Out of nowhere, Respawn Entertainment, the developers of the much celebrated Titanfall franchise, has dropped a new battle royale title on unsuspecting gamers in the form of Apex Legends. The game takes on the genre popularised by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which at this point one would assume is overly saturated. We enjoyed the game and here is our Apex Legends review.
Surprisingly enough, Apex Legends managed to put its own twist on the formula through the introduction of some interesting elements. For one, you are forced to play in a squad of three. While you can obviously go the lone wolf route, death is swift in this game when you are by yourself. The game goes out of its way to encourage team play that there really is no other way to go about it.
Unlike other games of its ilk, Apex Legends employs a class-based system where each character has their own unique abilities, passives and ultimates. When it comes to weapons handling, everyone is equal and only distinct in terms of playstyle. From the looks of it so far, no one character is stronger than the other. Bangalore is your cookie cutter soldier unit who is focused on offence. Meanwhile, Lifeline, as you would have guessed from the name, is your healer and support character.
There are a total of eight playable characters, two of whom are locked. To get them, you will either have to use in-game credits or buy them outright. The option of farming for a character is open to you, but it is going to take you a while to do so. As it is the norm for such games, there is an abundance of cosmetic customisation options available to you. These can be obtained from Overwatch-style lootboxes or again, bought with in-game currency or real cash.
Once you actually get into the game itself, everything here onwards will be familiar to those who play battle royales. You are dropped from the sky and you will have to find a strategic point to land. The game really likes everyone sticking together, so the squad leader gets to decide when everyone jumps. Of course, you are able to split and go about doing your own thing, but why would you?
The map comprises shanty towns, lush countryside and industrial zones. As the game is set in the same universe in Titanfall, much of the aesthetics will become familiar to those who have played the games in that series. The art direction of Apex Legends strikes a balance between science fiction realism and comic book grunge.
The map is made up of a mixture of worn-out industrial areas, shanty towns and stunning countryside. Apex Legends is set in the same world as Titanfall, but while there was a utopian gleam to much of that world, here everything looks grim and worn down, your team picking through a hastily abandoned airbase or overgrown power plant. This gloom is counteracted by the colourful artwork, which is so picturesque you’d be tempted to pull out a camera if it wasn’t for all the gun-toting killers.
As mentioned earlier, teamwork is the primary emphasis here, and underlying it is its communication infrastructure in the form of a ping system. Without ever having to utter a word, the ping system allows players to mark enemies, point at pickups, set up waypoints, warn teammates and much more. All this is achieved from simply clicking on the middle mouse button, where even more options are available as you hold down on it.
The ability to revive teammates is nothing new, but even after they are permanent killed off, you have the option of bringing your allies back to life. To do so, you will need to take their banner from their loot before proceeding to a respawn point to get your numbers back to scratch.
Gunplay is satisfying for the most part, and there is a rather extensive arsenal of weapons at your disposal. There aren’t any completely useless weapons, and they all do the job when used correctly. Ammo is scarce and the inclusion of shields mean that it will take a bit of work to take someone out. This is a double edged sword obviously, as while it means you will not usually drop right away from a surprise attack, the same applies to your opponents as well.
Inventory management is the name of the game here too, and thankfully, everything is very streamlined. You will be able to decipher to the rarity of an item as they are all colour-coded. Attachments automatically equip themselves if the weapon is barebones, and switching between them is a breeze.
I’ll be honest. I desperately wanted this game to fail since I harbour no love for Electronic Arts. Thankfully, the game is solid enough that I managed to overlook its ties to the publisher. The developer themselves were aware about Electronic Arts’ reputation at the moment and decided to quietly release this and let the game do the talking instead. And the message is loud and clear. While Apex Legends will unlikely convert those faithful to PUBG or Fortnite, it does have something for those looking for something different.
There are some issues with regards to balancing here and there, but the foundations of this game is strong. With a few more tweaks and updates, Apex Legends will be a strong contender in this crowded genre. With being a free-to-play title, there shouldn’t be any excuse not to try it.
Apex Legends Review
A solid entry in the crowded Battle Royale genre with some interesting additions
- Varied playable characters to suit any playstyle
- Fluid and frantic gameplay
- It's free
- Farming for unlocks may be tedious
We Give Apex Legends a 8 out of 10