Game Review - Apex Legends

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  • Game: Apex Legends
  • Platform: PC (also on console)
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • Publisher: EA

Battle Royale games have taken over the gaming industry over the last few years. After The Hunger Games made its mark on the movie industry, mods for games like Minecraft and ARMA 2 (the DayZ mod) popped up fairly quickly, giving players arenas to battle it out for map supremacy. Soon, standalone games like PUBG (itself a mod of the DayZ mod) and Fortnite took over, becoming not only insanely popular, but managing to deeply integrate themselves into pop culture. The success of Fortnite was one that many thought would not be overcome for a long time; its absolute dominance over the attention spans of gamers worldwide seemed absolute.

And then EA released Apex Legends.

I’ve actively been uninstalling a lot of “time sink” games from my computer (Overwatch and League of Legends, mostly) so that I could play other smaller and/or single player games. When Apex dropped, I thought “well, it’s free, so I can give it a try at least”. It was literally overnight that this game took over most of my gaming time, as well as the time of so many other people. 2 million people downloaded the game in the first day, and over 10 million had played within 72 hours. An absolutely absurd, unheard-of adoption rate.

(Below is a clip of a recent game I played with some of my friends. Excuse the swearing.)

There are a few major reasons why I think the game is so successful:

  • A smaller game. Most battle royale games give you a massive map with up to 100 people, and give you a ton of options on how to play (solo, duos, squads, first person or third person, etc.). Apex doesn’t do this; 60 players, 20 teams of 3, on a map that still feels large, and yet encourages you moving around pretty quickly using…

  • The great mobility options. Slide down hills. Climb over walls (commonplace now, but not a default in the early stages of some of these games). Use balloons to launch yourself back into the air. Getting around the map is refreshing and fun; while there are a few instances that you might have to cover long distances in open space, there are usually a couple of loot boxes for you and your team to pick up.

  • The communication options. While I often am playing with friends, I’ll still fly solo with 2 random teammates. I know there are many players out there that would rather not have to speak to their teammates for various reasons, and in Apex, you don’t have to. The pinging system works incredibly well, allowing you to give nearly complete context of what you’re doing or what is on the map to the rest of your team without a microphone. I anticipate this being a fixture in any future battle royale games that hit the market.

  • The speed of the game. I was big into Call of Duty back in college, and the pace of Apex is right on the cusp of that series. While there are definitely moments of tranquility as you traverse across the aforementioned open areas or loot a tucked away zone, the fights are routinely fast and furious. And yet… even with all the blitz and blam, there is still enough time to make calculated decisions, to use abilities for disengaging or repositioning. The guns are strong but not TOO strong, the clips are big enough except oh crap reload reLoAd RELOAD!!!, and the ability to have your teammates bring you back after being knocked down makes this game have absolute perfect pacing.

(Another clip of a win from last night.)

The biggest complaints I’ve seen about this game so far are somewhat dumb; that being “all the paid content is too expensive!!!” Well, Dave, the game is COMPLETELY FREE. They need to recover the money from somewhere, yeah? Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever make a single purchase with actual money in this game, but that’s just me.

My praise for Apex honestly could not be any higher. They’ve already given us a new gun (which is great), and there are enough other guns, gadgets, and settings from the Titanfall universe that they can expand with in the future. The servers are getting better every day. The devs and community managers are out in front, actively engaging on Reddit and Twitter about both the good and the less good with the game, and it sounds like Respawn has plans to continue churning out content and improvements over the coming weeks & months.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been typing for too long, and I need to go drop in.

Did you enjoy this review? Did I skip anything important? Do you want to tell me how wrong I am? Use the hashtag #ApexReview when you message me on Twitter and let’s chat!

Written on February 27, 2019. Posted under Review.