Monday, April 08, 2019

Apex Legends - Thoughts

Image result for apex legends
Apex Legends is another entry into the Battle Royale genre that has become popular the last couple years due to Player Unknown's Battlegrounds (AKA PUBG) and Fortnite. As I'm a fan of this type of game and Apex is getting lots of rave reviews, I thought I'd give it a try.

PUBG and Fortnite both have 100 players parachuting from an overheard passing aircraft onto a map. The players start with no equipment and have to scavenge from supplies on the ground, or from the crates left behind by other defeated players. You can either drop solo, in duos, or in squads of four in both games. PUBG has four maps with distinct flavours (2 large, 2 smaller), Fortnite has one large map with biomes and is constantly changing the map every couple months to keep it fresh. Both games have character skins that you can earn or buy, but no one can buy in game advantages (AFAIK). The biggest difference between the two is that in Fortnite you also gather building supplies and can build structures and traps and the end of many Fortnite matches is fought in towering brick and wood constructions.

In order to keep the game moving both games have a constricting playzone where if you find yourself outside of it as it shrinks you take damage and will eventually die. This forces combat as players get closer and closer together.

So where does Apex differentiate itself? Well, Apex has one map right now and its smaller like one of PUBG's two smaller 4x4 km maps. But the map is amazing, with lots of different zones and architecture and interesting geology. Tons of verticality and zip lines to aid in some interesting movement. Its a very pretty map and lots to see and explore.

Players still drop from a passing aircraft but there is only 60 players in a match and you have to be in squads of 3; no solo and no duos.

Once in a squad before the match starts, players take turns picking characters, or as the game calls them, "legends". There are 9 distinct characters with unique voice lines, looks, and special abilities similar to Overwatch. Each character has a tactical ability that they can use often, and an ultimate ability they can only use once or twice a match that charges up over time. For example, one character's tactical ability is to deploy a healing drone and an ultimate ability to call a care package, while another can tactially zoom through the void (i.e. teleport) and for an ultimate, create a portal for other players to use. Squads can't take the same character more than once.

Like the other Battle Royale games players start with nothing and have to scavenge on the ground. They will find grenades, assault rifles, SMGs, sniper rifles, shotguns, armour, helmets, medkits, shields, attachments, scopes, sights, ammo, etc. Very similar to PUBG in this regard, although the shields are reminiscent of Fortnite. The weapons are very scifi, including a number of energy based weapons in the different categories.

So how does it all stack up?


- As I said, the map is utterly gorgeous even on low graphics settings and interesting and lots of varied terrain of different heights you can take advantage of.

- The different characters with differing abilities is a neat twist and does not feel overpowering when they use those abilities. Shooting is still the main way to win.

- The variety of weapons is excellent, and I like the new energy based weapons to mix it up.

- The game is well made, I did not notice any bugs or glitches while I was playing.

- The smaller map made the games faster and turnaround quicker. You never spend 10-15 minutes running across a desert and never see anyone, the next fight is only a minute or two away.


- The gorgeous map required me to run it at lowest graphic settings to increase framerate and even then I feel like I'm not as smooth as I would like. My computer is not top of the line, admittedly, but I don't have this issue with the other two games.

- Another problem with the map is that its so full of terrain that it is often hard to fight at a distance. Enemies can divert around the terrain, and almost all kills are in close range firefights.

- Characters move slightly faster than in PUBG and Fortnite and this causes two cons for me, the first one being the ring of death is never a concern because on the small map and fast movement you are always within easy running distance of next circle, and lots of terrain to cover your advance.

- The second issue with fast character movement is that combined with the long Time to Kill after players have armour and shields (especially later in game) is that even getting the drop on a player or shooting at them long range doesn't help as they can scoot into cover, lose themselves in the terrain, heal up, and come back for revenge.

(To be clear, I'm 45 years old and my hand to eye coordination was never great even when I was young, so this may not feel like a problem to other better players.)

- To make matters worse, matches are made up of new players like me and very experienced players with hundreds or more kills. Not just sometimes, all the time. Almost every time I died it shows the banner of the killing player and they had obviously far more experience at the game than me. This is a huge turnoff. I think Fortnite does this as well? I know in PUBG mobile that I play you are put into matches with players of similar season ranking if at all possible, climbing the ladder to more difficult opponents as you do well.

- The shorter matches does a lot to negate any build up of tension or anticipation. In PUBG and Fortnite once you kill the other players landing at the location you picked (if any), there is a build up of tension as you get your equipment and make the plan to get into the circle, picking your destination and planning your advance. Apex is right from action on landing to action to action to either dying or winning. That could be a plus for many people, but not for me.


At the end of the weekend, I went back to PUBG mobile using the emulator. There is a lot to like about Apex Legends, but after investing hours into it I did not feel like I was getting better after the initial learning curve and was constantly getting ganked by faster and better players. I want more time for the match to progress, I want more time to explore, and I want the satisfaction of properly planning my position to pay off in a kill, and not watch as my target gets hit and then disappears behind the building right over there.

Its a good game, but not for me.

1 comment:

  1. hii
    good artical