February 14, 2019
Respawn (owned by EA) is the developer of Apex Legends, and they have created something truly special.
Apex Legends came out of nowhere and took over the battle royale scene. After the game was released, it only took eight hours for it to reach one million players, and the player base continues to grow. So here is an important question: Why are so many people excited about Apex Legends?
Apex Legends has many unique traits that separate it from the two biggest battle royale games on the market — Fortnite and PUBG. Obviously, both those titles have made a ton of money and have massive player bases, so they’re doing something right. Apex Legends definitely borrows some ideas from Fortnite and PUBG (much like those two borrowed from each other), but overall, it offers a refreshing take on the battle royale format.
This blog will feature my Apex Legends impressions. After many hours of playing this game (and watching it on Twitch), I have to say I’m thoroughly impressed with Respawn’s product. The game’s scenery is beautiful, the weapons are satisfying to use, and each playable legend (character) is fun in their own way. But — maybe I’m being nitpicky — there are some changes I would like to see.
Anyway, let’s get into my Apex Legends impressions.
Apex Legends launched with one map known as “King’s Canyon.” This battle royale map has many endearing features. It has a lot of real estate that you can explore, but there’s a lot of open terrain, too. Also, the map is not overbearing in size, and when you launch from the drop ship, you can reach almost any part of the map.
It reminds me a lot of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout map, which is not overly complicated and is accessible as well.
The map is made up of deserts, waterfalls, rivers, grass fields, wetlands, and industrial terrain. But my favorite part about King’s Canyon is the ziplines spread around the map. Players can ride the ziplines to high ground or use them to glide up in the air as if they’re coming off the drop ship again.
Sometimes, it feels like you’re running through an area straight out of Halo’s iconic Blood Gulch map — the combination of canyon rocks and dark green grass on King’s Canyon is truly aesthetically pleasing. The parts with waterfalls are beautifully animated as well. And since there is no fall damage, feel free to go waterfall jumping!
Another feature on this map that I enjoyed was the alerts you received when entering specific locations. For example, when you venture into a new area, such as the Airbase or Market, the game will load a screen showing the name of that location and the rarity of the loot in that area. I found this very convenient.
Each location with buildings didn’t take too long to explore because there simply weren’t many buildings. Respawn made a design choice to make each area with explorable structures as small as possible to prevent camping and allow players to find loot faster. This was an issue in PUBG with their gigantic city locations, and I’m glad Respawn took the “less is more” approach here.
The design of King’s Canyon encourages aggressive play, and it leads to fun, fast-paced games.
The eight playable legends, each with their own special abilities, is another unique feature that separates Apex Legends from the other battle royale games. If you’re a fan of League of Legends or Overwatch, then you will definitely appreciate this aspect of the game.
Each legend has their own passive ability, tactical ability, and ultimate ability. For example, the super soldier hero known as “Bangalore” will run twice as fast when an enemy is trying to shoot her (that’s her passive ability). Her tactical ability allows her to toss a smoke grenade, and her ultimate ability deploys an artillery strike on a nearby area.
All the legends have distinctive execution moves that can be used on downed enemies as well, so be sure to utilize these devastating finishers to taunt your opponents!
I also liked that each character can effectively help the team with just their abilities. So if you’re struggling to kill the bad guys every game, learn how to play “Lifeline.” This character has a little robot that heals her teammates, and she can call in a care package that provides useful loot. There’s also “Bloodline” — a hero that provides the team with useful intel by scanning the surrounding area for enemies.
There are only eight legends out right now (more will definitely be added), but it still feels like there is plenty of variety to choose from with this roster.
Respawn’s balance team did an amazing job because none of the characters feel overpowered (no “please nerf!” complaints here). Usually, a character’s ultimate ability essentially functions as an “I win” button in other games, but in Apex Legends, players must be really wise with the timing and placement of their abilities.
For example, the legend “Gibraltar” has an ultimate ability called “Defensive Bombardment,” which is a mortar strike that does a lot of damage. But if you’re not smart with the placement of this ability, your opponent can simply sprint away from the blast radius and make you look silly. Then you will have to wait quite a while for it to recharge as well.
Overall, the characters are great, and they add a whole new layer of strategy to the game.
You can’t have a good battle royale game without quality weapons. Fortunately, players will find a lot of great guns in Apex Legends. There are pistols, shotguns, snipers, submachine guns, assault rifles, and light machine guns.
