Apex Legend is the new fee to play, Battle Royal style game from Titanfall developer ‘Respawn Entertainment’ boasting an impressive 10 million player count in just 3 days of launch & now one of the most streamed games on Twitch, it’s dropped in & hit the ground running (pun intended) but what’s it all about? Let’s find out.
CHARACTERS / GAMEPLAY
At the heart of it, Apex is a FPS Battle Royal, but unlike its competitors of COD: Blackout & Fortnight, Apex has a twist in that each character has different abilities. Every class has a passive ability, a tactical ability & an ultimate ability. For example the Bloodhound has a passive called Tracker that sees tracks left behind by your foes, a tactical ability called Eye Of The Allfarther that breifly reveals hidden enemies, traps, and clues throughout structures in front of you and it’s ultimate ability called Beast of The Hunt that enhances your senses, allowing you to move faster and highlights your prey.
There are currently 6 free available characters: Bloodhound, Gibraltar, Lifeline, Pathfinder, Wrath & Bangalore with two more characters, Caustic & Mirage which need to be unlocked via Legend Tokens. Each with a different ability set that can work in unison with other characters.
The gameplay is very smooth & responsive, using the slide mechanic from Titanfall, which is a joy to use.
The game drops you in a squad of 3 and one of you will be the jump leader, tasked to pick a drop-zone to land, the best thing about this is you will auto fly to that marker unless you press the break off button, which is a welcome addition as this also allows you to view around you as other players drop & the drop leader can change the drop location mid drop an you will change direction. Once dropping in it’s a run to grab guns & gear and this is the first problem with Apex and that is ammo. Ammo doesn’t seem to drop enough or it doesn’t give you enough from stash crates found in the game world, I would find myself low on ammo at times & also sometime health packs. Another thing is the game doesn’t tell you about things like how to drop items for team mates or how mods work even though there is a tutorial.
The gameplay is very smooth & responsive, using the slide mechanic from Titanfall, which is a joy to use. During my time I slid under a garage door and turned sideways to gun down a enemy who ran down the side of the building before using a finisher. Yes Apex has finisher moves that give a flair to finishing off your opponent, however you are vulnerable during these animations so sometime it’s better to gun or melee finish them off. I’ve ran into the a few server disconnections and one match was extremely laggy for my whole team, but this is still early days yet.
Gunplay is satisfying with a range of guns from Assault Rifles, LMGs, SMGs, Shotguns, Pistols & Sniper Rifles and you also pick up mods for these guns that attach if you have the right gun as well as body Armor & backpack slot upgrades. Like other games guns, armor & mods come in different levels based on colour (Level 1 – White | Level 2 – Blue | Level 3 – Purple | Level 4 – Gold) the higher the guns, armour & mod colour the more perks it will have on it. One thing to note is some guns have alternate fire, also things like grenades don’t have a colour level.
But what sets Apex apart is the character abilities, for example with Wrath, you can go invisible for a period of time to get out of gun fire, where as Lifeline can send out a healing drone to heal other players & and an ultimate ability that allows for a drop pod containing an assortment of guns & gear at different levels.
Speaking of healing this is where it gets different from other Battle Royal games, you aren’t really dead, if you have team mates alive, they can pick up your banner when you die and take that to a revive station and bring you back into the game, however this is a risk / reward and these stations are out in the open, you have to wait while respawning a team mate leaving you extremely vulnerable to other teams.
The game world has a very Borderlands feel look wise to it, but is set out in a way that feels like you are in some sort of game show with banners for Apex Legend plastered around the map, you can tell that EA have let Respawn do there thing as the game world & characters have the same polish as Titanfall 2 did, showing that they have defiantly put some time & love into this game, both gameplay & world building wise.
FREE-TO-PLAY / LOOT BOX / CURRENCY
Ah yes the F2P, Loot Box & currency system, what would a free to play EA published game be without micro transactions. I will break these down in to sections below. When you level up you get an Apex Pack that can give a variety of cosmetic items and materials.
Crafting Materials: This currency can be used to unlock cosmetic items for your characters & gun skins, this currency comes from Apex Packs that you can earn when you level up.
Legend Tokens: You get these from completing matches and are used in the in game store to buy exclusive cosmetic items and unlock new characters. You earn around 600 tokens per level up and a character unlock is 12,000 tokens which is 20 level ups perk locked character (Caustic & Mirage)
Apex Coins: This is the real world premium currency that allows you to buy Apex Packs or you can use Apex Coins to buy certain loot items, but everything that can be bought with Crafting Materials can also be bought with Apex Coins.
Apex Legends is a well polished game by Respawn with love & detail put into it, it’s clear that they wanted another Titanfall with the games gameplay style but they have done extremely well with what they have brought to the Battle Royal table. The game isn’t perfect & it does have F2P elements but these don’t hinder the fun or experience of the game. Time will tell of this will hold up against the Battle Royal giant that is Fornite, even though they are different game types. The game as it stands is gaining lots of popularity, but can it can hold that high ground & win? We will have to wait and see…