Review: Apex Legends

Surprise! Out of nowhere the Titanfall developer, Respawn Entertainment, drops a brand new game in the Titanfall universe. No, it's not Titanfall 3, but honestly, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Let's take a look at Apex Legends!

Apex Legends is a Free-To-Play Battle Royale game in which you play as a three-person squad in a 60-player map. Strangely enough, you always play in a squad of three people. You cannot play alone or in pairs. Your squad will automatically be filled with random players if you don't or only play with one friend.
Based on looks and gameplay you can easily compare the game to Overwatch and the Blackout mode from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. The weapons, the way of finding weapons and items are very similar to Blackout and the characters you choose are very similar to Overwatch. If I said Apex Legends was developed by Blizzard and Treyarch, you'd believe me if you didn't know any better.

Battle Royale at its finest

To this day, not a single battle royale game, except PUBG in the first few weeks, has managed to pique my interest. Fortnite doesn't bother me, way too childish. Like walking around a digital kindergarten and Blackout also failed to keep me interested after a single match. PUBG hasn't lost its charm over the years, despite the many improvements and updates since its Early Access release.
To be as honest as I am, I downloaded Apex Legends on my Playstation 4 to give it a fair shot. The idea of Hero characters in a Battle Royale game instantly adds a touch that made my interest a little higher than I'd expected. Another Battle Royale game? Yes, but this one is slightly different. In the meantime, you would expect that all battle royale games after the success of Fortnite are nothing more than weak reflexes. This does not apply to Apex Legends at all. It feels like the developers have actually taken a closer look at the genre. This is reflected in a number of fairly important points.

characters

First, there are several Heroes that you can choose before the round starts. Do they call it Heroes, or Champions? Never mind, you know what I mean. These Heroes each have their own passive advantages, an ability and an ultimate ability. Some Heroes are supportive, others are very offensive or very defensive. My favorite, so far, the Bloodhound is a Recon. Its passive advantage is that enemies leave hints for you to detect. For example, you see a pop-up of a footstep. This pop-up indicates how long ago someone walked here. Its ability scans fleetingly in a circle for enemies or traps, then indicates if any threats have been found. Enemies can see that they are being scanned, there are not only advantages to it.His ultimate ability temporarily turns you into a hunter. You move faster and can see nearby enemies glowing. Even if they hide behind a wall.

This is just one of the available 8 characters. You get six characters for free. The other two can be bought with in-game currency or real money (read: euros). I will come back to this in a moment

folder design

Something that is not very unimportant in a battle royale game is the map. After all, this is the map that will go through over and over and over looking for the other survivors and better weapons. Respawn has developed the best battle royale map you can find so far if it's up to me. It feels like you are playing in a life size arena. There are leaderboards everywhere showing who the current Champions of the ring are. In addition, the map is not only playable horizontally, but also vertically. You don't have rocket boots or jetpacks, but you can run up a wall up to a few meters to climb through a window, for example.
All over the map you will find ziplines to use and in general there are many highlights on the map that can work to your advantage or disadvantage. The map is also not very open and you can approach the next zone in different ways and use different routes without running too much risk. If you are aware of the location of your opponents that is.
Overall, the map is a very big plus for Apex Legends. There are plenty of places to land where different places have better loot, but will attract more people. It would be even nicer if the map somehow contained dynamic elements that would make you feel even more like you're playing in a big arena where the slaughter of enemy players is for pure entertainment for the spectators.

Gameplay

The gunplay in this Battle Royale is extremely smooth and may well be compared to Titanfall. Also moving around the map and in general it feels very solid and polished. Interacting with your team is very easy thanks to the tag system where you can ping locations, but also ping items. This way you can point to any item and your character will say which item you point to. This way your teammates know exactly where you can find a level 3 backpack, for example.
Also during gameplay, the characters will interact with each other in different ways based on certain events. For example, if a loot crate is dropped. These actually contain OP stuff, so go for it. In one round, I found a legendary shotgun that could blow almost anyone at close range with one or two shots. Absurd. It was a Mastiff by the way.

Once the game starts, you take turns choosing a character within your team. You can't choose the same one, so it sucks if you play with random people and your main is chosen. The last player to choose is the so-called Jump Master. The JumpMaster gets to decide where your team will jump. "Where we dropping boys?" No. "Where do we drop, Master?" You can still recommend a location on the map as a team, so your character will say that it might be a good choice to land here. If you ping again, your character will say never mind. Once the Jump Master has a location in mind and jumps, the rest will automatically jump along and follow the Jump Master's direction. You can then disconnect yourself from the group.
All in all, we see the familiar Battle Royale elements return, but Apex Legends refines them so much that it is very pleasant to play. The ping system which is very extensive in this game. The Jump Master and the characters make this game quite unique for a Battle Royale game.

Microtransactions

Don't say you didn't feel it coming. We are talking about a Free-To-Play Battle Royale game here. Of course, that includes microtransactions. With your hard earned euros you can buy points to spend in the in-game store. With these points you can buy new characters, skins for characters and weapons, but also loot boxes. Converted you currently pay one euro for a loot box. Three items will then appear from this, at least one of which is rare or better. Check out the image below to find out what you can fish from a loot box and what the odds are for rare, epic or legendary items. You can compare these items very well with Overwatch, although there are a number of differences. All items are purely cosmetic and will not affect the gameplay.

Verdict

Apex Legends is the most positively surprising Battle Royale game to date. Especially for a game that is released out of the blue without Beta, or Early Access is quite special. The game also runs very smoothly and no in-game problems have been detected other than the expected balance problems that the game still has, Mastiff OP. Strangely enough, after every round you are thrown to the main screen and it can take a while before you are back in a lobby due to connection problems. It will be the novelty and current popularity.
It's not a far cry from an existing Battle Royale game, but a finely executed game with accustomed elements that have all been improved for a very pleasant experience. It is clear to see that Respawn has put a lot of love and attention into this game to deliver a good product. This is pleasantly surprising, especially for the Battle Royale genre. Until Apex Legends came out, my hopes in the Battle Royale genre were all but lost, but Respawn shows that it can still be done, and better! 


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