Review: Apex Legends

Shawn Khoo tests the mettle of Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends.

Shawn Khoo
25th February 2019
Image: IGDB

Move over PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and make some space Fortnite – there’s a new battle royale game in town, and it’s already raring up for a fight with the titans of the genre. The brainchild of Respawn Entertainment (known for the Titanfall series) Apex Legends has, in its first week, already exceeded 25 million players registered for the game, and over 2 million concurrent players over the first weekend.

The gameplay of Apex Legends itself is not too far from the expected norm of battle royale games - players drop in to an area, find loot, fend for themselves, and attempt to be the last one standing.

Where it differs, however, is in the diversity of characters, or “Legends”, you can choose from before entering a game. Much like Overwatch, players choose from a unique cast of characters with different abilities, which can be used to turn the tides of a battle or even allow a strategic retreat.

Since each team consists three players, it is possible to synergise with your team to create aggressive, high-pressure compositions that cater to faster playstyles, or slower, more sustainable characters that allow teammates to play defensively.

The game is free to play, with only purely cosmetic microtransactions thus far.

Apex Legends also utilises combat and mobility systems similar to Titanfall, barring the massive mechanical constructs aptly named “Titans”. The guns available in both Titanfall games have also made their reappearance in Apex Legends, much to the delight of Titanfall fans who no doubt appreciate the reference.

Additionally, Apex Legends has a key feature in their pinging system – looking at someone, somewhere or something and identifying it with the middle mouse button starts a unique voice-line for each character, notifying teammates about it. This not only bypasses the need for actual vocal communication, but also speeds up gameplay quite significantly, as the characters speak for you instead, allowing you to focus fully on the action.

The graphics of the game itself are surprisingly decent, even on low settings, and animations for weapon swapping or reloads may seem awkward from a bystander’s point of view but are crisp and clean for first-person. The gunplay, inclusive of gunshot and damage sounds, is extremely satisfying and rewarding, and the guns themselves are quite well-balanced for a game that has only just released.

The gunplay, inclusive of gunshot and damage sounds, is extremely satisfying and rewarding.

Despite all this, Apex Legends is far from perfect. In fact, there are multiple bugs that have been reported, mainly due to the connection issues that players have encountered, resulting in disconnections and faulty hit registrations. Respawn Entertainment is a child company of Electronic Arts, infamous for its microtransactions, and this relation is enough to turn some away before they even look at the game, much less play it.

However, the fact remains that the game is free to play, with only purely cosmetic microtransactions thus far. With what Respawn Entertainment has presented in Apex Legends so far, the game has proven to be exceptionally enjoyable and certainly worth playing, especially with a couple of friends.

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