While every developer rushed to get their own battle royale game out onto the market as quickly as possible ever since the success of Fortnite and PUBG, Respawn Entertainment took their sweet time with Apex Legends and it shows.
Apex Legends has a polish and attention to detail that is unmatched by any of its current competitors on the market.
Apex Legends is a fast-paced and thrilling experience with very few low-points, a ton of high-points and it is currently the best battle royale on the market.
- Developer: Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts
- Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
- Price: Free-to-play
Apex Legends Review Summary
Just as I was starting to feel burned out by the oversaturated battle royale(BR) genre and wanted something else Respawn Entertainment goes ahead and releases Apex Legends, and I have hardly been able to stop playing since.
It is impossible for me to point to one thing that is responsible for the success of Apex Legends, just because it does so many things well.
The characters in Apex Legends feels unique and distinct without defining your gameplay experience. The support characters shoot just as well as the assassins and the tanks are as mobile as everyone else which creates a genuinely role-agnostic game where you play what you want instead of what the squad needs.
Apex Legends manages to eliminate the most boring and frustrating aspects of the battle royale genre at the same time as it enhances the most thrilling and exciting moments.
This is because Respawn Entertainment has not been afraid to break the mold and go outside what is traditionally considered to be essential to the battle royale games. Changes such as letting you revive your teammates, providing players with incredible mobility and more survivability as well as making loot a lot more interesting all help make the low points of the game more fun without taking away from the thrill of a no-respawn gun fight.
That is just to name a few of the positive changes that Respawn made to the genre that makes Apex Legends stand above its competitors.
The only thing really missing from Apex Legends is a solo and duo-queue mode. Although the game is designed around 3-man squads it would be nice to be able to go in with a single friend or alone.
The Bottom Line
Apex Legends is a well-oiled machine that provides an unusual amount of action, fast-paced and incredibly smooth gameplay and overall the most refined battle royale experience to date. It is a battle royale with all the highs points of the genre with almost none of the low points.
Respawn Entertainment took the battle royale genre and fixed it. Apex Legends is, in my opinion, the new gold standard of battle royale’s and it is now the game that every new BR game has to try and live up to.
Whether its success is due to the well-designed characters, the positive design changes or the overall polish of the game is hard to say, but one thing is for sure, it just works.
Apex Legends has Redefined the Genre: an in-depth look
Let’s take a look at how Apex Legends has created a new gold standard for the industry.
Subtle But Important Improvements
One of the things that have caused Apex Legends to become such a huge success in almost no time is all the subtle differences and attention to details.
The combination of the high basic run speed and the ability to slide down every hill and climb up every surface makes the movement itself in Apex feel more like Mirrors Edge than a first-person shooter.
On the surface, Apex Legends might just look like another battle royale, but the game is full of small but significant improvements that make the game feel a lot better than all of its competitors.
So much mobility
You might not have vehicles in Apex Legends but somehow you feel more agile and mobile than in any other battle royale, and the movement is legitimately fun in on itself. The combination of the high run speed and the ability to slide down every hill and climb up every surface makes traversing the map in Apex feel more like Mirrors Edge than a first-person shooter.
And when you need to travel far, you almost always have a launch pad or zip line nearby that you can use to glide long distances.
I will admit that I was skeptical at first when I heard that Apex Legends had no vehicles, but I honestly don’t think the game needs it when the base movement is so enjoyable.
Build for Teamplay – There’s no I in Legends
It is pretty clear after a few games of Apex Legends that the game was built to be played in a squad and while the lack of solo and duo-queue is definitely a problem it is not as big of a problem as I initially thought it would be.
The games’ ping system is excellent and doesn’t just work for pinging locations and enemies but works to point out specific types of gear and equipment. In fact, the ping system works so well that you rarely have to use the in-game chat at all.
Although I would like to see an option to ping the cooldown of our abilities.
However, the biggest reason that this game works better in a squad is the specific heroes, or ‘Legends’ and their abilities. A lot of them have abilities that work perfectly together with specific Legends, and in that regard, it feels much like a MOBA or something like Overwatch where specific heroes just combo up so well. It feels incredible when you line it up just right and use Bangalore’s smoke grenade on an enemy squad right when Bloodhound uses his ‘Beast of the Hunt’ ability that allows him to see enemies through the smoke and you take down an entire squad without anyone taking any damage.
That said, this can become a problem for Respawn Ent. when it comes to solo-queue with some Legends having abilities that are utterly useless in a solo scenario such as Lifeline’s revive passive.
Lastly, the best change from other games is the fact that you can be respawned even after being killed entirely, it makes excellent teamwork more rewarding than ever and removes a lot of the initial frustration from being executed without removing the intensity that no-respawn battle royales have.
All and all, playing Apex Legends with two friends has been the most fun I’ve ever had in any battle royale, and the upsides of catering to teamplay outweigh the downsides by a mile in my opinion.
The Game NEEDS Solo & Due-queue
Most changes that Respawn Ent. implemented into the battle royale genre are for the better, but the fact that you cannot jump into battle alone or with a single friend is incredibly annoying. While squad play is really satisfying it would be great to have the option to go solo.
Now it has been leaked that it is coming in a future patch so I won’t make too big a deal out of it, but it is a big con in my opinion and needs to be implemented as soon as possible.
Low frustration, high intensity
One of my favorite things about Apex Legends was how they manage to remove a lot of the frustration that usually comes with these types of games without removing that incredible intensity that made battle royales so popular.
