A new battle royale game has taken the gaming community by storm and provides a fresh, yet ambitious, twist to the popular genre.
“Apex Legends”, a free first-person shooter game developed by Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts, released to the public last Tuesday. Prior to launch, there was a lot of ambiguity around the game as it was following the universe of “Titanfall,” one of the publisher’s previous titles and that it would be battle royale-centered.
However, early access and knowledge about the game was strategically granted to influential streamers for marketing purposes.
At launch, “Apex Legends” dethroned “Fortnite” as the most-viewed game on the streaming platform, Twitch, with over 600,000 viewers and had over 2.5 million downloads in one day, according to Electronic Arts’ CEO, Andrew Wilson, in an interview with PC Gamer. Just one week after the game’s debut, that number has reached 25 million total and 2 million concurrent players over the weekend.
In a time where the battle royale genre reigns supreme, players might have been skeptical about the success of yet another last-man-standing feature. However, “Apex Legends” offers players an experience to all aspects of gameplay that often make you forget it’s another battle royale.
“Apex Legends” features a collection of playable characters, or “legends,” that players can choose from. These champions offer skill sets, similar to those of multiplayer online battle arena games that have utility, situational or damage-based passive abilities and movesets that can alter the tide of battle.
These abilities are not blatantly overpowered to where one character is considerably stronger than the rest, leaving players to choose their character based on their own preferred playstyle.
The game also implements a revolutionary “ping” system that allows players to actively alert and pin areas of interest or hostility to their teammates. The feature is widely praised by fans of the genre, making it possible for squads of random players to effectively communicate with each other without the need for microphones.
One of the most satisfying elements of the game is found on the actual island in-game. It’s incredibly well-designed and the transitions through each of the different landmarks on the map are seamless.
From the giant remains of prehistoric behemoths to rusted favela complexes, the landscape is both diverse and yet, appropriately natural to the setting.
There are a few issues with the game at its current state. Magazine capacity for weapons without attachments are painfully small and paired with the “time-to-kill rate,” which makes firefights frustratingly sweaty. The balance of gunplay and the deficit of ammunition affects all weapons equally and no gun stands out as overpowering.
Another frustration in gameplay is the extremely long death window when an opponent has eliminated you and while in a gunfight the player is unable to spectate their teammates for a period of time.
Despite the anticipation, “Apex Legends” allows team members to recover a banner from a squadmate for the purpose of respawning them at a nearby beacon. Unlike most battle royale titles, eliminated players in this game have a chance to get back in the match and secure a hard-fought victory.
While the game does have issues and in-game bugs, they are far and few between. Without a public beta test or playable demo, “Apex Legends” exceeds all expectations by running surprisingly well.
It stays true to “Titanfall’s” universe with detailed lore and immersive gameplay for fans of the series and offers simple, yet fun, features like its champion select and pinging for battle royale players of all expertises.
The game is still relatively new and while hardcore players have already exhausted most of the game’s cosmetic content, Respawn Entertainment is ready with purchasable season battle passes and new features starting in March.
With the second week of its release coming up, only time will tell if these features will be enough to keep players engaged, but with its astonishing gamer base so early on, it seems “Apex Legends” is here to stay.