What a ride Apex Legends has been on since it launched, from a reveal trailer, to being released the same day – it’s certainly been busy with many, many highs and very few lows in my view. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a battle royal multiplayer shooter where you play in a team of 3, fighting up to 20 other squads. The aim is to be the last one standing as the map gets smaller, encouraging you to fight for the win. I have been playing this since it launched on PC with the odd break in between (real life getting in the way!) but every time I play, I still have the same feeling as before… just one more game… as it approaches 2:00am! As I check my hour counter now, I’m at 488 hours, which to me is a lot, but pales in comparison to others. For instance, a friend I regularly play with is currently over 1,500 hours! The game has evolved so much since its early days and Respawn (the developers) have made changes and tweaks as it’s gone on along, including dropping new content to keep it fresh. They really have done a brilliant job.
This is the same developer that brought, in my view, one of the best single player shooters of the last decade – Titanfall 2. You may know them more recently for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. What is noticeable is that they’re all different genre types and this developer is delivering on everything it touches right now. Now let’s get more onto Apex Legends, since this is what you’re all here for after all. I’d normally be the first to shrug off many battle royale games, as for the most part, they are just not my thing. This, however, is different. It has to be the most fun and accessible battle royale game there is. It has brilliant movement design, which is an evolution of Titanfall 2 movement excluding the wall running to the ping system in the game to help you communicate with others. The ping system is what makes it, to some degree, stand out as even if playing with random players and not friends, you can still communicate well. Simple mouse click and you ping loot, where you’re going, if you have seen an enemy, etc. This is all vital and helps break that barrier of communicating with, what we refer to as “randoms” online.
Because you can bring it up so quickly, it helps massively in chasing that win to become an Apex Legends champion. Speaking of quick, the game itself is quick and in part, that’s due to the movement or the play style you’re going for. As much as it’s a shooter game, there are still different ways to try get that win in your chosen tactic; do you drop hot or go for the long drop? As with other battle royal games, you are dropped from above and choose your landing spot. At the very start, the game had a standard shield system which you found at random spots on the ground. Apex system of shields starts with the basic two bar shield, up to a five bar red shield. Now here is is a perfect example of how Respawn mixed this up. Going way back to the launch, you found various levels of a shield on the ground, and you could only get a higher one by finding one on the map or taking it from a players loot once they had been killed. A few seasons after it started, this system was changed up to use what’s now known as “Evo Shields”, in which each player starts with a shield, and the more damage you, do the higher it becomes, so you could do enough damage and earn a red level shield. This leads to more people wanting to hot drop, creating a more frantic & quicker game than it was at launch 2 years ago, back in February 2019.
Respawn have kept this game fresh simply by the sheer number of events they do and map changes. The game has a season system in which every three months, we get a new season which brings map changes, new legends, and new skins for weapons and legends to unlock. This is all known as a battle pass. Now I know what you’ll be thinking this will be another monetized game… well, not entirely, as you don’t need to buy the battle pass and you can still earn rewards with out it. Having it does grant you more skins, which change your characters appearance, or weapon skins and charms to make the gun of your choice more to your style. However none of these provide any in game advantages, so its not required. Considering this is EA published, it’s not that expensive, unlike their other games that have real world purchase options, such as Ultimate Team in FIFA. A battle pass on Apex Legends costs £8 which, if you complete it (which is easily doable long before the end of the season) you then earn in-game currency, which would be enough to get the next battle pass with no further spends. The game is on Season 8 now and I only chose to buy it on three occasions.
Going back to how it’s been made fresh – it’s mostly done by the map changes and the new legends introduced, which all make a difference to how matches and fire fights play out. Every legend has a special ability which charges over time, along with other abilities which are on a countdown and vary by character. Bangalore (one of my favourites) can call down a bombardment, along with dropping smoke grenades for making a quick get away, or blocking sights on an enemy team. This game launched with 8 characters, however we’re now on 16, and they all play differently. This, combined with the map changes, has kept the fan base going and brought in new players each time. The main element that’s kept me playing is the map changes. Apex launched with one map, however we now have three – the original being Kings Canyon, we then moved onto World’s Edge and the latest one being Olympus. Along with having different layouts and areas, they also have quite different colour palettes, which brings in more variation. Now all of these maps have been edited throughout, with some areas expanded upon.
Moving on slightly… any shooter game, regardless of type, is only good if the shooting mechanics are solid themselves. I think it’s safe to say that this game has this aspect nailed! No matter the gun you’re using, it feels right! The guns are meaty, you can feel that hit when you’re blasting someone with a Mastiff shotgun, compared to what is classed as a lower weapon, such as Mozambique shotgun. The gun play is very smooth and a lot of fun, in part due to how good the movement of the game is itself. The game has many guns and each has it’s own specific use. As you can carry two guns at once, you can always be in the fight! During the game, you will also find ways to improve the guns, from improving the mag capacity, iron sights, stock, etc. Of course if the loot is kind to you in the game that is, but even then, you can still win fights without gun improvements as the game is balanced very well (and of course not every one in the game is a good shot!).
2 years on, this game is still delivering and improving. If you haven’t given it a chance, I strongly recommend it! It’s available on pretty much every format there is. The only gripe I have with this, is that it doesn’t have cross progression to allow you to share your level, skins, etc., between formats. To put it simply, if you want a fast paced shooter game that does have tactical elements to it, but at the same time want it to be fun, then Apex Legends is the game for you! If you’re sceptical because it’s a battle royale, don’t be as it certainly doesn’t feel like one. I hope to see you all out there and hope that you become an Apex Legends Champion… hell I’ve done it!
Apex Legends is available for free now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and is coming soon to the Switch.