This title was reviewed on PS4, but is also available on PC and Xbox One.
Y’all know me. I love my battle royales. So when I saw Respawn, the legendary team behind the Titanfall series, had made a battle royale, I jumped on it immediately. I was not disappointed. Apex Legends does good to make itself stand out, if not as much as I’d like. The tight gunplay, unique mechanics, it’s revolutionary ping system, and it’s ties to the Titanfall universe make this game a worthwhile play. Throughout the time I’ve spent with this game, I’ve yet to encounter a bad team, and I haven’t had a bad experience either.
So to give a little background… well, there actually isn’t much. This game seemingly came out of nowhere for most of us, and it doesn’t have any predecessor. It’s made by Respawn Entertainment, who, as I mentioned, made the fantastic Titanfall series. I’m personally a huge fan of both Titanfall games, and I thought it was criminal how little attention Titanfall 2 got, so of course I had to jump on this as soon as I saw it.
So let’s get right into it. Apex Legends is a Battle Royale game that works in forced squads of three. At first, this seems like a detriment, but trust me, it’s a new direction that I think future Battle Royales will take notice of. You also have a selection of eight “Legends,” the playable characters of this Battle Royale. Each character has a unique set of abilities a la Overwatch, ultimate and all. Each is suited to a different playstyle, so you have a lot of room to experiment and see what works best with you. You’re placed in your squad and the hero selection order is randomly determined.
You’ll pick your hero, and then a jumpmaster is randomly assigned. This is Apex Legends’ first improvement on other games: A strong focus on teamwork. The Jumpmaster determines where your team jumps from and where you land. The other two members of the squad will automatically flank the Jumpmaster on descent. Now, if your Jumpmaster is a dick or you don’t like his or her decision, you can choose to break away from your squad and do your own thing, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Teamwork is heavily emphasized, hence the inclusion of Apex Legends’ second, and arguably most major, improvementon the genre: The ping system. Using R1 on PS4, some other button on other consoles, you can ping locations, items, crates, enemies, points of interest and much more. Holding it down will allow you to select from a variety of location-based communication options that make playing without a mic easy as hell. This fantastic feature allows for mute teams to effectively and tactically communicate with each other, and at the same time enhances the communication of people who do have mics. Those are my two favorite features. The rest is pretty standard. You have a range of guns and attachments straight out of Titanfall, and the game’s lore is tied to the Frontier as well. The gunplay is tight and responsive, the inventory system is well organized and concise, the map is large and varied, and the balancing is probably the best I’ve seen in a battle royale at launch.
Now, I do have a few gripes. My biggest being the boring movement system. Now, normally, this wouldn’t apply. Movement is movement, it doesn’t matter, right? Wrong. Respawn made this. Respawn has always been really good about delivering games with unique, fun, fast paced movement systems that make just running around fun on it’s own. This game doesn’t do that. They missed a fantastic opportunity to watch this game print money. Had they thrown Titanfall’s movement system, or even just aspects of it, in here, and maybe given me a grappling hook? I would spend whatever amount of money necessary to play this game. My other gripe is just some weapon balancing; the Mozambique shotgun is functionally as valuable in this game as a PVC Pipe T-Shirt Cannon propelled by your grandma’s antique hair dryer. It’s absolute garbage even at close range and that’s silly.
Past that, there’s not much else to talk about. Obviously there isn’t a proper story, so most of what you’re getting relies on the gameplay itself. Now, there are cosmetics for weapons and characters, which you can get from loot boxes or crafting. There is microtransactions too, the future is now. My verdict is this; If you like Titanfall, get this game. If you like battle royales, give it a try. If you like Overwatch, give it a try. It’s free, so frankly, if you like video games, give it a try. It’s an incredibly good, well designed game that I can’t wait to see evolve.