It's amazing how many people have already picked up the title already, but there's a clear reason why: it's brilliant.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a plethora of battle royale games, all trying to compete with the floss dance driven, sims-meets-shooter Fortnite, which has been unbeatable – until now. A new challenger has entered the ring, in the form of Apex Legends. Combining the best of Fortnite with the role selectability of games such as Overwatch or WoW, and the aesthetics of Borderlands, Apex Legends adds a new strategic aspect and setting to the genre.
Apex Legends wasn’t on our radar until its announcement earlier this week, and its release was unpredictable to say the least. Made by EA as an indirect expansion of the Titanfall franchise, the game takes 60 players, formed as 20 squads of 3, to a vast map with diverse futuristic biomes. The teams then battle each other and fight to be the victor, and the futuristic landscape only enhances this. What is even more impressive is the smoothness of the gameplay: considering this game already has over 10 million players, the online game runs as smooth as anything. The movement mechanics, especially hill sliding, are so seamless, you forget you’re playing an online game (that is until another player snipes you in the back of the head from 100m away). Speaking of humiliating deaths, if you are downed, an enemy can finish you off in a taunting cut scene specific to that enemy’s class. There’s not many worse ways to go than being taunted that you’ve lost and wasted the last 10 minutes of your life, only to lose to someone punching you in the face in a humiliating cut scene.
I will praise EA, who have thought about the problem that plagues most casual games, such as Fortnite, and that is a severe lack of communication. Be it a language barrier, or that you’ve muted the 12 year old kid on your team cos they’re squealing like a piglet up for slaughter, or the fact that they just don’t have a microphone full stop, EA has the answer: a simple waypoint system on a wheel, which allows you to tag not only a location to travel to, but enemies, where to attack and where to loot, among other things. Given there is no solo version of the main battle royale game mode, it requires you to play with your team, no matter how dumb they are (or the fact that their reaction times are slower than a snail taking a nap).
So what has Apex Legends achieved? Well, its taken all the best bits of a battle royale and an MMORPG, and fused them into what is, in my opinion, the best free-to-play game on the market at the moment. My only drawback is the amount of customization there is, and the amount of games you have to win in order to actually get enough credit to buy new legends and skins (of course you can buy them using real money, but where’s the fun in that?). Overall, it is a magnificent game, and finally a viable alternative to Fortnite.
Apex Legends is available now on PC (via Origin), PS4 and Xbox One.