Battle royale genre nowadays is quite packed with a number of popular titles like Fortnite, PlayersUnknown’s Battlefield (or PUBG) and Call of Duty Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode. Each of these titles has its own charm, but that also means it is extremely difficult to make a new groundbreaking battle royale game. Intriguing enough, that was exactly what Respawn Entertainment – the studio behind the critically acclaimed Titanfall series – did with their latest IP: Apex Legends. At the point of this article (February 25, 2019), it is reported that Apex Legends player count have reached top 25 million players only after more than 1 week. By far, the game has received tons of positive reviews and in fact, this game is really, really great. And with no further ado, let’s see what makes Apex Legends great!
For those who have played battle royale games before, this
can be the first thing many people may have noticed. In many current battle
royale titles like Fortnite or PUBG, players can play solo or as a squad.
On the other hand, Apex Legends did try something new in
battle royale. It is actually a squad-hero-based
battle royale game in which 20 squads will fight together with each squad
featuring up to 3 players. Not only that, Apex Legends is the first full-fledge
battle royale game to feature hero-character elements (similar to Overwatch).
Now to be fair, squad-based FPS and hero-character element are not new at all in the current gaming industry. However, the shining point of Apex Legends is how they successfully implement both elements in a battle royale game. Currently, there are 8 characters; or “Legends” according to this game’s term, and they are divided into 4 different categories: Offense, Defense, Support and Recon.
Each Legend has 1 Tactical Ability (active skill), 1 Passive Ability, and 1 Ultimate
Ability (also active skill which has a very long cooldown). Interestingly, all
of these abilities are surprisingly useful for many different situations, making
the game a lot more fun to play. For example:
is an unique Offensive character who has inter-dimensional abilities. Her
Ultimate Ability called Dimensional Rift
allows her to connect 2 locations via an inter-dimensional portal. This ability
is extremely useful in so many situations as it lets the entire party to safely
get from one place to the other.
does exactly what his name implies: tracking the enemy’s footsteps, traps, door
uses, etc…. And especially his Ultimate Ability which called Beast of the Hunt allows him to see all
the enemies no matter where they are in red.
Not only that, playing as a squad of three means there are
many squad compositions and also, many interesting strategies. For example, Caustic, Bangalore, and Bloodhound
team can be an extremely annoying team to fight against due to their aggressive
play-style. Essentially, this team relies on Caustic and Bangalore’s abilities
to shroud enemies in fog, completely blinding them while Bloodhound can use his
Ultimate Ability to easily see through the fog and dispatch the opponents.
Aside from that combination, there are many other interesting
squad comps to experiment. And it is
even more fun to test things out with friends.
Just like many other battle royale games, Apex Legends
follows the similar gameplay trope: throwing a number of players into a huge map.
These huge maps often include multiple smaller areas where players can scout
and find loots. Players can control where they want to land, find weapons and
items, and try to be the last man/team standing to win.
Apex Legends also did the same thing; however, there is a big plus in their map design: It is a closed huge island with various areas. Each area is separated by huge walls and therefore, each area feels like a proper individual multiplayer maps. When a squad reached an area, they will have to expect to fight within a closed area and they cannot just easily retreat to other places. Furthermore, due to areas being enclosed with high walls, players can jump in the area rather easily but getting out proves to be much trickier. Not only that, the way this map is designed creates many choke points where players often find themselves encountering other squads and furthermore, gunfire and actions occur more often.
Another big difference in Apex Legends’ map is the lack of
vehicle. Instead, players can find ziplines scattered throughout the areas to
quickly move from point A to point B. In addition, there are towers which allow
players to “climb” to the top and
jump down with jetpack (similar to how players start a match). As for the
character’s movement itself, unfortunately this game does not feature the
exciting parkour movements like Titanfall series. Still, character control is
still solid, and players can actually move much faster by holstering their
With all these changes, they help Apex Legends’ game-flow to
feel much faster than the other 2 major competitors Fortnite and PUBG. And to
certain extent, it probably feels even more engaging.
If we have to describe UI design in Apex Legends, we have to
say: it is simply fantastic! It is not even exaggerating to say those who
designed UI for this game really needs an award.
The UI in Apex Legends is shown in a clean way, easy to look and navigate. Players can take a look at the map rather quickly and everything is clearly presented on the map. Not only that, it also added a small, but handy feature in which the game will show the loot-drop levels in different area (e.g: Skull Town can drop mid-tier items).
Then there is one extremely useful feature which is the ping
system. In short, this ping system allows players to warn other squad members
about many, many things like: where to group up, the location of a good item,
the spot which enemy used to be at, the place where squad members are fighting
with enemy, and more… Not only that, the character will also say clearly what
players are pinging, including even some details like what type and rarity the
pinged item is on the ground. This system provides a much quicker, faster form
of communication as teammates can easily understand the essential information. Furthermore,
it is an effective way for people who don’t want to listen to “trolls” or people who don’t like to talk
to strangers in online games.
For many gamers nowadays, microtransaction is like a “bane of gaming” throughout the past few
years. Not only that, the fact that Electronic
Arts (EA) is the owner of Respawn
Entertainment only makes people to feel more cautious towards this game. Yet
for some reason, Apex Legends is probably the most “un-EA” game to date.
So first off, yes, Apex Legends do include microtrasaction
and loot box in the form of “Apex Pack”.
This microtrasaction system only includes cosmetic item like voice lines,
banners, or skins. Players can buy Apex Pack with real money, or, craft it with
in-game currency called Crafting Materials. Surprisingly, players can seem to
grind for Crafting Materials in a pretty acceptable rate and they will surely
get one Apex Pack each time leveling up. And if that is not enough, they even
tell you the item-drop odds, specifically:
- Rare or
better item: 100%.
- Epic or
better item: 24.8%.
Considering EA’s notorious reputation, such transparency is an absolute surprise indeed.
The only thing we may complain is that many items sold in the store look really lackluster. They really need to offer much-better looking stuffs in order to attract players. That said though, this is just a nitpicky point and definitely they will add more items in the future updates.
And that’s it folks!
What do you think of Apex Legends? Feel free to share with us and for now,
thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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