Apex Legends: The Review (PC)
I dislike the battle royale genre. I loved Titanfall 2. So when these two worlds collided, I was overcome with cautious but bubbling enthusiasm. After many hours of playing Apex Legends, both solo and in a squad of friends, I'm excited to report that my cautious but bubbling enthusiasm has not subsided.
Apex Legends succeeds in many ways. The characters and their abilities, the radial communication dial and the guns are all massively rewarding to play as and with.
Each character (aka "legend") has different abilities that are interesting, useful, and can change the pace of the game in a single moment. From Wraith's portal ability, which your team can use to quickly escape or tactically enter a battle, to Lifeline's supply drop, which grants top gear in the form of a drop pod, every character feels useful in unique ways. Even better, no one character's abilities feel overpowered, and no one character's abilities feel under-powered; the abilities simply enhance and change the way you play the game with your squad. It’s a fun way to encourage players to try different character loadouts and develop a synergy that works for that group.
Another successful feature in Apex Legends is the ping system. When pressing the middle mouse button, a radial dial appears, giving you many options of what to alert your team to. At times you don't even need to use the radial menu, you can simply click on an item, a location, a door, a drop pod, etc., and the best option will be automatically chosen and voiced to your allies by your character. This seems on the surface to be a light addition to the game, but it changes the battle royale genre in massive ways. I can now, without using voice chat, express exactly what I want. Think about that for a moment: I can clearly, efficiently, and effectively communicate with two other people in a video game without once uttering a single word. It's a huge deal and makes playing with strangers nearly as synchronous as playing with your friends.
The guns in Apex feel great. Though some are under-powered ("Mozambique here"), firing off rounds into your opponents has depth to it, and the in-game feedback of shots landing works. It takes time to learn which guns you enjoy using and which you dislike, but above all it's personal preference and you should explore all of your armory options before settling with your go-to kit.
The last item I'll mention is that the team at Respawn deserves heaps of credit for a smooth and nearly bugless launch. Servers were down for minuscule amounts of time and I only experienced in-game lag once. Every other developer should be looking to Apex to see what a smooth, healthy multiplayer game launch looks like. It begs the question: if Respawn can do it, why can't everyone else? (Lest we be reminded of the most recent Anthem beta....)
And a note: the diversity of the characters in Apex is badass and important as it gives players from those backgrounds a message of inclusion and welcomeness in an industry and society that has historically been the exact opposite. If you don't care about the backgrounds of the characters you play in online shooters, that's totally okay, but support your friends around you to whom it is important. It'll speak volumes to them (myself included) in ways that perhaps you don't or may never understand (and that's okay).
Though I will always have a problem with a multiplayer genre where RNG is a huge factor in one's success, Apex Legends is a must play. Download it, play it with friends, and enjoy the immense amounts of fun you'll have as you jump your way to victory.