I first heard about Apex Legends a day after it came out. I was surprised, considering it was a Battle Royale, the craze hitting the video game industry by storm, and I had heard nothing about it. My experience with Battle Royale’s is admittedly very minimal. I’d seen a lot of PUBG, but never played it, and played maybe 20 hours of Fornite with friends until I had come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t for me. Apex, on the other hand, plays like an absolutely different game and doesn’t feel like a Battle Royale to me. That is largely in part due to the mechanics.
The way my friends brought up this game to me was saying it was a Battle Royale that was kind of like Overwatch. That in and of itself intrigued me because of how different those two things are. Once I got to the character select screen, I immediately understood. You have the option of selecting 6 characters, and the ability to unlock 2 more through in game currency, or flat out buying them for both for $20 total. The 8 characters all play very differently in terms of their abilities and ‘ultimates’, but they all share the same stats in terms of hitbox or running speed. Note that the running speed and such does not include certain characters’ tactical, ultimate or passive abilities that can alter their running speeds.
The ability to select a character that is fundamentally different than the one right next to them not only gives the player a sense of individuality, but also adds a layer of strategy. Compared to other Battle Royale based games, this is a godsend in terms of diversity. Their abilities add that second layer of complexity. As of this post, squads are groups of three. Meaning you could have a healer who’s ultimate is a care package for better loot, a soldier who can launch smoke grenades, and Tito from Rocket Power (not really) with a Halo styled bubble shield as your third. By picking these three, you forgo the Legend who can warp out of situations, the Legend with great mobility in the form of ziplines, and a few others!
Ping! On Me!
From the very first match, the pinging system blew me away. 50 hours later and I’m still gushing over it. Pings traditionally have been single function based. You pinging something could mean there’s an enemy somewhere, that your team should head there, that there’s some over, weapons or a plethora of other things. Apex Legends solves that by letting you identify what the ping is for. You can easily communicate with your team that you are looting the house across the street, that there are enemies around the corner, that someone was already there etc. This system enables even the most disjointed team a chance at communication. I have played full games where we made it to the final squad as champion where we didn’t verbally speak once, but only pinged. It worked very well. You can also ping what time of ammo or attachments you’ll need.
What… what is this?
Apex doesn’t feel like a Battle Royale to me. Maybe it’s due to the team communication, the weapon variety, the fact that I played little of the other games in this genre, but it doesn’t feel like a BR at all. It will sound weird, but it comes off as an FPS game that happens to have you go towards the center. As of right now, it might be because of how the teams I play with approach the game, which is seeking out loot, but also seeking out other people, but I find it different than it’s two largest competitors in PUBG and Fornite.
As a whole though, on the day after the preseason update, I find this game incredibly enjoyable. I am unaware of the staying power of this game, but it definitely approached the genre in a unique manner that makes it a great time.