Dropping Into Apex Legends


Joshua Lind

The screen displayed when you win a game of Apex Legends.

You invite your friend into a lobby, and both ready-up. A server is picked for you, and you go into the loading screen. Another player is placed with you and your friend. It’s your time to pick your charact- dangit! The random player already chose Wraith – you settle for Bangalore. After your squad agrees on a drop-point, you leave the ship and an engaging soundtrack blasts into your ears as you make the glide down into the warzone.

Welcome to Apex Legends, another free-to-play Battle Royale game to add to the ever-expanding list of this genre of games. But how does it stack up against its competitors, such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds?

Number of Apex Legends players after:

8 hours – 1m

1 week – 25m

4 weeks – 50m

Number of Fortnite BR players after:

2 weeks – 10m

6 weeks – 20m

11 weeks – 30m

16 weeks – 45m

— Daniel Ahmad, Twitter @ZhugeEX

Well, Apex had over 2.5 million players on its first day; that’s more than double what Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode had in its first month. In Apex’s first month, it has reached 50 million registered players. To put that in perspective, Fortnite currently has just over 200 million, and that game has been for just over 18 months!

What is causing Apex’s overwhelming success and, is it worth the hype?

At Apex Legend’s core, it is a battle royale game. The battle royale genre has exploded in popularity in the past few years and games have flooded the market, yet Legends adds a refreshing take on the mode. The game is team-oriented, and there is no way to queue up for a match without having teammates in your squad, and sure, you can leave them as and do your own thing as soon as the game starts, but why would you do that, and put yourself at a disadvantage in what could possibly be a one on three gunfight?

Before you even jump out of the dropship, there is a “jumpmaster” who is in charge of where and when a team drops. You can suggest locations to the jumpmaster if you can’t talk to your squad, using the amazing ping feature. When the jumpmaster chooses to drop, you drop as a collective unit, rather than trying to make sure everyone can land in the same spot on time. You can disconnect from your jumpmaster, but that typically leads to you getting wiped by another squad.

Apex Legends is the first battle royale game to utilize the revolutionary feature of the ping system. Being able to communicate where your squad should go and to indicate where enemies are should be a no-brainer, however no other battle royale game has had this addition.

Pinging a location with the press of a button easily lets your teammates know where the action is, without needing direct communication. You can also “call-out” to your teammates if you need a specific type of ammunition or a shield-core boost.

Another feature that Apex Legends has brought to light is respawning. In other battle royale games, if you die, that’s it. You don’t get a second chance. Apex Legends, however, allows you to collect a fallen teammate’s “tag” within 90 seconds of them dying. You can then transport their tag to a respawn beacon, where your squadmate will be able to fly back in. This gives you infinite chances to respawn assuming your squadmates pick up your banner and continue to bring you to respawn beacons. 

This leads to more team-focused matches instead of one person leaving the squad and playing the game of  “who can get the most kills.” You’re expected to cooperate with your team and games end up being more strategic and planned out. If you’re looking for a run-and-gun shooter, this is not for you.

In other battle royale games, your appearance, whether it be a humanoid-fish from Fortnite or a war veteran in Call of Duty’s blackout, those changes are purely cosmetic. In Apex Legends, your customization yields a more fruitful effect on the game.

You are able to choose from eight different characters. Each of those characters has different abilities that can be strategically used throughout the game, and each character has three abilities; a passive ability, a tactical ability that takes time to recharge (normally around ten seconds) and an ultimate ability that takes a relatively long time to recharge.

For example, the first character that the game forces you to play in the tutorial stag is Lifeline. Her passive ability is titled Combat Medic, which states “Lifeline revives downed teammates faster and deploys a personal shield while doing so. She also uses healing items 25 percent faster.” Her tactical ability is called D.O.C. Drone, which states “Call in a drone that automatically heals allies.” These two abilities combined give her and her team a massive advantage against someone who does not have a Lifeline on their team, allowing for the regeneration of health almost automatically, and health does not come back overtime in Apex  when you get damaged, and the faster revives, even though they are only milliseconds faster, can make all the difference who comes out on top in an intense battle against another team.

