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Apex Legends Review

Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale experience from Respawn Entertainment. It's been a year since its surprise launch, so it's time to see what's changed since then.

Verdict

Apex Legends remains one of the finest examples of battle royale in the medium and has only propelled itself to lofty new heights since crashing onto the scene back in 2019. Its future continues to look tremendously bright, with Respawn Entertainment listening intently to fans and building upon an already stellar foundation.

Pros

  • Brutal and satisfying gunplay
  • Exploration and resource management is hugely satisfying
  • Movement is some of the genre's finest
  • Battle Pass offers so much worthwhile content

Cons

  • Aesthetic isn't hugely memorable

Key Specifications

  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Battle Royale FPS
  • Developer: Respawn
  • Publisher: EA

After springing onto the battle royale scene with an unexpected launch last year, Apex Legends has cemented itself as one of the genre’s brightest sparks. Respawn Entertainment’s take on the epic deathmatch is nothing short of hypnotic, largely thanks to the ambitious universe and tight, responsive gunplay of Titanfall doing the heavy lifting. 

When compared to the likes of Fortnite and PUBG, the first 12 months of Apex Legends’ lifespan has been awash with new heroes, content updates and unorthodox changes to the formula that have kept its audience guessing while constantly drawing in new players. Each season has been a welcome surprise, whether you’re addicted to a new map variant or diving into the mechanics of a fledgeling legend. 

Despite lacking a striking visual identity, Apex Legends is an essential battle royale contender, almost mystifying me with the fact such a high-quality experience is free-to-play in the first place. Combine that with an affordable battle pass, and you’ve got a package that’s difficult to beat right now. 

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Apex Legends

The premise of Apex Legends is simple – you and two allied legends drop onto an expansive map with one goal in mind: be the last squad standing once the deadly circle confines you to an inescapable combat arena. To accomplish this, you must work together, gather equipment and outsmart the competition by any means necessary. 

You could be a silent menace and hop between buildings without a sound, or pounce on any living creature you see. Sometimes this aggressive approach pays off, but playing it safe and working together as a cohesive unit is a far more palatable recipe for success. It all depends on your playstyle, and whether you’re teaming up with a dedicated group of friends or random strangers. Apex Legends is malleable thanks to a wide selection of firearms and items which fit an endless array of strategies; all of which feel fantastic when executed. 

Trios is now accompanied by Duos, a mode which was previously confined to seasonal events. Now, you and a significant other can dive into a battleground of gleeful murder to your heart’s content. The permanent addition of Duos is one of many signs where Respawn Entertainment has listened to fans in making Apex Legends the best battle royale it can be. 

While it’s still frustrating to spend several minutes gearing up only to be wiped out in a matter of seconds, this frustration is remedied by the raucous firefights and pitch-perfect planning that comes with wiping out an entire squad. Looking to my partner and deciding to take a leap of faith that results in our victory is a feeling that can’t be beaten, and it happens more often than you’d expect.

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Apex Legejnds

Since its initial launch, a number of new faces have joined the Apex Legends roster. They’re a motley crew of mysterious assassins and bubbly scientists with a worthwhile selection of abilities between them. Having grown up in the arena, Wattson is a young woman capable of blocking enemies out with electrical fences or installing a generator that restores all shields in the vicinity. She’s an excellent defensive player, and a genuine lifesaver if used properly. 

Octane, a viral superstar in the world of Apex Legends, is more focused on speed and mobility. He can inject himself with a syringe that automatically sends him into a relentless sprint, perfect for escaping the fray or jumping into a firefight at the drop of a hat. His ultimate ability is a jump pad which can launch him and his allies straight into the sky. At first glance, it seems a bit useless, but find the right moment, and it’s invaluable. 

You’ve also got Crypto – a surveillance expert capable of sending out a drone to spy on enemies and, if you’ve got the ability charged up, drain their shields before diving in for the finishing blow. The most recent addition is Revenant, a laughably edgy robotic assassin who can disable enemy abilities from a distance or place a ghastly totem that allows you to immediately respawn upon death. The latter skill has a few limitations to avoid being completely overpowered. 

Each new character is brilliantly designed, each boasting a distinct visual aesthetic that helps them stand out both in the menus and on the battlefield. While the core objective of Apex Legends is always the same, differing heroes provide you with different avenues to reach it. This is all without factoring gunplay and maps, two other factors which have evolved massively in the past 12 months. 

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Apex Legends

King’s Canyon was the only map available in Apex Legends when it first arrived. This has since been joined by World’s Edge – a far more varied and chaotic area of land filled with snow, lava and other landmasses of varying climates. It possesses a range of horizontal and vertical spaces both indoors and outdoors which make each confrontation an unpredictable joy. 

I personally prefer World’s Edge, with it offering far more variety in moment-to-moment action than King’s Canyon, which is more prominent when it comes to vast expanses of structureless land. At the time of writing, a rotation is in place which switches between both maps on a regular basis, meaning fans of both aren’t missing out. I imagine new maps will continue to be introduced alongside the arrival of future seasons. 

Apex Legends adopts the seasonal approach of Fortnite, Call of Duty and countless other modern multiplayer titles. Players have the option of purchasing a premium battle pass that spans a hundred levels, with each tier earning them a selection of skins, charms, loading screens and other cosmetics relevant to the season’s thematic intention. We’re currently in the final weeks of Season 4, which saw the introduction of Revenant and his purposely macabre personality. 

The progression system is excellent, and I’ve found the small investment required for a premium battle pass is more than worth it if you’re playing on a daily, or even weekly, basis. You’ll earn the majority of rewards naturally as you play, regardless of whether you’re keeping a keen eye on regular challenges. I’m a sucker for completing every task before me, so played as specific heroes to earn levels faster and more efficiently. But as I said, this is fully optional. 

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Apex Legends

One of my only major qualms with Apex Legends is inconsistent cosmetics. Some of them are absolutely gorgeous, especially those in seasonal events, but others are garish, hardly worthy of the “epic” and “legendary” monikers they sometimes possess. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by Overwatch, and the obscenely high bar Blizzard has set when it comes to character skins. I think this criticism is related to Apex Legend’s lack of a striking visual identity, which lands on the wrong side of generic at times. 

Verdict

Apex Legends remains one of the finest examples of battle royale in the medium and has only propelled itself to lofty new heights since crashing onto the scene back in 2019. Its future continues to look tremendously bright, with Respawn Entertainment listening intently to fans and building upon an already stellar foundation. 

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