Imagine my surprise when I found out that EA was publishing a F2P BR set in the Titanfall universe and then exponential-ize that surprise when I actually had fun in a modern EA game, that too in a battle royale one (Yeah, not a fan of the genre). Having spent around 4 hours in Apex Legends, I can comfortably say that this is one Battle Royale game that I will have no qualms putting the time in. Being a shooter fan out and out, I couldn’t ever get into the more mil sim-like mechanics of PUBG or the building mechanics of fortnite or the MOBA elements of Realm Royale. With Call of Duty having a premium entry price of just INR 4000~/$60, it was hard for me to justify shelling out that much cash for playing a game in a genre that I didn’t like (Plus it is Call of Duty). Apex, however, may have created a soft spot for both- BR games and to a lesser extent, for EA in my head. PS-I am still waiting for EA to see its success and implement their scummy monetization strategies, but hey, let’s enjoy while it lasts.
Apex Legends is not drastically different from every other battle royale out there; it’s the same land, loot, fight, repeat formula (Duhhh, the genre), but the changes it makes to that formula gives it an edge over its contemporaries which when combined with the extreme amount of polish on the core mechanics, make for an extremely fun game. It was the little things like, just being able to say “Thanks” by tapping the ‘H’ key if someone dropped something for you, that made me feel giddy inside, where in most other BRs an ally would circle around or crouch in very suggestive ways for appreciating the player’s generosity. Other mechanics like the balloon (As they are calling it), the jumpmaster, ziplining (I think it is there in ROE), contextual text prompts etc give it that much-needed edge. The inclusion of items like the phoenix kit, knockdown shield etc are welcome additions and no, I haven’t played Fortnite enough to see if similar items exist in that game.
That is not to say that the two major changes/additions- respawning and pinging aren’t on my “Top things about the game I like” list. The big changes along with the many smaller ones just add to the fun factor. Gone are the days when I’d die in a BR game and watch along as the rest of my teammates were mowed down by pros in the server. Now, I have a reason to stay invested in the game until each member of the squad is dead. If any one of them is alive, they can be all sneaky peaky like, pick up our banners and run to the nearest revival beacon.
Pinging is an extremely important tool which lessens the necessity of someone biting my ear off about the presence of an enemy or the location of some kind of equipment. It also helps that the tool can be used to highlight various kinds of equipment on the map for a teammate. Moving from cover to cover using pinging by a good strategist without hearing cancerous mics is just a pleasure.
Being set in the Titanfall universe, I was under the impression that it’ll feature all those acrobatic movements, but thankfully Respawn has let go of mechanics such as wall run and jetpack jumping and has limited the grapple hook to only one of the characters. This gives the game a true blue boots-on-the-ground feel which has been in vogue since Call of Duty oversaturated the market with their offerings of jetpack joyriders. I do feel, however, that the inclusion of double jump for all the characters would be nice, though they might have to rework the map a lot for that at this point. The movement feels weighty and sliding down the hills is simply a blast, consistently being complimented by the lack of fall damage.
Oh, and the jumping height is just great. In the first few rounds, I went in with the mindset that PUBG had established of only being able to cross tall walls by finding a way around them. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to traverse most obstacles easily due to the generous climbing allowance which also made getting away from enemy sights that much more faster.
Respawn, being Respawn have gotten the guns extremely right. The weight and the shooting feel cathartic enough to keep you coming back for more even after every defeat. The lack of bullet drop (Edit-So there is actually bullet drop accordin to people, I’ll have to try it out), the small size of the map, great gun design etc really just sealed the deal for me.
While the game does have MOBA elements, it is taking the word “elements” in quite the literal sense. If you are good with the gun, you can get away in most skirmishes, at least that’s what happened with me, but that could also be the reason as to why my squad came second and third in the few games. Yes, you can get away with good gun skill, but the use of the special abilities can turn the tide of any battle within a few moments (As is the case with most MOBAs).
There is only one small gripe I have with the game, that being a long time every character (Except Lifeline)takes to heal. It felt like healing myself almost took the same amount of time that it took to revive a dead player. While the time taken to revive a player is quite right, healing needs a bit of a rework.
All in all, I would say, Apex Legends made Battle Royale fun for me. I still don’t get the addiction to it, but I do feel that it is something I can always come to when I have extremely limited time and want to just play something where I don’t die to bullets coming from unknown directions; or I could just hop into Rocket League.