Respawn Entertainment took the gaming world by storm with the launch of its new battle royale title, Apex Legends. We have seen the battle royale genre take over the gaming industry with games like H1Z1, PUBG, and Fortnite. With such great titles existing already in the genre, what makes Apex Legends so different?
One of the biggest aspects of Apex Legends are the legends you take into the battle. All the legends’ abilities and ultimates promote coordinated teamwork along with unique answers and engagement opportunities to combat without feeling over-powered or game breaking. Respawn Entertainment also managed to make the support role not only feel important but also fun and sought after. In games like Blizzard’s Overwatch, the support role is extremely important but can feel tedious and boring. Apex Legends takes that role and keeps its importance while still allowing the player to feel like they can contribute to the team in much more ways than just healing.
Another aspect Apex Legends does extremely well is making engagements rewarding. In all BR titles before it, fighting early game felt discouraged due to the resources lost as a result of the encounter. Your team would engage another and lose two to three players leaving your team down in numbers and in resources such as armor, or in Fortnite’s case, materials. Now, the remainder of your team has to watch you play out a 20-minute game because they were thirsted early. Apex Legends rewards teams for being the last standing in an engagement with the ability to have your teammates respawn at beacons across the map by collecting the card from their bodies. These beacons are easy to find and abundant. Also, armor is easily repaired with a shield cell or shield battery that have a high stack count and armor never breaks so that you can maintain your purple or gold armor even after significant engagements.
Respawn Entertainment took on the clunkiness of Battle Royale inventory and equipment management and simplified it. Have a decked weak weapon you want to swap out for another one? No problem. Simply pick up the new weapon and all of your attachments automatically are transferred to it. Healing equipment and tactical equipment are also separated by two different commands and hot bars for quick cycling in combat.
Communication is also done extremely well in Apex Legends which is a necessity given the matchmaking system. In Apex Legends, there is no solo queue. You are always paired up with two other players. This can seem off-putting due to teammates not having a form of communication, but, thankfully, Respawn thought of that. With a very unique pinging system, it is extremely easy to communicate with your teammates without saying a word. A single tap of the ping button shows a location that the player would like to advance to and teammates can respond by the clicking the ping button to agree. If an enemy is seen, double tap the ping button to indicate an enemy’s position to your team without ever saying a word.
Finally, but also most importantly, Apex Legends was released as a full and complete game. We have seen the terrible disaster that early access games are in recent years and, unfortunately, it has become the norm. Respawn Entertainment managed to hide this game from the world until the day before launch. They were working behind the scenes for years listening to the goods and bads of the genre and took the opportunity to make a wonderful and COMPLETE game. After just 24 hours, Apex Legends had 2.5 million unique players and 600,000 concurrent players. Significantly more than PUBG and Fortnite in their first 24 hours. This proves that gamers are fed up with the early access model and were yearning to see a game released in its complete form. Free-to-play has also become a good new model for gaming and Apex Legends does it well. All items in the game that can be purchased with real money are strictly cosmetic. There is no pay-to-win, only pay-to-fashion.
Respawn Entertainment proved with the launch of Apex Legends that a genre that seemed defined and overused could be made refreshing and innovative. With the magnitude of its highly successful launch and concurrent player base, Apex Legends is a BR title that is here to stay. So, the real question that remains is; Where are we landing?