Apex Legends Characters Do Make It a Hero Shooter Like Overwatch

by in Apex Legends | Dec, 14th 2020

One of the most interesting things about Apex Legends is its characters. The cast of Apex Legends characters that you can pick have personality and charm and affect the gameplay directly even though it is an otherwise standard battle royale game.

Set in the Titanfall universe, Apex legends are an astonishing battle royale entry from Respawn Entertainment that has put the developer on the game industry’s mainstream map. And a large part of this has to do with the Apex Legends characters. 

Respawn Developer Stated That They Aren’t Just Making an Overwatch-Like Game

But here is the problem with Apex Legends that recently came up. The developer is constantly making changes to characters, both good and bad ones, to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible online and that there is some semblance of balance.

Sometimes the community will request changes to help characters. That was what happened recently for Loba, one of the newer characters. A player asked Reddit for help with the tactical ability that she has built-in there to be a loot-focused ability. 

One user replied to this, supporting Loba’s changes as well but taking it in a more broad direction. They noted that they don’t understand why Respawn is so afraid of making big legend changes most of the time. They further stated that guns change regularly and massively while legends don’t.

During this conversation, a developer chimed in and gave some thoughts on the whole situation that clarified things. They noted that they are making a gun game first and foremost with characters in it, rather than a character-focused game with guns. 

Another developer chimed in and explained this thought process. They stated that they couldn’t bring everyone in the roster up to the power of Lifeline, Wraith, and Pathfinder to equal things out because they are moving towards making more of a character rather than a gun game.

Even though the developer noted that this isn’t necessarily bad, like in the case of Overwatch and other hero shooters, that isn’t what the developer is making with Apex Legends. Essentially, this boils down to the fact that Respawn does not look at this game as a hero shooter. 

Instead, they look at it like a battle royale gun game that happens to have characters with powers in it as the crux of what defines the game with its unique little twist. I take this to mean that it is similar to how Call of Duty Warzone has the side missions known as contracts, but it is still a battle royale game first and foremost.

This is understandable, but I have some problems with the Apex Legends characters taking a backseat in this game. 

Apex Legends Should Be Considered a “Character Game”

I want to make it abundantly clear that I do think that Apex Legends should be considered a character game, or hero shooter, like Overwatch is. There are many reasons why this is. In this post, I will go over why I think this should be the case.

To be clear, I am not going against what Respawn Entertainment itself has said about Apex. If the developers who are developing the game and Apex is their baby say that this is not a character game like Overwatch, they tell the truth.

They are not going into every decision, season, and character that they develop with the thought process that this is a hero shooter in the slightest. This is, first and foremost, a gun game, and that is it. It is understandable, but I think it should be considered a character game.

As a member of this community and having seen my thoughts about the game and others, I think it is time for Respawn to switch things around and start looking at Apex Legends differently. The company doesn’t have to, but I think it would benefit the game tremendously and Respawn. 

After all, the Apex Legends characters define the game before anything else. If you ask someone the difference between Apex Legends and Call of Duty Warzone, that is likely the answer you will get. The same goes for PUBG, Fortnite, and any other game out there. 

The hero shooter elements are what defines this game, not necessarily just the gunplay. If you love gunplay, you have more options than just Apex Legends, as Call of Duty has that in spades as well. But if you are looking for a battle royale game with powers or a hero shooter in general, your options are severely limited these days. 

If you ask someone why they don’t like Fortnite, if the art style or demographic isn’t the answer, then the chances are that the building parts are why. You can’t be a pro, for the most part, in that game without mastering building. And you can’t be a pro at Apex Legends, for the most part, without using your powers.

Similarities Between Apex Legends and Overwatch

I think that Apex Legends should be a shooter. It has to do with the similarities between it and Overwatch. Both are first-person shooters with a colorful cast of characters. These characters all have unique abilities and powers that they can use in combat. 

As such, though there is shooting in both games, the powers make them stand apart from other first-person shooters. More importantly, the characters are what sustain both of these games. Without them, they probably wouldn’t have the audiences that they have.

Someone picks their character based on their powers and looks in both games. It is such an important factor for nearly every player and squad out there. You aren’t just going into the match for battle royale with no care in the world but to try and win as a specific character.

People will get furious and heated when they are unable to pick their favorite character in either game. More than just the powers, though, it is also about creating a team that goes well together in Overwatch and Apex Legends.

