Boy howdy, Apex Legends is fun!
This is coming from a stalwart opponent of games like Fortnite, Day-Z, and other battle royales. I don’t touch the stuff. I’d rather play Counter Strike 1.6 any day of the week.
I hope that helps explain some of my surprise when I downloaded a first-person battle royale looter shooter on my PS4 and had a blast despite losing over and over.
I was immediately brought back to days of old when I used to grind matches of counter strike, team fortress classic, and unreal tournament. Fast movement, map knowledge, and twitch aiming were key and I felt right at home. Sure, the PlayStation controller is about as wieldy as a bag of lobsters taped to an etch-a-sketch, but with a few adjustments, even a seasoned PC player can feel comfortable (note: not ideal, just comfortable).
What I’m perhaps most impressed by is how Apex Legends has taken the best aspects of several subgenres of first-person shooter while maintaining a tight focus on gunplay and twitch precision. Somehow, Respawn was able to take the character class system from Overwatch (arguably Team Fortress), the drop-in Battle Royale system from H1Z1 (or whichever one did it first), and the shooting and mobility from Titanfall and make an amazing free-to-play game. Each playable “legend” feels unique and interesting, but none feel like a crutch for players who can’t hit the side of a barn with a bazooka. Despite all of its strategic depth, each match of Apex Legends still essentially boils down to who can shoot each other in the head best. For me, that’s a huge plus, as weird as it sounds.
I hope I don’t make it seem like Apex is simply an amalgamation of other games’ best features. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. What Apex Legends does is take some of the best aspects of several different games, strip away all of the rotten parts, and improve on the formula in new and interesting ways. Part treasure hunt, part old school deathmatch shooter, Apex Legends is the only battle royale I gleefully recommend.
So far, my favorite aspect of Apex is its communication features, which is new for me. Being able to mute all VOIP activity and still communicate effectively through the ping system is a godsend for someone like me who plays without headphones and generally hates hearing other people’s voices when I play. Without this feature, I simply would not play this game. Now, if only I could mute all VOIP activity before the match even starts to avoid having randos yell racial slurs at me during character select.
That isn’t to say that EA’s Free-to-play Battle Royale doesn’t have its own flaws. Uneven hitboxes, inconsistent gun balance, and a potentially stale map layout are a few I can name off the top of my head, but I have confidence that Respawn will improve and iterate on their success from here. New legends, rebalanced skills and guns, and alterations to the map will go a long way towards revitalizing the player base and give gamers a reason to stay indoors this spring.
Are you playing Apex Legends? If so, are you playing on PC or console? I’m curious because I play on both and have friends who play on both and may end up writing an article on the differences between the two in the future and would love any different perspectives. Feel free to let me know in the comments below.