Apex Legends on PlayStation 4
Apex Legends is a battle royale game that has clearly done its homework. Most “living” games nowadays come with “early access” or “beta” label slapped on them, so when Apex Legends was announced and fully released on the same day, it was a pleasant surprise.
It also helps that Apex Legends is able to refine so many elements in the genre, and streamline them in such an effective way from day 1. It makes you wonder why no one else was already doing these things.
The biggest draw Apex Legends offers up comes in the form of their Legends, which are characters with a passive, tactical, and ultimate ability.
These abilities help change up the moment to moment combat as survival and success relies heavily on effective team composition and cooperation. You’re always being forced to think about how you can work in tandem with your team while worrying about how your enemies can do the same.
For instance, the Legend Pathfinder can drop a zip line for your team to make a quick escape or even gain a height advantage. Combine that with Bloodhound’s tracking ability to ensure there are no enemies in the new location you’re on your way to and you start to see how these can work together.
The Legends themselves leave a little something to be desired as each of them don’t quite reach the level of endearment a game like Overwatch has cultivated. They all seem just hellbent on killing each other, which is fine, but it would be nice to get quips about their backstory or a nice joke between them every once and a while.
Another issue is that the only mode currently offered sets twenty teams of three against each other, which might be worrisome for solo players. However, Apex Legends does offer a very satisfying solution to help make it an easier pill to swallow.
The fantastic ping system in Apex Legends allows for a bevy of different communication options for players who aren’t using a microphone. Quickly tap the shoulder while aiming at an item, enemy, building, location, or anything else, and it will be marked appropriately for your team. You don’t have to cycle through a huge menu of commands to find the correct one; the game is smart enough to do it for you.
The same concept goes for equipping weapons and attachments. Apex Legends strips away as much menuing as possible in favor of keeping you in the action. Your attachments will always auto equip to your weapon upon pick up if they are compatible, and the game will always let you know immediately if the attachment is usable before you even pick it up.
This cuts down time spent in the menu tremendously and keeps the pace moving forward. It’s also extremely accessible for new players who might be overwhelmed at first.
One of the critical components to any battle royale game is the initial drop into the map. Making sure your team is in agreement on a drop zone and getting everyone to that particular point can be tricky sometimes as players often get turned around or stray too far from their squad.
Apex Legends introduces a new system called the Jumpmaster, which alleviates some of that initial confusion. One player will be deemed the Jumpmaster at the beginning of a match, and they will dictate and control where the whole team drops.
This is excellent for players who aren’t great at controlling the nuance that comes with speed and distance when trying to get to some of those far off points. This also allows the players who aren’t focused on dropping to scout around the skies to see where they are in relation to their enemies. You can also just peel off on your own still if you want as well.
Once on the ground, you’ll need to find some weapons if you hope to survive. You’ll be in luck because almost all of the guns in Apex feel viable in virtually every situation. Assault rifles do great mid-range damage, snipers will net you those long range kills, and even shotguns are excellent in close range fights (except the Mozambique).
It’s no surprise how polished the shooting feels considering Titanfall 2 was easily one of the strongest first-person shooters this generation and the guns are pulled right from that game.
It’s easy to understand the pace of these matches once you have a few under your belt. After playing a game you’ll be rewarded with experience which contributes to your overall level. Every time you level up, you’ll earn in-game currency as well as an Apex Pack lootbox.
Inside those boxes can be a weapon or character skins, crafting material, or a myriad of different quips, poses, frames, and stat trackers. Lootboxes have been a dicey area for publishers to navigate these last couple of years, but Apex Legends seems to have implemented a system that is fairly non offensive.
You’ll earn them in-game and you can purchase them with real money, but the big difference is that Apex Legends provides players with the percentage breakdown of their chances at a rare or legendary item. Players are also guaranteed a legendary item every 30 lootboxes. The system isn’t revolutionary, but it’s better than most.
The one thing that holds Apex Legends back from being an absolute smash right from the get go is that it is a bit thin on content, at least when compared to the games it’s going up against. With only one game mode and no challenge system there isn’t really much to sink your teeth into outside of getting a win.
When looking at its competitors which all have overarching progression systems, lists of weekly challenges and a myriad of ways to obtain interesting cosmetics, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed out of the gate.
Still, the foundation Respawn Entertainment has set with Apex Legends is incredibly promising. A strong first-person battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe is not something I would have told you I wanted after the release of Titanfall 2, but Apex Legends has proven me wrong.
In its first week it has already made great strides to show the industry there is a space for new battle royale games to thrive if you do it right. Apex Legends is an incredibly intuitive and well-thought-out battle royale game that is worth trying out for yourself.