On February 4, 2019, Respawn Entertainment — now owned by EA — launched a battle royale experience called Apex Legends. There were rumors that it would be a free-to-play version of Titanfall, but it's more along the lines of Overwatch than anything else. It's a good old-fashioned battle between good and evil. The first piece of information to get out of the way is that the game seems to take place in the Titanfall universe, but it doesn't feature mechs or any other towering contraptions you can control. It's a standard run-and-gun shooter, where each character has various special abilities.
During the reveal, Respawn called it a "tactical squad-based battle royale" game and the "ultimate test of survival." Twenty squads of three players fight to the last squad alive. So instead of having a hundred players, there are sixty. Just like Overwatch, your team has to pick characters — from the fearsome "Gibraltar" to the sneaky "Mirage" — which complement their abilities. For example, having Mirage lure enemies to a particular area using his decoy ability, and then having someone as strong as Gibraltar completely decimate them is the key to success. You have to think tactically.
Luckily, there are numerous characters to choose from so you'll definitely find a fighter you like. Communication still plays a vital role, but let's say you don't want to use a microphone. There are ways to "ping" weapons, enemies, and locations. You can understand each other without even having to move your lips!
- Blood Hound — Technological Tracker
- Gibraltar — Shielded Fortress
- Lifeline — Combat Medic
- Pathfinder — Forward Scout
- Wraith — Interdimensional Skirmisher
- Bangalore — Professional Soldier
- Caustic — Toxic Trapper
- Mirage — Holographic Trickster
- Assault Rifles
- Sub Machine Guns
- Light Machine Guns
- Sniper Rifles
From our time with Apex Legends, we can definitely say that the shooting feels great. It's just as precise as what we're used to in Call of Duty, and feels absolutely incredible. It's even a step above what Respawn managed to achieve in Titanfall 2. There's a lengthy tutorial at the beginning of the game which teaches you how to play. There are a lot of different variables in Apex Legends that you have to familiarize yourself with before starting your first match. Keep in mind that the team leader — known as the "Jumpmaster" — chooses when players will drop onto the massive map. Unlike PlayerUnknown's Battegrounds, there are marked hot zones where you can find supplies. Lastly, the initial goal is to secure a supply ship before you wipe out everyone else on the map.
Apex Legends looks a little blurry on the base Xbox One, but it still manages to stick to 60 FPS. Luckily, the Xbox One X version seems like it's running at a very high resolution, maybe even 4K 60 FPS with dynamic scaling. The textures are incredibly crisp, and look great close up.
You can find the battle royale map below. Learning where all of the many points of interest are will serve you well when you finally play the game. You have to be the last person standing.
As with any free-to-play experience, Apex Legends features microtransactions for cosmetic items. EA Access members get some coins and other items. Luckily, we couldn't find any pay-to-win mechanics in there. Loot also plays an important role in the game. According to the team, "drop in and loot up with a host of powerful weapons, diverse attachments, and useful armor to protect you in battle." After the battle, you can collect a wealth of cosmetic options for personalizing your character and weapons, and unlock new ways to show off during the match.
In a recent interview, design director Mackey McCandlish explained that you could purchase "Coins" on the Microsoft Store to then grab "Apex Packs," their version of lootboxes, that give you a random choice of cosmetics with at least a "blue or rare quality item" as well as the chance to get exotics.
Are you excited for Apex Legends? Will you try it out? Let us know. Respawn has promised years of post-launch support for the title.
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