The fact that weapons generally do a bit less damage than in games such as PUBG and Fortnite is a big part of it in my opinion. Not having to worry about being one shot from across the map by some camping sniper is incredibly refreshing and even if you get put down too fast, your teammates can get you back up. So that frustrating death is much rarer than in other BR’s but it is also not as annoying when it happens.
This is further helped by the fact that you can literally get into a new game instantly and don’t have to wait when you do die for good.
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Legends, Weapons & Gameplay
Now that we have talked about the positive and negative changes Respawn Ent. made to the battle royale formula it is time to talk about the core gameplay of Apex Legends.
Meet the Legends
One of Apex Legends most significant advantages over other battle royale’s is the characters. All of them have memorable and fun personalities, unique abilities and a distinct feel to them.
What I really enjoyed about the characters as well is how agnostic the role system feels. You don’t feel forced to play a character you don’t want to, and any combination of roles works pretty well.
I also love the fact that there is no difference in weapon damage between the support, tank and assassin roles, which make the support and tank characters a lot more fun. I almost always play the assassin role whether it be in Overwatch, League of Legends or something else but in Apex Legends I don’t mind playing the support role, and in fact, Lifeline is my most played Legend right now.
Profile Progression & Microtransactions
The weakest point of the game is the account progression and the microtransactions in general.
Now don’t get me wrong, the game has a ton of really lovely skins and getting some of them in the free loot boxes are cool. However, the way the store works with a lot of weapon skins being priced at 1100 Apex coins while you can only buy 1000 feels incredibly predatory, and this is a part of the game where the influence of Electronic Arts becomes very apparent.
You also have very little in terms of profile progression and statistics which needs to be addressed in a later patch. I think Respawn should add in Legend specific levels and give some unique tints and weapon skins to high-level characters. The game also really need a detailed statistics page like the one in Overwatch as you can barely see any of your statistics in-game currently.
No Two Weapons are the Same
The sci-fi setting of Apex Legends has allowed the developers the creative freedom to create a lot of really unique weapons that stand out a lot more than the usual weaponry in games such as PUBG. In traditional battle royale games, I always feel like most assault rifles feel like the same, all SMG’s feel the same and so on. In Apex Legends I always have a really strong preference towards specific guns due to how distinct the recoil and feel of the weapons are.
There are also very few weapons that really suck, and almost all pick-ups are useful, and while there are some that are a bit too strong(Looking at you Wingman), the balance in the game doesn’t feel bad at all.
Another genius move from Respawn is how they have chosen to name the guns with names such as ”Peacekeeper” and ”Prowler” as they are easily rememberable and after a bit of time, it is easy to remember each guns name.
Loot & Attachments are exciting
Unlike other games in the genre, the loot system in Apex Legends is brilliantly done and finding the right weapon and best attachments legitimately feel exciting.
Every weapon has a certain amount of attachments such as bigger magazines, better scopes and sometimes also some special extra accessory that improves how the gun works such as a ”Precision Choke” for the Peacemaker shotgun that dramatically reduces the spread of the weapon and allows you to blow people to pieces.
This has made looting a pretty exciting process at times and having a fully epic of legendary equipped weapon feels incredible.
Gameplay – Slide, run, shoot & slide some more
When you think of the state that PUBG, Ring of Elysium and most other battle royales were in when they first came out, it is pretty astounding how well Apex Legends run. It is clear that Respawn didn’t rush the development too much and the game looks and runs beautifully.
As mentioned earlier, the mobility that you have in-game makes the core gameplay feel fantastic but and luckily the gunplay feels just as smooth. It is also a lot faster paced than its competitors and you can almost always find a fight nearby if you want to.
Overall Apex Legends has an almost Blizzard-like polish(The old Blizzard Entertainment that is), and it honestly feels close to Overwatch in terms of how smooth the gameplay feels and it absolutely blows PUBG, and most other battle royale’s out of the water with only Fortnite having an equally polished feel.
Apex Legends map design is another piece of their success and honestly quite ingeniously crafted.
First of all, the map looks great and have a ton of different zones that feel unique. Instead of having these very monotone maps as most other battle royales have with a one snow map, one desert map, one forest map and so on. Apex Legends have an incredible amount of variety in their map with towns, swamps, deserts and more all in one map.
Secondly, the map is cleverly divided into areas that look distinct but also offer different tiers of loot, so every time you choose a location to land in you got to consider the reward-to-risk factor as the best locations are more likely to be crowded.
Lastly it’s overall layout is very easy to learn and after a few games, you have a perfect sense of where everything is even though the map is pretty huge.
The map is also filled with fun interactable stuff such as the hovercraft, zip lines, launch pads, and of course, a ton of loot.
If the post-launch vision for Apex Legends is as good as the base game then it has the quality and mainstream appeal to dethrone Fortnite in time and if the surge in players continues it looks like it will.
Apex Legends is the most fun I have ever had in a battle royale, and apart from the lack of solo and duo-queue and its lackluster progression system then Apex Legends is almost the perfect iteration of the genre.
Apex Legends somehow find a way to eliminate most of the problems that the battle royale genre have without sacrificing any of its strong points. The stale moments and low points that BR games usually have plenty of are negated by incredible mobility, points of interest, smart map layout and much more exciting loot that in other BR’s. The ability to be revived once killed and the fact that you cannot be one-shot from across the map also means that the frustrating moments are a lot less frustrating all the while the high points are just as exhilarating. It is not only our favorite BR but one of the best first-person shooters on the market.
So, is Apex Legends worth the hype?