If you want to do well in the battle royale game, you will want to team up with like-minded people and strategize with you. If you want to make it far, you’ll think carefully about how each character works with others, who could fill the gaps you need, and what your attack and defense strategies will be. 

These are all crucial aspects of both games. It makes a lot of sense for Apex Legends to be considered and developed as a hero shooter, much like Overwatch.

Differences Between the Games

It would be remiss of me not to mention the stark differences between the games, though, as they could be part of the reason why Respawn is making it clear that this is not a hero shooter like Blizzard’s own extremely popular first-person shooter game.

The most obvious difference is that Apex Legends is a battle royale game. Overwatch is very clearly not. This difference does go more in-depth, though, as Apex is primarily about survival and making your lives last as long as possible, while Overwatch is more traditional in some aspects. 

Overwatch has specific maps that you go to and traverse through, having a more focused and almost MOBA-like experience but in a shooter format. In contrast, Apex Legends is more broad, open, unfocused, and freeing for players. 

Unless the player actively aims for it, nearly every single match of Apex Legends is likely to be very different from the last. You could start at one side of the map in one match and then be on the other side in the next one. 

You might find some special legendary equipment early on in one match, while the next might see you struggling even to find something purple. But for Overwatch, it is pretty consistent outside of not getting the character you wanted to pick. 

And then there are the histories behind the two developers. Whereas Respawn has a long history of shooter games in its past, Blizzard has mostly stuck to other genres like sims, strategy, MMOs, and RPGs. As such, they likely have very different mantras, ideas, and executions when it comes to making these two games. 

Why I Play Apex Legends

Even so, I imagine that the similarities are far more prevalent than the differences between Apex Legends and Overwatch. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are players who play both games for the same reasons as having characters they like with unique abilities. 

For me, that is why I play Apex Legends. If you’ve read any of my content here, you know that I adore battle royale games, but I typically only stick to Apex Legends these days. Fortnite is there for work and special events, but Apex is my personal go-to in my free time.

I do love Call of Duty Warzone and prefer its gameplay slightly more than Apex, but I would rather play Black Ops Cold War or something else at that point. So, Apex Legends is solely for the great maps and characters when I need my battle royale fix. 

Each character’s powers are unique and exciting. I love teleporting around the map as Wraith, healing my party as Lifeline, and so on while enjoying the last squad standing format it has. I imagine others feel the same. It would be unfortunate if Respawn didn’t develop it with this in mind as the most important feature. 

This Mindset Could Be Why the Apex Legends Characters Are So Unbalanced

The mindset could be why the Apex Legends characters are so unbalanced. Making the focus not on the characters and their abilities could lead to a situation in which they aren’t prioritized in the way they should be for balancing the game.

The official comments hint at that, noting that they aren’t trying to make every character balanced with the top three or so legends dominating the competitive scene. This is unfortunate and something that has led to this particular situation. 

My favorite competitive games are the ones in which you can get away with playing any character that you love and doing well with them against others, so long as you put in the time and effort to master them, unlike any other. Fighting and MOBA games, in particular, are some of the best genres that showcase this. 

The same should be said about Apex Legends, but that isn’t always the case. Sure, your skill at first-person shooters can make up some for the lack of quality abilities on a character, but it shouldn’t be so detrimental to play as someone like Crypto or Loba that your team will get mad at you for picking them. 

Developing Apex Legends as a character game could help alleviate this problem and go a long way towards making the battle royale game more viable in the esports scene than it currently is.

I Think Overwatch 2 Battle Royale Is Inevitable

Last but not least, there is something that Apex Legends should consider and plan for in the future: Overwatch battle royale. Overwatch 2 is coming someday — perhaps next year — and will more than likely have a battle royale game coming along with it. 

I have no evidence of that; I’m going based purely on my opinion. I think Activision will not want to pass up the opportunity to have a different successful battle royale mode when it worked so exceedingly well for Call of Duty. 

Plus, the idea of Overwatch 2 battle royale is pretty awesome. I would love to see that personally. However, that wouldn’t bode very well for Apex Legends since they would be direct competitors, so that not even Warzone and Apex are at this time. 

No longer would it be the only character-driven, hero shooter-like battle royale game in the space. It would have to contend with one of the series responsible for making it the phenomenon it is today. This is problematic for EA and Respawn on multiple levels. 

In the meantime, before an Overwatch battle royale game or mode announcement, Respawn should hunker down and make Apex Legends the balanced, dedicated character game that I think it can be rather than just a gun game with characters thrown in there. 


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