Apex Legends – Momentum Takes Centre Stage

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The Good
Movement transitions are seamless
Excellent gun play and inventory management system
Excellent map design
Game-changing Contextual Pings
Transparent loot box system
No major bugs or server issues
Respawn dead teammates
The Bad
No Solo mode yet

Following the massive success of battle royale games such as PUBG and Fortnite, it is no surprise that EA would want to cash in. However, Apex Legends came as a complete surprise. With virtually no marketing it was able to get 25 million players in 72 hours (this might also explain Anthem‘s poor sales performance). Apex Legends’ a complete surprise package and here’s why.

Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale (BR) game from Respawn Entertainment who are developers of the criminally underrated Titanfall 2. They successfully merged concepts from hero shooters such as Overwatch with existing BR traits with a touch of some Titanfall 2 hot sauce to create Apex Legends.

In the game heroes are called “Legends”, and each has a passive, tactical and ultimate ability. Also, it forces you play in squads of 3, with each player selecting a Legend.

Play as Legends such Gibraltar who can throw down a deployable shield or call in an artillery barrage or, Wraith who goes invisible for a few seconds while getting a speed boost or creating a vortex that anyone can use. However, unlike Overwatch all characters have the same movement speed and the Legend composition of the team does not really matter.

This means that no there are no clutch characters, but just what character you want to play with. This game starts off as any other BR game where you jump out of a plane, party bus or in this case a drop ship into a map with and start looting for gear and weapons.

Sounds familiar? Well it all changes when you hit the ground. Right away you notice how momentum is the game’s core mechanism. Apex borrows from Titanfall’s fluid movement mechanics. As long as you have the momentum you can chain movement combinations to gain the upper hand.

For example, you can seamlessly transition from a sprint into a slide, to shooting an enemy while sliding, to jumping then climbing over a high wall to finish off their last squad mate and finally sprinting again to get the hell out of there. You might be afraid to slide off a cliff but not to worry as there is no annoying fall damage! What a relief!

I know most of you trembled in fear when you read of being forced to play in squads. However, the developers have made it easy to play without voice chat with the Contextual Ping System. Simply aim at anything, ping it and your character will automatically give an accurate call out or description.

See an attachment or piece of armour your teammate could use? Just ping it and your character would describe its function and tier. Spot and enemy or a location you want to head towards? Just aim, ping and your team will know exactly what you want them to know.

I found myself playing with Randoms without ever using voice comms once and winning. It really feels as though the developers tested the game without voice chat before implementing it.

The gunplay is excellent with many different weapon variants. They feel punchy, sound great and picking up ammunition and attachments for them is simple. The game does a great job at simplifying inventory management. Each tier of attachments and ammunition type is colour-coded. If you can’t attach an item or if it is tier lower than what you already have it is indicated next to the item. Also, attachments automatically switch from weapon to weapon if the attachment slot exists. So, no more time wasting in inventory management.

The map design is fantastic to say the least. It is designed so that you can take advantage of the movement mechanic anytime as there are plenty of slopes, high walls and ziplines that allow you to traverse larger vertical or horizontal distances in a matter of seconds or you could use one of the many redeploy balloons that carries you just about high enough so that you can use your jet pack to get to your rendezvous checkpoint.

You can also respawn a dead team-mate. Quite often, we see squad mates abandoning you when you are in a down-but-not-out state. Now, your squadmate has 90 seconds to collect a banner of a dead team mate, once collected any sqaudmate can proceed to the nearest respawn beacon to get your teammate back into the game. This adds to a whole new dimension of gameplay as you would not only need to win the previous gunfight or stealthily sneak around to get your teammates banner but you’d also need to control the area around the respawn beacon as revived players are easy pickings because they drop back in with no loot.

Since it is free-to-play, it inevitable that that there are going to be loot boxes in the game. Although I strongly dislike loot boxes, I must give credit to Respawn for the way they handled this. Respawn provides players with the drop rate of items and confirms that you will not get items you already have and that after a certain number of drops you will get a legendary item. Also, as of now all items are cosmetic items only. This does away with predatory and pay to win practices that EA and other AAA game publishers are infamous for and its one I believe most gamers can tolerate.

Overall, the game has had a successful launch as it has had no major bugs or server issues, unlike some of its competitors. Respawn’s take on battle royales has been a breath of fresh air for this genre, where it’s becoming heavily saturated with PUBG or Fortnite clones offering very little innovation to keep things fresh in terms of longevity. Respawn has stated that new Legends and cosmetic items will be added soon and I cant wait. I do hope that Solos are added in sometime soon as playing against squads all the time can get a little boring.

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