Respawn Entertainment, creators of TitanFall, have hopped on the Battle Royale hype train with a new game titled ‘Apex Legends’. Apex Legends is a class based Battle Royale game set in the same world as TitanFall. The game has players choose 1 of 8 classes before dropping you onto the map in squads of 3. Then, you’re tasked to fight 19 other squads (20 including yourself) and be the last man standing to be crowned the victor.
So, basically another Battle Royale but with a class system.
The class based system that Respawn Entertainment has come up with is quite refreshing in a sea of generic, Battle Royale style games trying to ride the coat tails of Fortnite’s success. None of the classes feel broken or unbalanced, and many of them are offered up for free. One caveat is 2 classes are stuck behind a soft pay wall, however, you can choose to purchase them easily with in game currency or real life money. All cosmetics are also paywall oriented, but Apex Legends follows the Overwatch model of providing loot boxes as you level. So it’s super easy to get additional in game items without breaking the bank.
While each of the classes seem to have an overlap with one another just with the basic mechanics, the real difference between the classes is going to be your preference in play style. Personally, I’ve sunk a dozen hours into Blood Hound and Lifeline, but I’ve always fancied myself a support main.
Faster match times than other Battle Royale counterparts.
With each of the squads being trios and roughly 60 players on the field, it makes the matches go by much faster than your free for all or 25 vs 25 Battle Royale counterparts. A match that could easily take 20+ minutes with another game is typically a quick 5-10 minute match with Apex Legends. The game also toys around a lot with perspectives, where each map looks like it would be big, but once you load in it’s incredibly smaller than you would think it should be. This may contribute to the quicker turn around of matches.
Great emote selections help further in-game communications.
There are plenty of times I’ve been playing in other games where we suddenly lose footing because someone didn’t have a mic and they weren’t able to call out the enemy before they sniped us all down. Apex Legends has a fantastic way of trying to get around this by offering many non-verbal communication options in game. I’ve been playing on PS4, and with the R1 button I can point out where I saw enemies as well as mark points in the distance in order to direct the squad where to go. While ultimately, a great team wins by also having verbal communication lines open, there are plenty of times where I just want to enjoy the game and mute team chat to ignore the screaming 15 year old in the group. This also makes it faster to visually point out threats, and takes away a lot of the confusion from trying to verbally communicate them with something like “SW 105” or “3 o clock”.
Along with communication, when the team drops in Apex Legends, they mostly drop together. Unless a player decides to break off after the initial drop. I can’t tell you how many times on Fortnite I’d land on top of a building and my team would be on the opposite side of the map. I get that teams can still split up before the landing in Apex Legends, but you really have to go out of your way to initiate that. For most, this may be a small or even insignificant tweak to the gameplay, but it’s definitely made things easier for me.
Gorgeous graphics can actually make playing the game difficult at times.
No, this isn’t a matter of the graphics dropping frame rate or causing other issues with lag. The graphics in this game are insanely beautiful on each map. They really do “pop”. But unfortunately, a map can sometimes be so lush or bright that it becomes incredibly hard to see your enemies in the distance as they seamlessly blend in to the background. This makes it really hard to get a good read on them, and definitely causes some inconsistencies with the gameplay, depending which side of the map you’re on.
More often than not, you may not run into anyone in game.
There are nearly 60 people on the map at the start of the game, but in many matches I have found myself not running into anyone until the game is coming to a close. This is an issue that I do run into with a lot of Battle Royale style games, so it doesn’t seem like it’s unique to Apex Legends. Even with the size limitations of the map, you should run into a few enemies sooner than later. Maybe it’s just bad luck on my end, but it does seem to happen often enough that I’m starting to doubt that.
A “soft” paywall locking classes and cosmetics.
Ok, this one is a minor inconvenience. Two of the classes are locked behind a soft paywall, in which you can either pay with in game or real life currency to unlock them. The in game currency is a pain to grind out enough credits to gain access to the credits, so it’s still encouraging many to just bite the bullet and pay to play, so to speak. Generally speaking, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of loot boxes and micro-transactions, while others at KeepItNerdy.com feel like their presence helps support the free to play business model for those willing to fork out a few bucks here and there. Ultimately, I’d be ok if the soft paywall was strictly cosmetics, as you can earn loot boxes throughout the game by leveling up. But forcing gamers to play an obscene amount of time to unlock two additional classes is getting close to teetering on the verge of being “a dick move”.
Overall, Apex Legends is a beautiful and fun, fast-paced Battle Royale game that has been a truly refreshing addition to the genre. It’s not something that I may get as involved with as I have with Fortnite, but I do believe that’s more so due to the fact that the genre overall is getting played out with every triple A studio trying to cash in on the trend before it’s done with.
While Apex Legends does have a class system that sets it apart from the rest, it might be a little too late for games in this genre due to the over-saturation of titles at market. So far, the game has been met from critics and streamers with unanimous applause for merging the genres in a fun and creative way. So, maybe it’s not too late after all.