Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:48

REVIEW: Apex Legends (Xbox One)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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Titanfall was the first game I got with my original Xbox One all the way back in 2013, and I instantly fell in love with Respawn Entertainment’s unique, multiplayer shooter. It was so fun and well put together all it needed was a campaign to flesh out their worlds and lore. As if answering my prayers, along came Titanfall 2, campaign and all and it was beautiful and captivating.

With Respawn always evolving it was logical for them to axe their plans of a third in the franchise and chase that nugget of a success; a battle royale title.

So along crept ‘Apex Legends’ their newest ongoing project. Set 30 years after Titanfall 2, gone are the pilots and the massive mechs they used to control and now 8 heroes of The Outlands known as legends, must battle it out in a survival of the fittest to be the ultimate champion of the lands. These heroes must use their unique talents whether it be offensive, defensive, a reconnaissance or a supportive role to lead their squadron to the victory.

This first person, battle royale has all the typical gameplay elements associated with these sorts of games, however it is as if Respawn had a checklist of what really sucked about the other competitors and ticked them off the list as they went about fixing and upgrading features. Everything about this game is holistically built to be cooperative and streamlined. Lowering the playing field down to 60 players instead of 100, having squads of only 3 with no solos and no double ups of legends in a team, it really pushes that faster, more collaborative gameplay and it is hell of a better experience than any other I have played.

apex screenshot squad.jpg.adapt.crop16x9.818p

The first difference you will notice straight out of the gate is the launches from the dropships at the beginning of a match. Instead of screeching down the mic at your friends to jump to a certain location not sure if they did or not, a jump leader binds the squad together as you deploy to your marked dropped spot. Not liking the location, or being swarmed? Respawn have even thought about that, allowing you to separate from the group mid-flight, or even swapping the jump leader, if you choose. A feature I appreciate as I hated deciding where to drop and often freak out when spiralling to my death as I watch a team loot already below me.

Dropping with no gear or equipment, you must typically loot the area for the bare minimum to start your fight to a victory. The looting is much quicker than similar titles, with attachments being automatically added to the appropriate guns, ammo and gear being colour coordinated to guns and their level of effectiveness and being able to ping items for the group making it easier to steer team mates to gear up.

Speaking of pinging, once you are on your way, you can tag locations, drop crates and even the enemies from quite a distance. This is included with automatic call outs from the game. This is a feature I’m sure every battle royale player would welcome, especially if you are playing with randoms as it helps communication in what at times can turn into a hot mess in any other game.

apex screenshot world overview.jpg.adapt.crop16x9.818p

At the moment gunplay and damage feels very fair and balanced for a brand new shooter that had not one beta testing session and while I do miss wall running I can understand them taking it out to keep that balance as movement is already so fluid.

When your player is eventually downed then eliminated, Apex Legends has the interesting added feature that you can collect their tags and revive them at a respawn point. With strategy and planning this means you can re-enter the game, with no weapons as a fresh start, but still return to the battle none the less. This is refreshing, as it really drives in that cooperativeness and competitiveness even more and by not having to watch mournfully as a spectator the whole time watching them clutch the win. Now, this feature can be a game changer, is just that exhilarating and fresh.

Combat is an overwatch-eque mixture of weapons, tacticals and powers. The weapons are a mixture of iconic Titanfall weapons and tacticals such as ‘The Hemlock’ and the arc stars but the use of individualised powers is a completely new concept to this franchise, and it fits in so well and feels so right. Each character has a passive, special and ultimate power, exclusive to their style of play. For example, my personal favourite the support ‘Lifeline’ has a passive of a shield for reviving team mates, a special drone that heals players out in the field and an ultimate that drops supplies mid game. I love these powers because despite each player being very well balanced, controlling them really feels like you can sway the tide of the battle at any time in your favour, if you have a squad that knows what they are doing...

apex screenshot world skulltown.jpg.adapt.crop16x9.818p

Visually, the game is gorgeous, iconic rainbow lens flares and all, and while the characters are cartoony and quite endearing compared to any other Titanfall character in the previous games, the map is a picturesque compilation of memorable Titanfall maps in a huge world of mountains, gullies and swamps, with glistening waters, detailed structures and pristine landscapes.

Now, like most modern shooters, the game does unfortunately come with loot crates and while microtransactions are here to stay when a game is already free it seems like a pretty reasonable pay off. In saying that, the items are purely aesthetical items, and since the game gives you free crates at times and crafting metals to build said items, you can achieve most of these eventually anyway. I have a feeling that the only thing you may have to purchase in the future are any new legends added to the roster, which is less than most lucrative shooters who pinch every cent from your pockets.

Upon reflection, I will openly say this is now my favourite battle royale since the genre became the next ‘in’ thing, and while I can’t currently think of one thing I find a flaw at the moment, I hope that they don’t fall into the gimmicky trash such as eventual exclusive weapons, introduction of cringey vehicles and challenges. To me; simple is more.

Overall, if you are a fan of battle royale games or even the Titanfall franchise this is a must play. Even if you aren’t a fan you’d be crazy to not give this a try as firstly it is free and secondly it is a damn fine refined shooter.



Pros:-

• Diverse and endearing characters
• Beautiful open world
• Better looting than competitors
• Better launching than competitors
• Balanced gun fights
• Respawn opportunities for downed players
• A range of fighting styles and classes
• In game call outs when tagging items and locations
• Fluid movements
• Colour coordinated items

Cons:-

• Potential to get gimmicky and cash fuelled microtransactions

 

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: FPS, Multiplayer