Hello everyone. Hope you are all doing great. Now, I know what you are thinking: “Two blog posts in one week?! The world is ending!” I feel guilty for not posting much lately, and I am going to be busy in the coming weeks trying to finish up my thesis once and for all. For this blog post I want to talk about Apex: Legends, a new battle-royale game that has been winning over gamers, critics and streamers despite it being out for just two weeks. I have managed to play this game a bit in spite of many challenges I had with regards to actually playing it. Here are my first impressions of the game. Please sit back, relax and enjoy.
Apex: Legends is a first-person shooter battle royale game released on 4 February 2019. The title was developed by Respawn Entertainment, developers of the Titanfall first-person shooter franchise. The game was published by Electronic Arts. Apex: Legends is set in the Titanfall universe and takes place 30 years after the events of Titanfall 2. Respawn asked EA not to arrange any form of marketing for the game, opting instead to announce and release the game at the same time. This was done in order to avoid preconceived ideas and opinions on the game.
Apex: Legends is a free-to-play title with cosmetic micro-transactions. When players heard this game was free-to-play they became understandably worried, as EA is notorious for implementing pay-to-win mechanics in their full-priced games. Respawn, however, assured players that EA had no hand in the development whatsoever. Apex: Legends now has over 2 million concurrent players and received over 25 million downloads within its first week. With this background information established, let us get down to the impressions.
Gameplay and Characters
Apex: Legends pits 20 teams of 3 members each against each other. Teams deploy onto King’s Canyon (the name of the map/stage) and must scavenge for weapons, armor and any other tools they need to survive and eliminate other teams in order to be crowned Champions. Apex: Legends might be the new kid on the block filled with countless other battle royale games, but this title has so many unique features and does so much different that it stands apart from other titles in the genre. Firstly, unlike many other battle royales, you do not inhabit the shoes of a random, nameless character. Instead, you choose from eight unique characters, both in terms of personality and ability.
Each character has a passive ability, a primary ability and an ultimate ability. For example, Bangalore’s passive ability makes her run faster when she is under enemy fire. Her primary ability is a smoke grenade that she launches from a device on her armor, and her ultimate is an artillery strike that she can call in. This combination of the hero shooter genre and the battle royale genre is incredibly unique and an enormous amount of fun. Team members have to work together to emerge victorious, and each character is incredibly useful in different scenarios.
This game combines elements from Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and of course Titanfall to create a truly different playing experience from anything available in the gaming world right now. You can experiment with different characters to find one that perfectly matches your play-style. I have found that Bangalore is perfect for me. Thus, she is my go-to pick. If she has already been chosen, it is no problem. In that case I choose either Wraith or Gibraltar.
Now, let us briefly talk about the map. I thoroughly enjoy running around and searching for loot because the locations are varied in terms of the loot each area has and the aesthetic and play-style of each location. Also, unlike other battle royales, each team is assigned a jump master at the beginning of the game who decides where the team will land. The jump master is randomized each match, so sometimes it will be you and other times it will be someone else. This mechanic further deepens the team-play aspect of the game. Of course if you do not want to jump with your team you can choose to jump solo, although that can be at the detriment of both yourself and your team.
One feature that I find amazing and revolutionary is the ‘ping’ mechanic. With the push of a button players can point out different items to their teammate like weapons or armor. Players can also notify their teammates of nearby enemies, or use this feature to ask for different items. In any battle royale communication is key and most (if not all) battle royales allow voice communication for better coordination with your team. With Apex: Legends however I never felt the need to connect my earphones and talk to my team because this mechanic is robust and excellent.
The characters have their own backstories and motivations, and I wonder if Respawn will develop the story outside of the game like Blizzard does for Overwatch with its animated shorts and comics. Respawn have already revealed that two characters, Gibraltar and Bloodhound, are LGBTQIA+. This revelation was met with overwhelming positive reaction by gamers and fans alike, praising the studio for this decision. Apex: Legends community manager Jay Frechette said this about the inclusion of these characters: “Having a diverse cast is super important. You want everyone to have someone that they can connect to” (Credit: pinknews.co.uk).
Apex: Legends is a free-to-play game, which means that you can download it on your console or computer and play for free! This also means, however, that there are micro-transactions in the game. For those who do not know what this means, micro-transactions are virtual items that can be purchased with real-world money. This is done in order to maintain the game’s servers and compensate the developers of the game.
There have been many a controversy regarding many different games when it comes to micro-transactions, but Respawn have ensured us that the micro-transactions in the game are cosmetic only and do not affect gameplay. In my time playing this game I have seen that this is indeed the case. You can choose to purchase items like weapon skins, character outfits and many, many other items with in-game currency you acquire by exchanging them with real world money if you want them immediately. You can, however, earn “Apex Crates” every time you level up your profile.
Each “Apex Crate” contains 3 cosmetic items, and the odds of the rarity drops are stated clearly for you to see. I think this this micro-transaction system is incredibly fair, especially seeing as you can earn items without paying a single cent. Other free-to-play games I have come across do not have micro-transactions you can earn through just gameplay which is fine, because the entire game is free. The cosmetics available in Apex: Legends are varied and incredibly itneresting, and there are a lot to get.
Although the game just came out Respawn Entertainment have already promised on-going support for the title. This will come in the form of new weapons, new legends (characters), new cosmetics and much, much more. They have laid out a road map for the game which you can view below. What I am looking forward to is seeing how they implement the battle-pass system in this game.
Fortnite Battle Royale has been lauded for its micro-transaction system, especially the battle-pass, which allows players to work their way through different tiers and unlock different cosmetic items by completing challenges. I wonder if this will be the same for Apex: Legends. We will find out in March when the battle-pass system will go live.
Battle royales do not tend to focus on music, as the point of the game is to survive. Thus, silence is key in order to hear enemy movement, and Apex: Legends is no different in this regard. However, when you start up your game, you and your ears are treated to an epic piece of music that gets your blood pumping for the heart-racing and nerve-wracking action you are about to take part in. When you and your team are dropping into your chosen location on the map to begin your game, you are then treated to the landing music, which is just awesome.
This piece of music focuses your mind and gets your head in the game, but you can not help but nod your head and tap your feet to its beat. The music was composed by Stephen Barton, who composed music for the video games Titanfall, Titanfall 2 and the Syfy TV series 12 Monkeys. On 20 February 2019, it was announced that the Apex: Legends soundtrack will be released soon in partnership with Lakeshore Records and EA Games, and I can not wait for it.
Apex: Legends is an absolutely fun battle royale. I have not tried many because I do not think I am good at this genre, and Apex: Legends has definitely not changed that, but even when I die I can come away from the game having had fun. The gun-play of the game is responsive and great, the characters are fun and lively, the map is varied and interesting and the overall experience is just great. These are my first impressions, however, and things may change overtime, but for now this is a great game.
Thank you all for reading. This game came out two weeks ago and I wanted to give my immediate first impressions of it. I hope you enjoyed it. Now if you will excuse me, I still need to earn my first win in this game. I hope you all have a fantastic day and I will see you all in the next blog post.