Apex Legends is a free-to-play first-person battle royale game that released earlier this week. The development team behind the game is Respawn, creators of the woefully underappreciated Titanfall 2. Titanfall 2 is an FPS game complete with an excellent single-player story, a robust multiplayer component, and absolutely no loot boxes. Back in 2016 when the game came out, loot boxes were on the rise. The most notable game to offer them was Overwatch. Blizzard wasn’t egregious with their loot boxes, but other companies have failed to have a similar amount of concern for the consumer.
Destiny 2 and Star Wars Battlefront 2 at a point in time pushed micro-transactions to their limit in order to squeeze out as much money as they could from their consumer base. Respawn did not put a single loot box in their game and had no expensive DLC plan. Titanfall 2 was their vision. All the DLC they added was free and the only micro-transaction they offered was to unlock cosmetics early. Yup, you got to choose the item you wanted to unlock; it wasn’t up to chance.
Although Respawn is owned by EA now, they are an unbelievable game studio whose primary concern is to make consumers happy. With Apex Legends, they are following Fortnite’s existing business model while offering their unique feel of FPS gameplay.
The gameplay of Apex Legends is super smooth. If you’ve ever played an FPS before, you’ll feel comfortable jumping into a match right after doing the brief training mode and reading through your character’s abilities. The feel of Apex Legends is reminiscent of Titanfall, just without the wall-running and blazing fast pace. There is usually room in Apex Legends to calmly survey your surroundings and tweak your loadout before an enemy is encountered. Speaking of loadout, the guns in the game feel amazing. Each has a unique kick that only Respawn is able to pull off. In addition to the guns, you also have other equipment to experiment with including grenades, electric shuriken, and fire barriers. Going around the map looting, maneuvering, shooting, and coordinating with your team is a ton of fun. I would argue it is the most fun you’ll have in a battle royale game if you prefer not to use a mic.
Respawn took some notes from Overwatch when deciding to include characters with set abilities rather than avatars. Similar to Overwatch, it is nice to have a squad with tank abilities, support abilities, and damage abilities. Each character is easy to wrap your head around since they only have a passive, an active ability, and an ultimate. Also, the aesthetics of each character are very different. Although it is nice to be able to see your character at all times like in Fortnite, Apex Legends does a good job letting character personality shine through in other ways such as voice and animation. Some characters will appeal to you immediately, but you’ll want to experiment with all of them. If you can shoot and remember what your abilities do, then you are practically guaranteed to have a good time.
The little things go a long way in Apex Legends. The two main maneuvers you will be doing in the game are running and sliding. The map is crafted in such a way that allows you to frequently slide downhill, creating a palpable increase in momentum. Although there is no wall-running, there is a deceptive amount of verticality. Zip-lines throughout the level can carry you to high ground and climb up to many ledges. Other than the masterful maneuverability of the game, Respawn also implemented a brilliant ping system. With the tap of the right bumper, you can ping a location or equipment lying around. Double tapping the right bumper allows you to ping an enemy location. There are many other snappy ways to communicate with your team that I have not fully explored, all of it fun and meaningful.
Apex Legends is a quality game from an awesome developer with a non-predatory free-to-play business model. Although Respawn does not yet have the name recognition of the Call of Duty developers, Epic, or Bungie, they are absolutely crushing it in every way except when it comes to commercial success. Give Apex Legends a try; it is worth your time even if you are just vaguely interested. What do you find most intriguing about Apex Legends? If you’ve played it, what did you think? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Image by Respawn Entertainment, owned by EA