Anyone who reads my work will probably know that me and Battle Royale games have a fairly sordid past.
I’ve never been a fan of the formula and the over saturation of the market hasn’t done the genre any favours in my mind; I like to think of myself as fairly open-minded and open to something new but so far every battle royale game I’ve seen or tried has failed to bring anything new to the table that really did anything for me. Sure Fortnite has its building mechanic, but that doesn’t really make me want to play it more, especially in the era of cross play where someone with a keyboard and mouse set up can build structures like a termite on speed while I’m stood there fumbling around with awkward controls trying to just build a ramp all while getting shot at from 4 different directions! Then there was Call of Duty: Blackout which decided to up the game and was the first to add not just cars or karts but full-blown military vehicles like attack boats and helicopters. Sure this was interesting for a while but it was just another pain for a player like me. I just never seemed to find a vehicle to use and instead was normally on the receiving end of a missile barrage from one!
Now when I first heard that Respawn was working on a battle royale game set within the Titanfall universe you can imagine I was worried. One of my favourite series being tainted with the plague that was the battle royale genre? However, as soon as I saw that trailer I was hooked on the idea. Maybe just maybe this would be the one to break through my defences! Apex Legends takes the standard formula and improves it in several ways. The most obvious is being character driven with a selection for 6 legends to use from the start each coming with a unique passive skill, standard skill and ultimate ability. For example, Pathfinder is a cheery robot combatant with a passive skill of being able to hack nodes around the map to find where the next zone will shrink to, a standard skill to use a grappling hook so he can ascend buildings faster than anyone else and as a bonus can hook enemies and reel himself in for a devastating kick and for his ultimate he and set up a zip-line for his teammates to use to quickly get from one area to another.
So among the first 6 we have the aforementioned Pathfinder, grenade happy solider Bangalore, Heavy shielding tank Gibraltar, upbeat medic Lifeline, Apparently psychic and emo Wraith and the mysterious tracker Bloodhound. These guys aren’t your only choices though as with an in-game purchase or through copious grinding you can buy or earn 2 more legends, Poison gas aficionado Caustic and master of the holographic decoys Mirage. Even if you think you’ve got a main I can promise you that mixing things up and trying each will really open up the game for you. Thanks to the skills of each legend the usual pitfalls of a royale game seem to fade as trying to use the same tactics over and over for victory won’t help. There’s no way to predict who you’ll face as time goes on so it all comes down to what the games hammers home from the very start. “You kill him? You’re better. He kills you? He’s better”. Sure you might be thinking that the other guy just had a better weapon than you or something like that but hoo boy do I have some news for you… every gun in the game is exactly like its counterparts. No G7 Scout is any better than its brethren, all Prowler sub machine guns hit just as hard as each other, Every Mozambique shotgun pistol…is trash. Sure you can tack on some pretty decent upgrades such as scopes and select-fire modifications but if you don’t move better and strike first then no matter how heavy your weapon is with add-ons you’ll still end up being introduced to the ground in no time at all.
I’ve been playing Apex Legends almost daily since its release last week and in that time I’ve seen my skills grow fairly rapidly! Obviously I lucked out by having a metric ton of experience in Respawns previous outing Titanfall and both games handle in more or less the same way, the only standout game play changes are no wall running and the incredibly useful ping system. Since you’re made to play in teams of 3 and to be fair there will be a few times where you don’t have 2 friends available, you’ll inevitably have to communicate with some randoms. In most multiplayer games this would be a real gripe to try to talk or explain something to some dudes online who might not even speak your language, especially in a game where finding loot and following a path are vital. So Respawn fixed this little roadblock with a simple ping system. Basically tapping the right shoulder button causes whatever you’re looking at to be tagged. This includes loot, locations, crates, enemy players and even zip-lines! It’s also handy when you realise you’re down on ammo and can request that your teammates keep an eye out for you!
I could talk more about the gameplay and other such elements but really I’d just be treading old ground since besides what I’ve already mentioned, Apex Legends is a bog standard battle royale game. It just does everything better! Maybe I could dig around for something more but if you don’t mind I think I’m just going to play it some more! You should too…Where we droppin boys?