Apex Legends is the latest major contender for the Battle Royale throne. The game has a high pedigree: it comes from Respawn, the company that developed the Titanfall series of games. It seems like Apex Legends will be much more successful than the Titanfall games put together, but that still leaves us with an important question.
Is this game worth your time?
Similarities and Differences with Fortnite
If you’re familiar with Fortnite, you might assume that Apex Legends is very similar. Fortnite was a divisive game when it came out. For many people, Fortnite represented the future of online shooters, and the game quickly dethroned PUBG as the best Battle Royale game on the block. And while other players didn’t necessarily get the hype, the sheer success of Fortnite meant that we were destined to get many similar games in the coming years.
The truth is that while there are many similarities between Fortnite and Apex Legends, there are also many differences.
For example, both games involve landing on an island and struggling to be the final survivor by the end of the round. But while Fortnite allows people to play on their own, Apex Legends forces players into teams.
Fortnite famously added a dose of Minecraft and required players to forage for supplies through destroyable environments in order to build new structures. Apex Legends does not let you build anything on the fly (which may be good news for old school shooter fans overwhelmed by Fortnite’s constant multitasking).
Obviously, each game has a cast of colorful characters whose appearance you can customize. But while Fortnite’s characters generally play the same, Apex lets you play as “Legends” that all have unique skills and abilities. Each one plays differently and each character has an ultimate ability — a concept that should be very familiar to fans of Overwatch.
Communication Is Key
Like I said, Apex Legends puts you in a team no matter what. And the key to doing well is for your team to communicate.
Historically, games requiring this kind of communication are hit or miss. There is always the risk of people having mic issues or having no mic at all. And the more dangerous risk: having a 12-year-old screeching directly into your ear!
Apex Legends works around this issue by adding a “pinging” system. With the press of a button, players can alert their team to weapons, available upgrades, possible landing points, and so on. The system works surprisingly well, and even a team with no microphones at all can work as a cohesive unit thanks to the system.
Death Is But a Doorway
For traditional shooter fans, the most frustrating thing about Fortnite was the permadeath aspect. Once you’re dead, you’re dead: no respawning is possible.
Apex Legends changes this in an intuitive and clever way. If one of your teammates can recover your banner after you die, they can take it to a respawn beacon and bring you back to life. This gives fallen players an incentive to stick around longer and adds a fun “capture the flag” element to a game that otherwise has few objectives.
How popular is this option? Just ask the Fortnite developers, as they are releasing updates that allow for similar methods of respawning players!
A Touch of “Class”
Battle Royale games have a reputation for being difficult to beginners. One of the workarounds for this in Apex Legends is that it utilizes class-based combat that is similar to games such as Overwatch or its older inspiration Team Fortress 2.
Each character has different strengths and abilities, such as the robot Pathfinder and his ability to quickly grappling hook into areas to scout out goodies. Just like with Overwatch, players can find a legend or two that fits their play style, making it easier to get into the game.
And having eight different legends to start out with means that players can spend a lot of time learning to play with each one. That adds some welcome replay value to a game and a genre that can sometimes feel a bit repetitive.
Back to the original question: Is the game worth it? In a word, yes!
In almost every category, Apex Legends takes what Fortnite does and tweaks and improves it. Classes are more intuitive, combat is more engaging, and level designs feel more detailed.
Now, Fortnite still has the edge when it comes to the rewards of its Battle Pass and its integration of special events that excite players (we’re looking at you, DJ Marshmello). But Apex Legends has not just gotten the fundamentals of Battle Royale right — it’s improved the formula in a way that forces everyone else to catch up.
Ultimately, Apex Legends is going down in online multiplayer history. And this free-to-play game lets you become part of that history without paying a dime.