Apex Legends Review: A new standard has been set for battle royale
Played On: PS4 (Original)
Using what they have learned from the Titanfall series, Respawn Entertainment has made a truly perfect battle royale experience with Apex Legends and gives players a multitude of options to get their squad to the top.
Like other battle royale games, players will be diving into combat with two teammates and must face off against 19 other teams of three in order to be the last one’s standing. At first players won’t start with anything and will have to scavenge weapons, items, and attachments in order to survive against enemy teams. To make matters worse, there is an enclosing field that will slowly force players to engage one another so campers are out of luck. Yada yada yada (You’ve probably heard this all before).
What sets Apex Legends apart from just being another battle royale game is not only the excellent classes players can choose from that change the tide of battle, but also the great attention to detail that Respawn brings that enhances the overall experience. With the classes brought into Apex Legends, players have more options for how they want to navigate and fight against opponents as well as work better as a team.
The different kinds of classes can basically be sorted into, what I feel is, three different categories: offensive, defensive, and environmental. The first two are pretty self explanatory and, like every class, come with an active ability, a passive ability, and a special that brings new elements to team dynamic. For example, a more offensive character, like the Bangalore, has an active ability that creates a cloud of smoke that can blind enemies and give your team a quick escape or an easier chance to get the upper-hand. The Bangalore can also have a small wave of mortars that can cause enemies to scatter and go off on their own or even decimate the health of your enemies so that you can go in for the final kill.
More defensive classes, like Gibraltar and Lifeline, act more as supports and can come in clutch in the heat of battle. While playing as Gibraltar, players will get a passive ability that sprouts a protective shield whenever looking down sights as well as an active ability that forms a dome shield that blocks attacks for 15 seconds. Gibraltar also has a special that, while similar to Bangalore’s, lets players coordinate defensive mortar strikes that can send enemies running. Lifeline plays more into a medic roll with her passive ability bringing up a shield that protects players while reviving and her active ability that allows players to call on a drone that will heal teammates. Her special is also pretty rad as players will be able to call their own care package that will bring some defensive items to give their team the edge in battle.
Last, and certainly not least, there are more environment changing classes, like Bloodhound and Pathfinder, who can play both for offensive and defensive situations by interacting with the environment. Bloodhound plays more like a mobile recon with an active ability that sends out a small radar burst that allows you, as well as teammates, to see enemies, traps, and clues that come from Bloodhound’s passive ability that tracks movement clues or blood left behind by foes. Bloodhound quickly became a personal favorite of mine as I was able to be more of an active leader by being able to call things out thanks to Bloodhound’s special that makes it much easier to spot enemies from miles away.
The Pathfinder actually gives players the option to change the environment and move easier across the mountainous terrain. With Pathfinder, players can use a grappling hook to rappel up mountains quickly as well as grappling to enemies to get up close and personal. Pathfinder’s passive ability also is a huge benefit for long survival as players can find survey beacons scattered around the map that will give the location as to where the circle is shrinking. However, where Pathfinder can become a game-changer is with its special as it lets players create a zip-line that can let their team gain the high ground on unsuspecting squads.
Now, there’s other great characters that players can play as and utilize their abilities to change the tide of battle, but it doesn’t matter how good you are alone. Rather, what makes Apex Legends so great is how team gameplay feels rewarding and working with each other’s abilities can lead to a sweet victory. While the abilities are great on their own, when they combine their abilities together for a strategic battle/survival plan, players will be able to see how strong they really can be.
Just imagine this: There’s only a few teams left, my squad (made up of my Bloodhound, a Pathfinder, and a Bangalore) is just outside the Market, and the circle is closing in. First, I use my radar to see that a squad is just a few rooms away while also seeing clues with timers that tell me how long ago they left their tracks. The Pathfinder then creates a zip-line for us to use to get to the roof so we can surprise them through a skylight. Once we see them, the Bangalore throws a smoke grenade in and we light them up. Now, not everything goes this according to plan, but plans and situations like this can occur if players learn to utilize their abilities together.
Even if you’re playing alone with other random players, Apex Legends has a lot of options for communication that also allow for each character’s personality to shine. The “Ping” system implemented by Respawn is awesome and extremely versatile in pointing out enemies, tagging guns, recognizing the tier of armor and ammunition, and directing your team with where you want to go next.
Depending on which character you pick, your character will also say a charming line that let’s you get to know their personality a bit. The lines never come too often and honestly are great for reminding teammates when you’re taking enemy fire or when you are using your special without having to press a button.
There’s also great community and team building elements that Respawn puts into Apex Legends that make it totally unique. Before each match, there is a champion squad that is introduced that both something to worry about as it lets other players know who is top dog as well as something to laugh at when your character says how bad they are when they take an early exit. The best part, though, has to be how Respawn, ironically, lives up to their name by giving teammates more options to revive one another. Reviving downed teammates is still a thing, but it goes a step further with teammates being able to grab a token from teammate’s loot boxes and take it to respawn points to bring them back into battle. So even if your gunned down and seemingly gone for good, teammates can bring you back and keep you around even after you’re gone.
For personal customization, there’s plenty of cosmetics for character skins, guns, and player cards that are easy to obtain through gaining experience. There’re also some smaller aspects of Respawn’s attention to detail that need to be mentioned. The loot tier system is great and easy to understand, and I love how rare gold loot actually is because it is actually a genuine surprise when I stumble across it. There’s also no fall damage when jumping off mountains and you can continuously slide down hills for faster mobility. Not to mention, the game is completely free and what’s more glorious to a gamer’s ear than the word “free” (especially for a game published by EA).
Respawn Entertainment provides a fresh battle royale experience that players will want to keep playing for a while and showcases their superb talents. It’s tough to say if this is a sign that EA can regain some good faith from fans with Apex Legends, but either way it’s a step in the right direction. With Apex Legends, a new standard for battle royale has now been set and anything less than what this game brings would just feel like a step backwards.