Each gun (not class) also uses a specific ammo, and Apex Legends uses colors to make it easy to figure out what kind of ammo is needed for a weapon.
So, for example, if you pick up an R-99 SMG, the gun’s name will appear in an orange label on the bottom right corner of your screen. That makes it easy to understand you need light ammo for this weapon.
After several hours experimenting with the weapons, I can confidently say no gun feels completely useless. Even the pistols, which are usually throw-away sidearms in the other battle royale games, feel strong. For instance, the Wingman revolver is quite accurate, and it can obliterate an enemy in just two shots.
Assault rifles, such as the Hemlock Burst AR and VK-47 Flatline, are great for mid-range combat, and the rate of fire can be adjusted on each rifle (single or burst/auto). Then come the powerful shotguns — stand close to anybody with a Peacemaker, and you’re dead.
Of course, you will need attachments to maximize the power of your guns. Popular gun attachments such as scopes, stocks, and extended mags are available as loot. The rarity of these attachments, armor, and other items are determined by color as well:
Similar to PUBG, players can pick up helmets and armor for additional protection from enemy fire. But the difference in Apex Legends is that helmets can’t be destroyed, and armor can be easily repaired with the shield cell/battery item.
Also, Apex Legends has an innovative item known as the knockdown shield, which gives downed players additional armor. This makes it a lot harder for an enemy to eliminate your crawling friend from the game — plus it affords you more time to revive your teammate and look like a hero.
There are a variety of grenades available to players as well, including frag grenades, thermite grenades (which let out a ring of fire), and arc stars (sticky grenades that daze enemies). Yet at the moment, damage-wise, they’re all underwhelming, and I expect all the grenades to be buffed.
Gameplay-wise, these are the main reasons why I think so many players love Apex Legends already.
The large character health bars combined with armor means it takes quite a bit of bullets to down your opponent. But I believe a lot of players like the long TTK because they can actually outplay or escape enemies that attacked first.
Three-man teams work perfectly for Apex Legends. The unique character abilities are more valuable this way, since there can’t be numerous characters with the same role on one team. Also, one surviving player trying to outplay an enemy team of four is nearly impossible (a situation often seen in Fortnite, PUBG, or Blackout squad games). But one player trying to kill or escape an enemy team of three, while still hard, is actually feasible.
I suspect solos, duos, and squads will be added eventually, but Respawn stated the game was designed around three-man teams, so we’ll see.
Some may disagree with this, but I love that there are no vehicles on King’s Canyon. Each game’s winner is determined by weapon or ability skill and not some silly player running over their opponent in a jeep during the final circle.
Also, players can easily escape the wrath of the circle due to the fast sprinting speed of each character. Plus, the map isn’t overly large, so transportation isn’t needed.
Respawn provided so many neat customization options in Apex Legends. Players can customize their loading screen banner frame and banner pose, and they can even display combat stats in their banner.
There are many character outfits and weapon camos available as well. I must say my favorite legend, Wraith, looks quite intimidating in her legendary “Vengeance Seeker” outfit.
Yep, that’s right. Apex Legends has a respawn mechanic. This is very different from most battle royale games where if you die, you’re eliminated. Players with a slain teammate can go to their downed partner’s box, pick up their calling card, bring it to a “Respawn Beacon” location, and in just a few seconds, their squad member will be air-dropped back onto the map.
It’s refreshing not having to wipe a game and return to the menu just because one of your teammates died. And I expect future battle royale games to implement a respawn mechanic due to the success of Apex Legends.
There are a few changes I would like to see in Apex Legends. One, the Peacemaker shotgun is a bit too strong. As I mentioned earlier, the Peacemaker shotgun can instantly wipe out a close-range enemy. Yes, shotguns are meant to significantly damage targets nearby, but this one is a bit too accurate up close, and it should see a nerf in the future.
Finally, the ammo is a bit too scarce, and I often found myself unable to reload my guns. I don’t mind having to unload my entire clip into an enemy to get the kill, but it would be nice to have the bullets available to do it.
Thank you for reading my Apex Legends impressions blog. Feel free to comment and let me know how your Apex Legends experience is going.
Also, if you haven’t played it yet, download Apex Legends right now! You’ll thank me later.
Tags: Apex Legends