The New Apex in Battle Royale
By David Delany
Battle Royale, is a genre that has hit the gaming market hard and fast. Nowadays it’s hard to go anywhere without the mention of Epic games cultural phenomenon Fortnite. For those not familiar, battle royale refers to a type of game based off the 1999 novel of the same name. Battle royale throws multiple combatants into a large arena with nothing but their wits about them. When they land in the arena it’s up to the players to procure equipment and weapons on site. Players also must eliminate other players while the arena shrinks to be the last one standing and win the #1 chicken dinner royale (essentially, king of the hill with more steps). With games like Fortnite and PUBG dominating the market, it is natural that other games would want to cash in on this trend. Among them are the titans of the first person shooter market Call of Duty with their Blackout mode and Battlefield with their mode Firestorm coming in spring… maybe…possibly… (the mode has been delayed a few times). With all these games adding battle royale to their roster it’s pretty easy to say the market is becoming bloated. But recently, EA’s newest company Respawn Entertainment has released Apex Legends, a battle royale game that may shake things up a bit and I have a feeling is going to be the David
to the Goliath that is Fortnite.
Apex Legends takes place in the same universe as Respawn’s other titan of a franchise Titanfall (pun absolutely intended), and even though Apex lacks the giant robots and parkour of that game it manages to use the franchise’s tight gunplay and colorful lore to its advantage. Where Apex differs from its competitors is in its characters. Much like the hero shooter genre each character you play as has a unique set of abilities and play styles that change how you play the game drastically. Every character has a passive ability (an ability that does not need to be activated) a primary ability, and an ultimate ability. These abilities can help track other player movements, help your team move from place to place, or change the tide of a firefight in an instant. It doesn’t help that the cast of characters are incredibly colorful with distinct personalities that reflect their play styles like my favorite character, Mirage. Mirage has the ability to create holograms of himself to trick opposing players into wasting precious ammunition and giving away their position. The character himself is a comedic narcissist, obsessed with his own image to reflect that and with a cast of 8 characters with more on the way you’ll likely find one that suits your play style and personality… not that I’m a narcissist.
The game also innovates in its team mechanics. Unlike most battle royale games which either allow or force you to play solo, Apex Legends is a co-operative experience. You play on a team of 3
(you and two others) and communication is key. Thankfully Apex gives you the tools to communicate visually for the more antisocial players with its ping system. With the simple click of a button you can tell your teammate where you would like to go, weapon and equipment locations, if you see any enemies, if you see signs that an enemy has been to a location recently, and much more. Plus, in most situations, it’s a lot quicker than telling someone that information verbally, which helps promote teamwork even among strangers. Another big draw is that if you die you are not quite out of the game right away. When you get downed, your allies can pick you back up. On the other hand, if you die, you leave behind a crate with what is called your banner. If your allies are able to recover said banner and locate a respawn point, they can bring you back from the grave (unfortunately, at the cost of you starting with no equipment again.) It helps keep you engaged with your team even after you’ve perished.
All in all, I’m not a huge fan of battle royale games. I’ve tried Fortnite and PUBG and neither really tickle my fancy. However, after playing an unhealthy amount of Apex Legends in the past few days, I definitely plan on seeing how this game evolves over the course of the year as the developers have already said they will be supporting the game with updates and a new character. And for any Titanfall fans, don’t worry: while Respawn has said they have no plans for Titanfall 3, they do however have a new game in the works that is more titan focused coming soon so keep an eye out. Either way Apex Legends is free so give it a try for yourself.
I give Apex Legends 3.9 hands out of 5.