If Apex Legends does one thing for it, it’s the feeling of being complete – something not every Battle Royale game can claim. The massive popularity of the shooter subgenre means that many games do well with the last player, but with a few issues along the way. Some renowned shooters add Battle Royale to their offering and fit their existing gameplay as part of it. This is our Apex Legends Review.
Other Battle Royale games always struggle with balance issues and bug fixes, adding and removing elements while figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And still, others started life as something different and managed to transform their mechanics into the generous form of battle.
Apex Legends Review: About
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
- Developer: Respawn Entertainment
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Genres: Battle royale, First-person shooter
- Release Date: February 4, 2019
Apex Legends Review: Game Play
Apex Legends focuses on doing one thing very well. That thing is a team competition in the Battle Royale genre; at launch, it only includes a team-based mode in which 20 groups of three players compete against each other. Everything in Apex Legends works on teamwork: that consists of several improvements to issues that plague the entire genre, such as cleaning inventory and increasing accessibility and adding new ideas, such as elements of team composition and unique character skills.
Apex Legends excels with the combination of good ideas that have previously worked in shooters. The Battle Royale rule set is the same as in similar games, with very few changes: teams skydive to a massive island with nothing and struggle to collect weapons and items to use against other teams they encounter until only one team survives. While there are no titans or walls, it is still possible to see the bones of Titanfall 2 repressing Apex, which reuses Titanfall’s weapons and some of its fluid motion mechanisms, such as sliding and cloaking. But the gist of the formula here is the sleek three-player squad structure, which benefits all other pieces.
Another significant change in the Battle Royale formula in Apex Legends is one very similar to what Blizzard has brought to multiplayer FPS games in the Overwatch. At the start of each game, each player chooses one of eight characters, each with specific abilities fulfilling specific roles. Defending Gibraltar can drop a shield and trigger an airstrike to drive another team back; the attacking Wraith can create portals between two locations and disappear briefly to avoid damage. The supporting Pathfinder uses grappling hooks and ziplines to help the team reach areas where they might have a tactical advantage.
The best feature of Apex Legends is the extremely robust “ping” system, which allows you to press a button to make a marker on the screen of your teammates. The ping system is super smart – point it at a gun or helmet, and your character will identify the location of that object for everyone. You can ping in your menu to ask for things you need, mark places you want to go, or identify areas that other players have passed. Most importantly, you can use pings to mark hostile locations. The system is so responsive and well implemented in Apex Legends that it can completely replace talking to your team. The accuracy of an on-screen ping can often be better to help you convey information quickly than talk.
A revival system also assists you to get more involved with your team. If a teammate falls into battle and is knocked out of the game, you can bring back their banner, an item that falls with their loot, and use it to make them appear in the game as if they had just started. The system adds an intense, gripping strategy to Apex where you have to risk everything to save your team; You can only call back dead teammates to specific single-use Respawn Beacons on the card, but you are fully exposed.
However, pull out a pairing game, and you can bring your team back from the brink. The system is a great incentive to stay in matches and keep talking to and helping your team, rather than just leaving when you die to participate in another game. As in Respawn’s previous games, shooting is brisk and satisfying here, and Apex has a wide variety of cool weapons to learn and master. The firefight is sometimes stopped because many weapons contain strange small magazines.
Players have a lot of health, which is greatly improved by adding armor, so it often takes more shots to take people down. Ideally, you always shoot someone with the help of a friend, but the small magazines will leave you feeling just a feeling of powerlessness. In most games I’ve played, shotguns get the most use from players because they have the best chance of actually knocking down an opponent. At the same time, many of the other weapons shoot too many bullets and leave you vulnerable while reloading and reload and reload.
As a free-to-play game, Apex Legends comes with both loot boxes and in-game items that can be purchased for real money, and loot boxes can also be earned by playing. Everything on offer is cosmetic, just like in Fortnite or Overwatch, so paying money isn’t essential to playing the game and staying competitive. You can mostly ignore microtransactions if you’re not interested in paying. The only place where Apex Legends microtransactions can annoy is trying to unlock new characters.
Six characters are available for free at launch, two of which can be unlocked with paid or earned currency. It’s also not essential – they offer different skills, but no better or worse – but as an average player, it took me about 17 hours of play to make enough money to buy one character.
Apex Legends Review: Conclusion
Apex Legends is a mix of smart shooter titles that makes for competitive, team-based gameplay that gets the best parts of Battle Royale and addresses many of its weaknesses. Respawn’s intense focus on teamwork play makes Apex Legends more than just a worthy addition to the genre; it is an indication of where Battle Royale should go in the future.
If Apex Legends does one thing for it, it’s the feeling of being complete – something not every Battle Royale game can claim. The massive popularity of the shooter subgenre means that many games do well with the last player, but with a few issues along the way.