Apex legends, despite its stealthy release, has stolen the Battle Royale spotlight. Just 3 days after its launched, it had a thriving playerbase of 10 million players.
This monstrous achievement is certainly justified by the games’ revolutionary features and buttery smooth, enjoyable gameplay.
It hugely emphasizes its battle royale nature, with classic gameplay mechanics such as starting off diving head-first from the sky, obtainable weapons and other loot scattered across the map and most notably, a shrinking player arena.
I had a blast racking up the hours in game before writing this review, and I hope I continue to feel the same for months to come.
I suppose you could describe this game as a Slot Machine, incredibly addicting but at times can leave you feeling sour from all the unlucky spawns that usually result in your death very early on into the match.
Character selection isn’t much, but it’s honest work. There are 8 unique legends to choose from, 2 of which are initially locked behind a paywall, (Purchasable with both in-game and real world currency). Each character, known as a ‘Legend’ has their own passive, tactical and ultimate ability. Take for example Bangalore who can fire smoke grenades to evade enemies, call down a rocket barrage and will automatically run faster when being shot at. No two characters feel the same, both ability and personality wise, which is a tricky thing to nail but Respawn have managed to do so elegantly. Every minute or so, your legend will say a random comment, further reinforcing the personality portrayed by them.
“Don’t forget to breathe, if you have a respiratory system that is.”
Moving onto Apex’s biggest, most intuitive feature so far. If you couldn’t tell already, I’m talking about its ping system. It is an ingenious mixture of detail and simplicity, allowing players to state places of interest, enemy sightings, areas they are keeping an eye on, etc. just with the press of a button. The players’ in-game character will then intelligently translate that ping into speech to let your teammates know exactly what is happening, all without saying a word. Seeing as this is a squad-based game where communication is paramount, Respawn have done an excellent job in providing a substitute for players who don’t have a mic.
Onto the games’ movement. During my time playing the game, I tried majority of the characters, and they all feel fairly balanced in terms of their movement speeds and agility.
Despite Gibraltar feeling the slowest of the bunch, Respawn have confirmed that all characters have the running pace.
However, the games’ movement as a whole feels like a neutered version of Titanfall 2’s movement mechanics. Key strategies such as wallrunning and bunnyhopping that allowed the player to dominate the Titanfall 2 battlefield are simply nonexistent in Apex. Seeing such mechanics go is truly saddening as in my opinion Titanfall 2 has some of the greatest movement mechanics to date. Nonetheless I can understand the logic behind this. Apex just isn’t the same game, it lies under a completely different genre.
Another previously unheard-of feature in Apex Legends is the ability respawn teammates. If your teammate has died, you have a 90 second window to pick up his banner from his deathbox. From there you can head to one of the many respawn points scattered throughout the map and insert his banner. After placing the banner, a dropship will appear from the sky with your teammate inside. Unfortunately, he will have none of his old loot on him once he respawns. Although I feel like that is a reasonable compromise.
Where It Went Wrong:
Unfortunately, no matter how good a game is, it will always have some flaws. Apex Legends is no exception.
The fundamental problem of battle royales is very much here in this game as well. The fact of the matter is that the ratio of time spent in-game vs time spent having fun (mostly referring to enemy encounters.) is drastically low. I’ve found myself spending majority of my time scavenging buildings to find the best loot only to be singled-out by a squad, resulting in my instant death.
Another imperfection I would like to point out is that at times I can unload multiple mags from let’s say the R-99 into an enemy and he’d still be standing. Whereas other times, half a mag will knock him to the floor. It’s very inconsistent, and I think the main culprit behind this is armour. Armour is very imbalanced at the moment as players with level 3 or greater armour have an exponentially higher chance of surviving than players with level 1 armour.
Apex Legends isn’t the most graphically ambitious game out there, but by no means are its graphics bad. Textures have a nice amount of detail to them. They struggle to stand out but don’t feel extensively lacking in any way. I would like to especially mention the waterfalls, which look gorgeous. Cascades is one of my favourite places because it’s incredibly scenic.
Overall colours are vibrant and energetic, fitting in nicely with the games’ hectic nature. Not really much else to say except Respawn deserves a pat on the back.
Controls + Optimization:
No real complaints from me here. It is well optimized, allowing for mid-tier PCs to hit 100+ FPS on high/max settings. The only real FPS drops I faced were when multiple explosions happened simultaneously. For example Gibraltars ultimate where he calls down a mortar strike from the sky. Even then I never dropped below 100 FPS.
Controls are relatively similar to Titanfall’s, except with the new, simplistic ping system. Also you can press H to warn teammates if you are under attack.
Obviously all of these controls are customizable in the settings menu.
Battle Royale is a very niche genre that will have many die hard fans but also many strong haters. Apex however, properly blurs that line between the 2 parties. At its core, it is a delightful, action-packed battle royale but the more time spent in game, the more Apex starts to reveal its strengths and uniqueness making it a very real challenger to the current battle royale king.
Therefore I would highly recommend this game to anyone who wants some PvP multiplayer goodness. Plus the game is completely free so you have nothing to lose. On a quick side note though the current state of weapons are slightly imbalanced, which may ruin the experience for others, so just brace yourselves.