Apex Legends Reinvigorates The Battle Royale Genre
Battle royales are the new hotness in gaming. 100 players jumping into a giant map, with only one winner coming out on top. While PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds popularized the genre to the mainstream, big companies within the gaming world has since put their hats into the ring. Epic’s Fortnite being a huge phenomenon amongst the kids of today. Titanfall creators, Respawn Entertainment, and their publishers, Electronic Arts, recently released their take on the genre. Apex Legends has since shook the gaming community as a whole.
Apex Legends came out of nowhere, like a surprise album by Drake, no one saw it coming and is more than a welcomed surprise. A first-person battle royale set in the criminally underrated Titanfall universe that’s also free-to-play, definitely sounds like a winning combo. If the Call Of Duty franchise could nail this genre, it’s almost a given that a studio like Respawn Entertainment could hit the nail. Though no one could have predicted the utter success of Apex Legends.
About the Game –
Like most battle royales, Apex Legends have you jumping down to a map and try to be the last man standing. Besides the apt premise, Apex Legends breaks the mold in a few ways. The first being that this game is class-based, meaning you’re not a blank slate when you start the game. You are an actual defined character with different abilities and specialties depending on the class. No two members of any squad can be the same character, so make sure you know how to play at least three of them. Speaking of squads, the game will always have you teamed up with 2 other players, with 20 teams of 3 battling it out on the battlefield.
Once you are all settled with your team members and individual characters, it’s time to set off. One member of your party will be designated as the “jumpmaster”. They will be selecting the ideal place for all three members of the squad to land. This ingenious system allows for the squad to not be split up and promotes teamwork from the get-go. Once you land, then all hell breaks loose. Find weapons, armor, and other items to ensure victory for your team.
Team composition is essential to the game, with the game’s current roster of Legends all having specific roles and skills in the game while not falling into the typical archetypes of tank, support, and healer roles. There’s Gibraltar, the heavy-duty shield-wielding giant; Bloodhound, a mask-wearing tracker; Bangalore, a soldier that has offensive skills; Lifeline, a medic; Pathfinder, a robotic scout that can grapple teammates away from a fight’ and Wraith; who’s special ability allows her to make portals. These 6 are free for everyone, while the hologram-making Mirage and deadly chemist Caustic must be bought with in game currency.
Combat is undoubtedly the best part of Apex Legends, unlike the slow and janky controls of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or the imprecise third-person shooting of Fortnite, Apex Legends feels like a bona fide first-person shooter. With tight controls and full control of your movements, it feels more akin to Halo or Call of Duty, which is expected of from a developer like Respawn. While the game does take place in the Titanfall universe, key aspects of the game like the parkour and the pilotable Titan mechs are gone from Apex Legends, streamlining the experience to be about the combat first and foremost.
The feel of the guns are also what contributes to how fun Apex Legends is. The different weapons all have a weight to them, with all the different kinds of upgrades you can equip to them really making a difference. There are also shields that you can find that will help in your survival. There are ones that add to your shield health ala the shields in Halo, and one Knockdown Shield, which activates when you are knocked down. This gives you a chance to live long enough for your allies to revive you.
Speaking of dying, it’s not completely game over for you, as it is in other battle royale games. Your allies can resurrect you at specific resurrection stations littered across the map. If an enemy knocks you out, your ally can get a token from your body. After getting it, they can bring it to the station to revive you. You’ll lose your weapons and loot, but at least you’ll be back in the game.
The best part of Apex Legends is the ping system, with a click of the right bumper or the middle mouse button, you can mark places to go, enemies, and more to your allies. This eliminates the need for voice chat as the ping handles numerous commands and messages that you can relay to your teammates. You can mark weapons, loot, enemy sightings, all with a press of a button. Truly the innovation that the genre needed.
Overall, Apex Legends can definitely be seen as either the PUBG killer or Overwatch killer. The mass appeal and overall tightness of its design is truly a marvel and will definitely outlive its competitors. The game is available for free now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
A surprising hit in the gaming community, and a much needed one at that.