Apex Legends is the next evolution of Battle Royale. Developed by Respawn Interactive, creators of the Titanfall franchise, and published by EA, this game looks like a very promising new addition to the gaming landscape. It has taken elements from the hero shooter genre and plugged it straight into a battle royale game. Master a roster of legends, each with their own unique abilities and attributes. Each legend has their own tactical, passive and ultimate ability. These include things such as smoke launchers, enemy trackers, healing pods and gas grenades. Legends like Bangalore and Wraith can run around super-fast, while someone like Gibraltar moves a lot slower but has defensive shields available to hold his ground.
What really sets Apex apart is its team focus. It doesn’t allow you to play solo, the only option is to play in trios. You can team up with friends or randoms. From the start the game has text chat, voice chat, and an awesome ping system that lets you tell your teammates where guns, enemies and ammo are. There is also a way to respawn your killed teammates if you can pick up their dog tag. The game allows only one legend each team which also means you need to rely on the others for healing, recon or defensive abilities. This game focuses on team play a lot more so than the current battle royales out there. Smaller magazine size of weapons also further adds to the team focus.
The map design is also stellar. There are many hills that you can slide down, and ziplines can help you get up or across vast distances of the map quickly. If you have a Wraith in your squad you can also teleport between two player created portals. There are also many buildings and plenty of cover to use. Vehicles are incredibly huge and can be great to hide behind during a firefight.
The incredible growth and popularity of the game means that everyone is talking about it. They reached 10 million players within the first few days of launch, growing even faster than Fortnite. As of right now, it’s the most watched game on Twitch, and a considerable distance away from Fortnite. Many of the biggest streamers have moved over to Apex Legends and that is a big deal, with guys like shroud pulling in around 90,000 viewers on average these days, that kind of viewership can keep Apex Legends relevant and popular for a very long time provided it keeps them interested long term.
The graphics and optimisation are outstanding, where even older machines can run this on high graphics very smoothly. The music and soundtrack are good, although it could do with more variety. The monetisation model is great, only really there for cosmetic reasons and nothing that could influence gameplay, and definitely not pay to win. Everyone from the start has access to 6 legends, and another 2 are available through either in game currency or premium currency, although at the rate of earning in game currency it would only take about a couple of weeks to unlock both of them. Whether this changes in the future is yet to be seen, although considering how much of a bashing EA has taken recently, I feel like they prices this very generously to ensure they don’t get any community backlash from the start.
Overall this kind actually be one of the best free to play games ever, and possibly the best battle royale also. After some pretty disappointing results from the two Titanfall games, where it seems like EA has almost intentionally cannibalising the Titanfall IP, Respawn Entertainment have somehow and seemingly out of nowhere come back to the limelight in a way that shows the whole gaming world how good their games really are, and is in a way poetic justice. From just the few hours I have played over this weekend I would happily rate this a 9 out of 10, and I definitely look forward to seeing how the other big names in battle royale respond.