Most of us got a surprise Monday morning, while others knew and did a fantastic job of keeping the information under wraps. The launch of Respawn’s “Apex Legends” was yesterday, which is their take on Battle Royale. Some people thought this was Titanfall 3, but we soon found out that this was going to be specifically Battle Royale and that there wasn’t even going to be titans in the game. This is something the team at Respawn has been working on for years and, after playing the game nonstop from the moment it was released on the Microsoft store at 3:00pm EST till I went to sleep that night, I finally have enough input on the game for a review.
For starters, this is not Titanfall 3! The choice of title is what I was confused about at first, but the game is called “Apex Legends” because the characters you pick in game are called Legends. These Legends have three different abilities. They all have cool down abilities: one is a tactical ability, another is a passive ability, and the third is their ultimate ability. The ultimate ability is the most powerful and the cool down for the ability takes much longer than the tactical and passive abilities. I’ve played through most of the characters and the ones I didn’t, my squad members used them. I was able to see how exactly how their particular ability could benefit not only them, but the team as well. These abilities allow you to strategize amongst your teammates and decide who would be the best three Legends to use to ensure a victory in the Battle Royale. My team and I managed to get three wins in a row last night and the reasoning for it was the character choice.
I chose Bloodhound the majority of the time, who has a tactical ability that allows him to ping the general area and discover traps and hidden enemies that are nearby. His passive ability gives him heightened senses, which allows you to track enemies movements for a certain period of time. His ultimate ability allows you to see enemies that are further away by highlighting them in red. While this is active for upwards of a minute, you’re also able to move quickly. This helped in the final moments of the game when we had a squad or two left and were in need of knowing where the enemies were. One of my teammates chose Pathfinder. Pathfinder has the basic ability of being able to grapple on a tangible object, allowing you to springboard yourself forward and move faster throughout the map and also to get onto different areas that are out of reach. He has the passive ability of being able to place a survey beacon onto the map, which allows him to reveal the location of the next circle. His ultimate ability allows him to create a zip line. This particular ability, I believe, is the most useful out of all the Legends’ abilities. This allowed for us to get to the next circles faster and/or put us in a location that will better our chances of winning, specifically in the final circles. My third squad member would chose Bangalore. This particular character is one of the three female characters in the game. Her tactical ability allows her to shoot a smoke launcher, which was way more than helpful throughout the matches we played, specifically when a teammate was knocked down. Her passive ability allows her to move quicker when being shot at by enemies. The third ability, which is her ultimate ability, allows her to fire an artillery strike at the opposing team. The combination of these three are very useful, but give them all a go and see who works best for you!
You start out in a ship just like any other BR game. You have a “Jumpmaster” that’s randomly picked between the three squad members. The Jumpmaster is the one who’s in control of all three squad members as they jump and allows you all three to fly in sync as you fly to the location of your choosing. At any moment, you’re able to break apart from the Jumpmaster and fly solo. I thought this was a cool concept, because it allowed for us all to land relatively close to one another. In other BR games, I was guilty of over shooting or under shooting jumps and being a few houses away from where everyone else wanted to land. I thought this also gave a more relaxed feel to the beginning of the match since half the team was able to hang out and await to land. In the meantime, one of the teammates could look around and see if any enemies are nearby.
One thing you’ll notice when you’re going into each game is that it’ll show you the Champion Squad. This will show the gamertags of the three people who just previously won. If there’s multiple winning squads in the game then it will pick one randomly. This will showcase throughout the map on banners. This is a cool concept because it gives you an idea of the names of the people who were able to win it all the game prior, making you either want to avoid them or challenge them for that extra XP in game. There’s a narrator that talks throughout the match, giving you an idea of who the kill leader is, whether the champion has been defeated, and a few other things. This felt very similar to Unreal Tournament from back in the day and I had no problem with it – I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I noticed that when I heard “the champion was defeated” by the narrator that I felt as if the chances of my team winning the match have increased almost ten fold.
Another major difference in this BR experience is the ability to bring back teammates from the dead. If you’re knocked down you are able to be revived by your teammates, but if they thirst kill you, then you have approximately 85 seconds to have one of your teammates come over to your body and retrieve your player card. These are to be placed into one of the green beacons scattered throughout the map. Once this is done, you fly into the map and are able to join back up with your teammates. The only issue is that you come back with no weapons and will need to find loot or have one of your teammates give you some of theirs.
The customization in this game is unlike any other. You are able to customize your Legends, guns, emotes, voices, and banners. The amount of different customization options is impressive and we’ve already been informed that more items will continue to come in the future. The game is free and there is no “pay to win” which I was happy to see. The only thing you will ever pay for is cosmetic items – so in a way it’s similar to how Fortnite runs. There will be Seasons at a later date, so I would assume that there will be season pass you can purchase if you’d like, which will earn you more XP and better cosmetic rewards. For now, you’re able to level up your character and with each level up you’re rewarded with an Apex Pack. This pack gives you three random items that you can use to bling out your characters and the weapons they use.
As of right now, the only complaints I have with the game is that there isn’t any Duos or Solo modes. I also think that there needs to be more ammunition to loot throughout the map, because I find myself picking up a weapon I like less than the one I have later in the game because I run out of ammo for the gun I enjoy. My last complaint is regarding buildings throughout the map. There are buildings in the major landing locations, but there aren’t many scattered throughout the map in areas that aren’t named. One thing I had a ha it of doing in other BR games is land in locations away from hot spots so that I’m less likely to be killed before I’m able to loot a bit. I think adding a few buildings in the open areas of the map would be great. These are all things that can be tweaked in updates, so they aren’t a major concern. Respawn has stated that they will be doing weekly updates and have already asked for feedback on the loot on day one, which tells me most of these issues will be addressed soon.
Overall the game was a surprise to me not only because I didn’t expect this title to launch, but because of how great the game is right out the gate. The marketing throughout the day for the game was fantastic, they released it right after their Twitch stream, and they released it for free. Respawn isn’t asking for your money to give this game a try, they’re simply just asking for you to give it a chance and if you like it great and if not then atleast you didn’t have to cough up any money to play it. This is a game I would of paid upwards of $60 to play, and I’m able to for free. I’ll gladly give them my money for cosmetic items because so far the items all look great and the fact that they aren’t being greedy motivates me to want to give them money as well. They clearly saw the success this concept brought Fortnite and Epic Games and they’re going to master it just as well, in my opinion.