past few years, so the question is how this game stands out. Is this worth your time? Let’s get into it.
Apex Legend is a free-to-play first-person battle royale game that is essentially Titanfall (minus the mechs) battle royale with hero characters. Taking place in the future, Apex Legends follows various characters who battle it out in an arena for fame and fortune. You play as one of eight hero characters in a group of three facing off against nineteen other groups trying to reach the same goal.
Right off the bat, I knew I was excited for this game because of one thing: Titanfall. I love Titanfall 2, but I didn’t get to have a lot of time with that game because of its low player count. A mixture of that plus a good amount of time since I last played that game made me really want to check this game out. And while this game does have a few aspects stripped from Titanfall 2 like mechs and some traversal mechanics, this game overall plays like the game I fell in love with. This game isn’t just that though. There are more aspects to this game that both improve upon this game and as well as the basics of battle royale that makes this game stand out above it just being a Titanfall battle royale.
One of the first things you will notice about this game (other than it being like TItanfall of course) are the heroes. There are eight characters to choose from (six available right off the bat, two locked behind a pay wall), and each have their own personality and abilities. While the abilities themselves and their personalities are a lot of fun to be around, I actually think the thing I like the least about this game is the fact that there are hero characters in this game. I think they work well together and speak to a more team-oriented game, but I also think hero characters are unfair in a game about having everyone start out fair. It’s fine as of now considering there are only two characters behind pay walls (or a lot of grinding), but I can see this getting out of hand in the future.
In terms of microtransactions as a whole though, this game takes an Overwatch approach to things by offering skins of various rarities for weapons and characters, as well as some new things. One thing this game has are kill taunts, which are tiny cutscenes that play during the game that can be used on downed enemies to fully kill them. While it is a little weird for enemies to be running by me while I do it because they can’t hurt me, I still think it is pretty neat. Also, throughout the game you will see player cards, which can be customized with different background, stats, and poses. I think the new items in this game are neat, but the main issue I am having with the microtransactions is that currency is earned inconsistently. It’s not too big of a complaint considering this is a free-to-play game, but just about everything you earn and receive in this game circles around leveling up, and not based on how well you did in a match. Despite that, I think this game isn’t being too harsh on forcing you to spend money or constantly advertising currency packs, which I appreciate.
Despite starting out rather negatively, I am really enjoying this game. One thing that surprised me the most is how high-quality and technically sound this game is. Other than a slight framerate issue and saying I disconnected from the server after each match (which I then just click play and everything is back to normal), this game has been running very well for me. Also, the presentation this game gives in terms of how well animations look, how many features are in the game, and more make it seem like a game that doesn’t need any updating despite it being out for a very short amount of time. It’s rare to see a game like this come out of the gate fully featured, and this game is one of those.
The basics of battle royale games have been interpreted rather interestingly in this game, and most of it is for the better. The game consists of twenty groups of three, making it sixty people total. The odd number and being forced into a group was a concern at first, but as time went one I felt that they were smart choices. Since the game does have hero characters, it would only make sense that the hero characters work together. The map is on the smaller size, but the lower player count justifies that. The items that you find in the world include weapons, four different ammo types, different types of grenades, a shield with varying rarities that you can pop up when you are downed, armor of varying rarity, attachments of varying rarity, consumables, and more. The items feel in line with most other royale games, but some new additions like the knockdown shield are welcomed additions. Inventory consists of slots, and you can get more by finding backpacks. While I don’t think it is as good as Blackout, it was still fast enough for me to like it. Finally, dropping out of the plane is interesting, as for you travel with your group with the ability to break off at any time. While I think this in-and-of-itself is interesting, I think it leads to a much bigger aspect of this game: just how team-oriented it is.
Working as a team in any battle royale game is recommended, but this game feels like it is needed. Characters only work well together, and many mechanics surround working as a team. I talked about the group jumping, but by far the most important is the revive system. If you are fully dead, your team member can pick up a thing off of your dead body, bring it to one of a dozen-or-so stations scattered around the map, and bring you back into the game. Even though it sounds like a dumb thing to have in a royale game, I think this mechanic is implemented well into the game, as for you only have so much time to pick up the thing off of a member’s body, they spawn with nothing, and there are only so many revive stations around.
The issue with a team-oriented game that forces groups is having a random member without a microphone. What this game does that I feel only a few games have even touched on is add a ping that allows multiple ping types as well as the characters constantly talk about their current situation without sounding annoying. While I know of a few games that have a ping ability, none of them do it as well as this game. Multiple ping types are available, and just about everything can have a ping that clearly states what is of interest. Also, you can hear your team’s heroes talk to each other about the current situation they are in, which is also incredibly helpful. A lot of team-oriented games tend to either forget about the guy without a mic or offer a clunky solution, which is why I am glad that this game nails non-microphone communication so well.
Before I wrap up, there are some other things I wanted to talk about. One aspect that makes Titanfall great is its various traversal mechanics. While some of those aspects have been stripped, many traversal mechanics can still be found in this game. Sliding, mantling, zip-lining, rappelling, and more can be done in this game, and it offers a faster pace without it being too hectic. While not the first game to have this, this game has auto-attaching attachment when swapping out guns, which is a nice addition that I wish more games had. Finally, I just can’t help but enjoy its happier vibe. A lot of other royale games take a more depressing survival approach to the genre, and rightfully so. Despite that, having the different mood is refreshing and enjoyable.
In conclusion, Apex Legends offers the Titanfall experience only a few people got to experience and adds onto it new and better mechanics learned from previous royale games to make a great experience. It falters in very minor ways, and excels in the vast majority of them. When I think about the other royale games I have played throughout the past two years, I feel that this one is high up there for me as my top one. At the end of the day, Apex Legends will be a game I stick with and play consistently, and I recommend you do the same.