I’m really not fond of Battle Royale games. Whilst I can recall very fond memories of playing ‘Survival Games’ with my friends on Minecraft many years ago, the recent explosion in popularity the genre has seen has left me completely and utterly uninterested.
My first exposure to Fortnite, and the Battle Royale genre as a whole, was at my cousin’s house on Christmas eve. He practically thrust the controller onto me and ordered me to play; and after around 30 minutes, several kills to my name, and a few dozen rounds launched into my corpse, all I could think to myself was “that was just really dull.” Slow paced gameplay, with a barren empty world, and in all that time I only came into contact with about 5 other players. I’d rather be playing PlanetSide 2…
Then, out of nowhere, I got news that Titanfall developers, Respawn Entertainment, had just released a new Battle Royale game, “Apex Legends” and my immediate response was something along the lines of “oh god, not another one.” However, when I received a barrage of messages from my friend in the middle of the night, exclaiming how amazing the game is, it suffices to say my interest was piqued. So, I dusted off the Origin launcher and set about installing the game. Upon booting it up, I was greeted by an intro cutscene, winning some brownie points for making me intrigued about any shreds of lore this game had to offer.
Which brings me onto my first point, Apex Legends reminds me of Overwatch. “Ludicrous!” some might shout, whilst chasing me down the street with their pitchforks and torches, but hear me out. You select a character that fulfils a specific role, with a distinct personality, and although Apex hasn’t fleshed their characters out nearly as well as Overwatch, they have the time o change that. Each character has passive abilities as well as a special ability, showing Apex’s emphasis on gameplay over the lore, whilst still leaving snippets of backstory to be expanded on.
Once the intro cutscene had finished, I was greeted with a message at the main menu rewarding me with some additional loot for being subscribed to Origin Access Basic, which is always a nice little surprise; and after playing the incredibly short tutorial which introduced me to the basic mechanics and movement, I jumped into action. One thing I have to give Apex is its emphasis on playing as a squad. Sure, you could go Lone Wolf, but you’ll have better results sticking with your trio, marking areas to scout, items to collect, and covering each other’s backsides from the torrent of bullets that are sure to try and make you their new home.
Although, as with all games of this type, it does suffer from one downside. For the majority of the match, I couldn’t find anyone to sink my precious bullets into. The map may have a lot of care and effort put into the detail and environment, but it also feels so large that you’re going to struggle to find anyone. The ever-present circle closing in does remedy this issue, but at the cost of totally ruining the pace of the battle. The shift from slow paced looting to heated action feels jarring. However, this isn’t so much of a fault of Apex Legends in particular, but more just a personal issue I have with the entire Battle Royale genre.
On the subject of traversal, the movement in this game is incredible. Running, sliding, and if you’re playing Pathfinder (And I mean, why wouldn’t you?) grapple-hooking around is half the fun. It’s a shame that Respawn removed the wall running mechanic that worked so well in Titanfall, but its absence doesn’t take too much away from the overall experience. Whether you’re sliding down a muddy slope, or flying up a zipline and propelling yourself off into the sky, it’s FPS movement at its most satisfying, and a breath of fresh air from the barebones movement of the likes of PUBG and Fortnite.
So, as someone who has very little interest in the Battle Royale genre, what do I think of Apex Legends as a whole? Honestly, it’s fun, but, at least in my eyes, not appealing enough to fully draw me into playing it on a regular basis. I do honestly wish it well in its future, there’s a lot of promise for this to grow into something incredible, and I trust Respawn to succeed in that endeavour; and whilst it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, it does offer a unique twist on the Battle Royale genre, and that’s welcome in my book. I’ll probably continue to play it with my friends whenever I’m looking for something to do. It’s free, it’s fun, there’s no reason for you to not at least give it a shot.
Although if this means that Titanfall 3 is never made then all I can say is. I wish Respawn the best of luck with their future endeavours, but also, give us Titanfall 3.