Apex Legends Review
Final Score 9/10 (Reviewed on ps4 pro, and xbox one x)
Talk about a game that literally came out of NO WHERE. No E3 announcements. No months of marketing or hype. That is usually the journey of a small indie game or quick release cash grab smaller B games. Apex Legends however is from a major AAA developer with one of the larger (and admittedly notorious) publishers, EA. Apex Legends was Announced, Revealed, and Launched all on the same day. This unorthodox launch was not without its purpose. The game is a free to play Battle Royale shooter. That is a genre that is quickly saturating and exploding with developers wanting to get in on the genre while its hot. Respawn Entertainment, the makers of Apex and the makers of the Titanfall games, stated that they wanted the game to speak for itself rather than have pre-release marketing. This may have anything to do with EA’s losing streak over the last year but also to battle any perception of Battle Royale oversaturation.
(Catch the Reveal/Launch Here)
Their strategy definitely paid off as marketing was word of mouth of gamers. With in just a day, it DOUBLED the twitch viewers of Fortnite over 300K. Within just 8 hours it reached over a million players, topping even 25 million players in the first week. Near the end of 2018 I was wondering and asking what was going to be the big game of 2019. 2016 was Overwatch, 2017 was PUBG, 2018 was of course the year of Fortnite, is 2019 going to be the year of Apex? Only time will tell. This game is more than just a intriguing fad that lured players in with its unusal launch, the game is REALLY REALLY GOOD.
I talked about my initial impression to Apex Legends, what it means for Anthem, Respawn, Titanfall 3, and EA in a previous article. I voiced some big picture/industry concerns as well as how this game is going to affect other titles. If you are interested in that, check out that. However, I want to review the game itself. Forget Titanfall 3, Anthem and all the industry extra parts, how is the GAME by itself?
(Apex Legends Launch Trailer)
Well it’s bloody smooth. This is the most polished and fun Battle Royale I have ever played. It is damn near perfect. Not perfect, but amazingly close.
My favorite feature of the game is its in game smart comm system. You have the ability to ping various things on the map to communicate with other players. In Battle Royale, communication is often key, and there often feels a strategic advantage when you are paired up with randoms who have mics. This ping system will use your characters in game voice to tell your team what you see. You can ping loot, a location you want to go, or even a spotted enemy.
For Titanfall fans, players will recognize some of the weapons, and the environment definitely will look and feel like the Titanfall universe.
The game is also unique in the Battle Royale genre because it is also hero shooter, and at launch there are 8 “Legends”, 6 of which are free. Each character offers unique gameplay. Some characters are more support based or more tank-like. Some characters have movement based abilities, while others are more defensive. It is very Overwatch-esc in the way the characters feel, which lends well to its purely three man squad gameplay.
Another really great improvement for an all squad focused BR is the inclusion of the “jump master” system. Nothing is more annoying than having squad mates scatter at the beginning of a BR, so making jumping together a little easier was a smart move.
PUBG and Blackout were military style shooters but both were paid, and Fortnite had a huge advantage being free, but Apex Legends brings the Battle Royal experience of a more military shooter to a free player base. This apparently was a happy compromise that benefited Respawn Entertainment. Obviously their strategy worked.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
Some negatives include it being pretty bare bones at launch. At launch it has one map and one three person squad mode. While more modes and maps will probably arrives, it currently feels a little light. The game also seems completely devoid of match-making. If you are a gamer like me that plays multiple games at once and maybe just maybe works too, devoting 8 hours a day to a single game may not be possible to you. First few days, my first few matches, while I was still getting the hang of what ammo goes with what gun, which gun works which way, I was getting killed by people with over 200 kills! Just two days ago I was killed by someone with 675 kills! This game just came out. In a game mode where matches are long and victories only go to three people out of 60, having a complete lack of matchmaking can feel a little broken. It would be great if total victories, kills, and damage played a part in who was on the map.
Guns feel super sparse. This game needs some updates to make it feel fun for everyone. They have to remember for every match there are 57 losers and three winners. That is a tough sell to make it fun for everyone. If too many people jump in one area there sometimes aren’t enough guns to go around, and there feels like a disproportionate scew towards lower tier loot. You can play match after match without finding better guns. Opening up 12 crates to find another Mozambique can be frustrating when you are just trying to find your favorite gun. Actually fully specing out a gun is rare.
Other room for improvement is the Apex store. Right now items are too boring and too expensive to be a real competitor to Fortnite. Player counts are one thing, but if they want it to be a fortnite killer and rake in the real cash, they need to make cooler loot and charge more reasonably not. No one is going to pay 12 dollars for blue paint. Now give us that Chappie skin? Lost in Space? Pilot Cooper Legend? Now we are talking.
(Fan Requests are already popping up!)
The biggest complaint of this game is probably obvious, but I don’t care. This is supposed to be in the Titanfall universe, so WHERE ARE THE TITANS? Removing the biggest and coolest part of you next game just seems odd? Plus, the movement in the first two Titanfall games was one of its coolest parts. Wall running, double jumping, flying around the map made the game feel fast. While movement in Apex is pretty forgiving, it feels comparatively sluggish to experienced Titanfall players. If Apex needs anything, it needs a classic mode. Titans, Double Jumping, and Wall running, all back in the game. Put the Titanfall back into Apex.
All in all, Apex is quickly becoming one of my favorite battle royale games, and quickly one of the better games of 2019 already. The year of Apex is only just getting started I suspect. At the low low price of Free it is definitely worth your time to check out. Available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with Respawn hoping to bring to Switch, Android, and iOS eventually.