Apex Legends: A Welcome Addition to the Battle Royale Genre
Apex Legends was a surprise.
People reported that something, maybe a Titanfall Battle Royale, was “coming,” but no one knew what it was. What came out of it was something unmarred by any form of hype. You cannot hype up something that you have no knowledge of, especially when there’s only rumors about it. The game is well-made because it takes so many gripes critics have had about the genre and gotten around them. While the game uses many parts from other popular members of the genre, it truly shines in its unique aspects.
Looking first at the mechanical parts of Apex, you have something fairly unique at its core: the DNA of a Hero Shooter. It isn’t a lite Hero Shooter, like Realm Royale’s class system, but a fully fleshed out and complete system of (currently) eight incredibly unique heroes, known as Champions.
The eight Champions all play very differently, each having three abilities: Passive, Tactical, and Ultimate. These abilities range from creating a shield while aiming to just having a grappling hook, and even summoning a supply drop full of armor and healing items. Each one is unique, but none of them are inherently better than any other. In the end, a headshot is still a headshot, a death is still a death, and this is still a Battle Royale.
A very interesting part of what appears in Apex is the system for choosing your character and deciding on a landing spot.
Since the game (currently) can only be played as a squad of three, the game randomly assigns people to pick first, second, and third. Based on continued gameplay, the third round pick player will earn the title of Jumpmaster, meaning they have a unique ability not present in other Battle Royales. The Jumpmaster has the power to choose where the squad will land, taking suggestions from other players. You aren’t forced to be Jumpmaster, as you can relinquish it, and if your squad disagrees with your actions, they can choose to land solo.
You aren’t required to be a team player, but Apex tries its hardest to make being a team-player easy and fun.
The best way that Apex makes team play engaging and easy is the often praised Ping System. The system, relegated to a single button press, is diverse and innovative. Gone now are the days of hoping that shooting your weapon, jumping and pinging one location with no real context behind it. ‘What’s wrong?’ your team thinks. ‘Is my squadmate in danger?’
It has no contextual information. In Apex, this is gone. You can ping a location, and your character will speak to your squad in whatever their native language is set to, saying, “We should travel here!” or “Let’s loot here!” But, if you ping an item, your character will, once again, speak to your squad, alerting them about the item.
“Helmet here, level 3!”
“Heavy Ammo over here!”
“Syringe right here!”
If you ping an item, your squadmates can call dibs on that item, even if its only symbolic, anyone can pick up any item. This is not relegated to just items, though. Enemies can be pinged, too, as an alert system to your squad. You can ping locations saying they’ve been looted. The whole system is carefully crafted to benefit all players, to get over barriers like language or technology.
Overall, Apex Legends is carefully crafted with excellent systems, making it a clear competitor to the biggest games of the genre: Fortnite, PUBG, Blackout. Apex is a free-to-play Battle Royale with both the AAA polish adored by fans of Blackout and the successful systems adored by fans of Fortnite and PUBG.
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