Battle royale games have seen an uptick in popularity over the past couple of years. Starting with mods (customization of games made by the public) for online survival games like Arma 2, the objective of the game is to survive, and to be the last person or team standing. The genre started to gain momentum with the release of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in 2017.
It wasn’t until the start of 2018, when Fortnite rapidly ascended to the pinnacle of the battle royale craze and became a cultural phenomenon, that people started taking notice.
Apex Legends seemed to have grabbed bits and pieces from the best battle royale games out there, added in a few twists and polished them to the point where everything just works.
The best part? The game is free!
Developed by Respawn Entertainment, the studio that brought us Titanfall, Apex Legends drops 20 teams of three “Legends” on a single map at once, facing off against each other.
Six Legends are playable from the start, with the other two Legends locked behind the games in-game currency, which can be earned by either playing the game or spending actual money to buy them.
Unlike other battle royale games, Apex Legends differs from their competition. Each character has their own unique set of abilities that help aid in battle. Abilities such as air-strikes, healing drones and a dome-like shield are all tied to a specific character, meaning that working as a team while utilizing these abilities offers the best chance of being the last team standing.
What Apex does right unlike other battle royale games is that it keeps the players engaged. The rule of thumb with most battle royale games is that if you’re in a game with a team, once you die, that’s it. There’s no respawns. Either you survive until the end, you die and watch your team continue on without you or you die and quit the game.
With Apex, if you were to die in a gunfight, your teammates can pick up your “banner” from your weapons crate, bring it to a respawn beacon and spawn you back into the game, minus your gear.
However, that’s not to say the game doesn’t have it’s shortcomings.
The “pinging” feature in the game is exceptional, but only when you’re playing with adequate teammates. Pings are callouts to get the attention of your teammates and your team can ping things like weapons, enemies and locations, making use of a microphone optional. The problem with the pinging feature is that your teammates can constantly spam pointless commands, resulting in many confusing and rage-inducing moments.
Pace is also an issue that needs to be addressed. When first dropping into the game, multiple teams will most likely land in the same area. Before you know it, half of the teams have been eliminated and the first circle hasn’t even started to close in. This leaves an utterly boring mid-game where teams who are still alive are constantly looting instead of looking for other teams to engage with.
Battle royale games can be intimidating for newcomers. There’s lots of things to learn and there’s a definite learning curve, but the satisfaction of finding your character and mastering your playstyle is something you have to experience for yourself.
With fresh concepts added to the battle royale genre such as ability-driven heroes, an almost perfect pinging system and a deep focus on team-play, Apex Legends is an exceptional game – probably the best addition to an already saturated battle royale market.