We All Want To Be The Kill Leader
Beginning as a rumor among the gaming personalities and several journalists, Respawn Entertainment had a well-kept secret ready for a Monday reveal. It was definitely odd having this on the first day of the work week for most rather than later in the week. The catch was that no one knew what was going to really be revealed? Curiously, I had my beliefs that there would finally be a showcase for the studios upcoming Star Wars game as EA had previously canceled another project for that IP and was about to be rolling into an earnings call meeting on Tuesday with little to show. This definitely wasn’t what was delivered, and what we received was unexpected and fantastic.
To get the skinny immediately out of the way, Apex Legends is free-to-play and available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game does feature microtransactions which are primarily cosmetic and achievable by playing and receiving in-game currency. Some characters do seem to be behind the microtransaction wall currently costing nearly $10 should you want to purchase them with real money. It is a player-versus-player driven battle-royale game featuring up to 60 players divided into 20 teams of three. Your objective: be the last team standing at the end.
Apex Legends is a battle-royale game set in the Titanfall universe. For those hoping to see Titans and their pilots take the stage here will surely be sadly disappointed as none are present whatsoever. Aside from aesthetics of the background wildlife, the terrains and gun-types from the series, this is about as far as Apex goes in current similarity. Due to the battle-royale nature, Apex Legends is mostly wrapped around the idea of team-multiplayer play rather than an in-depth story. Respawn did spare some insight that the mode is essentially a tournament of sorts where teams are competing against one another for the grand prize; money, fame, the whole nine of your desires. This cliff note aside, there is not a lot of stories to be told. However, the interaction and conversations between the characters whilst the match are in play, is pretty amazing. Often times there are reactionary comments made that tend to be spot on whether it is a new kill leader on the map or a quick kill, the characters typically have something to say in response to these events. Despite entertaining, it is shame Apex is not the battle-royale to finally bring the campaign into the mix.
Being a battle-royale shooter, the single most important mechanic is how the gunplay feels. Respawn Entertainment is no stranger to creating some of the best feeling shooting mechanics and fluidity of gunplay. Apex Legends capitalizes on having, in my opinion, the best gunplay mechanics of the genre. As for shooters, it may be my second favorite of the generation just behind that crafted by Bungie. Snipers feel solid, shotguns have boom and autos have the proper bounce.
What really makes Apex Legends stand above other battle-royale games are what the game brings to the table with quick equips for attachments that let you know if you have better or lesser currently equipped, a quick ping system that notifies teammates of items they might find useful and despite being absent of wall-running, this is made up with the excellent slide mechanic. Each character also includes a special ability that can be utilized to help your team to the advantage. This is akin to Guardian supers in Destiny or special abilities to Overwatch characters. The way they are implemented also help prevent one character from seeing overpowered as compared to another. This allows for a variety of teamwork combinations to utilized, thus making sure each person knows their role important for the team’s longevity.
The game takes its shot at a realism shot, like Call of Duty’s Blackout mode. Aiming with brighter, day-time pallets. The launch map also features several different biomes that range from deserts to burnt terrain, to jungle and swamps. What sets the unique tone here on the map is the placement of leaderboards placed all over. These boards will tell you which team is on top at the current moment, updating should the top team fall below another.
The buildings look similar to the structuring seen in the Titanfall games which work to help connect the universe. Apex Legends does a good job of meshing the styles of Titanfall into the world. Most noticeably, when dropping in with a team, or even scouring the horizon you can see one of the native creatures of the world. This is also present in both Titanfall and Titanfall 2. This is one of the most obvious connecting additions to the game that lets you know the universe that they are attempting to set.
In the end, you can definitely tell that Respawn took extra time to ensure the polish to the game was complete. Characters were also designed seemingly with comedic gesturing, all featuring personality. This being said, all but one character seem to lack a Titanfall esthetic. This doesn’t seem to hurt the game in any manner as the game was not designed to be an immersive experience. Also being limited to character selection makes the options feel constrained. offering six characters, with two behind an earnable paywall.
The sounds of the game, however, do seem to ring true to the Titanfall experience. While not deep on musical scores, the few tunes that do play could easily place into Titanfall without any disruption. The guns sound just like their Titanfall counterparts with no complaints with them. The highlight for the audio is hands down the character dialogues. Not only do the voice actors do a good job for the character, but the game’s placement for specific dialogue is perfect. Not only does it provide a humorous charm but it also updates that let you know what is going on during the battlefield. These dialogues also give you an idea of the personality of each character which is a nice touch.
The juice of this game is hands down the way it handles the battle-royale genre. Not only do you have characters with their unique abilities, but the game encourages you to stick together as a trio rather than scattered around the map. From the moment that you drop from the sky, the game immediately puts you and your team together on a single-track, whilst still giving the opportunity to veer off should you choose to. The previously discussed ping system also shows you the team-first and not me-first mentality that was used when developing the game. If there were anything to be disappointed about the game would be to know that you are in a Titanfall universe with no Titans; which seems to be the right choice as of now.
Additionally, the game ran pretty smooth on launch day, minutes after being launched. Surprisingly the servers seemed to have little to no issues with connectivity. So much to the point where it’s extremely difficult to think of another game that launched that was not able to run and connect as easily on the day of launch. It’s easy to see that Respawn Entertainment put all of the extra elbow-grease into creating the title.
Apex is a fun battle-royale game, and as of this review, it has already undergone several patches and even included content for a Valentines Day event. It’s taken the gaming world by storm, taking the top spot for quite some time on Twitch’s game rankings and even has been added to a pro-gaming league circuit. If you are a fan of this genre, it’s hard not to recommend you give it a try, no matter the time you may have already given to other battle-royale games. Respawn Entertainment, may not have delivered the next installment to the Titanfall franchise, but they hit it out of the park with Apex.