Finally, her ultimate ability is called Care Package, which states “Call in a drop pod full of defensive gear.” In Battle Royale games, throughout the course of a match, there tends to be drops of gear around the playable area (or the map) that tend to have extremely good gear for your character such as really strong armor or a really powerful weapon. With Lifeline, you are allowed to call in one of these packages on a cooldown (or a recharge as I called it earlier). This is great for a multitude of reasons, and can give you an upper hand over your enemies as you have access to this exclusive gear more frequently than they do.

There are seven more of these characters in the game, and each of them is so unique with their own playstyle and personality that you are able to see right away from even the shortest of voice lines that the characters say. The way that the character were set up by Respawn and the voice actors they picked for each character were all absolutely phenomenal choices, and really gives the game more life and entertainment than it already provided.

In this clip, I am playing as the character Mirage, and I see an enemy player nearby looking for loot, unaware of my position. I immediately run for cover and try to get the jump on my target. In doing so, I use my take a couple shots, duck into cover before he sees me again and peek out to take another couple of shots. Unfortunately, he sees me this time, and I take some damage. I then use my tactical ability, which deploys a decoy of my character to walk in a straight line and bamboozle the enemy as the Mirage likes to say. I then use my ultimate ability, which allows me to generate a ton of decoys in one spot that confuse the enemy while I go invisible. This allowed me to sneak around behind the enemy, put some shots in his back, then finish him off with a finisher (Which was sadly obstructed by the bush at the end of the clip.) This is just one example of using a character to your advantage in the game, and demonstrates how they work so perfectly as a game mechanic so perfectly.

For example, Mirage is a character that is meant to be a comical relief, with amusing voice lines that break up the intense fighting and call-outs of the other characters. His many voice lines are meant to amuse the player, such as the line where he attempts to say “Go Bamboozle!” but instead stumbles over the word “Bamboozle,” and then says, “…Fool ’em!” with an obviously defeated tone in his voice, embarrassed that he could not say the word. Another fantastic example of an amusing voice line is when you choose Mirage in the character selection screen, he will sometimes say, “The ring isn’t really complicated but it can be complex, wait.. what did I say?” The characters all fit their roles so perfectly, and Mirage is a fantastic comic relief, and almost all of his lines get me to chuckle at least a little.

However, with all the praise and great features of the game, there has to be some negative aspects. First off, either the map is too large, and the player count is too small. What is meant by that is that you could land somewhere that is not super popular for other people to land, however, it may be up to ten minutes before you ever see someone and get into a gunfight. This could be fixed very simply by just increasing the play count, which is currently 60, to around 75 maximum players. This would create a more populated map and a bit more of an intense experience, knowing that there are 72 other players as opposed to 57.

Another thing that some players and reviewers have complained about online is that the Time-To-Kill, or TTK, can take too long when the character has the higher tiers of armor. This is to be expected considering it is a higher tier of armor, but sometimes it does feel like the enemy you are trying to kill is just taking magazine after magazine of ammo, and it can be quite frustrating to see them somehow get behind you and kill you after you put 10, 20, even 30 rounds into them. This, much like the player count, can be fixed quite easily by just lowering the amount of extra health the armor provides the player just a tad to help shorten the TTK and make it more fair on the battlefield.

Other than that, there are not many gripes with the game that we have. The soundtrack is engaging and wonderfully incorporated to get you excited about playing the game. It plays as you start the game up from the main menu, and again as you drop into the warzone, getting the player excited and ready to play the game. It also has a victory tone when you win the game, giving the players who win that extra feeling of victory, knowing that you are the only one to win that specific match, and allowing your adrenaline to settle after the intense squad-on-squad battle that you just underwent to be the champions.

The characters breathe life into the game and creates a sense of individuality for the players. The many different systems and mechanics of the game make it so unique and different from other games in it’s genre, that it brought in thousands with its promises, and kept millions with what the final game delivered. The list goes on for what the game did right, and to list them all out would take far too long to fit in this review.

Overall, Josh and I are going to give this game a 9/10. It is absolutely fantastic and just feels good to play in general, from most important details such as gameplay, to the smallest details, such as sliding downhill to gain a movement speed advantage. The design team at Respawn Entertainment did an amazing just putting together everything in the game at this moment in time, and there is only more content on the way for the games millions upon millions of loyal players, and the numbers are only going up. I know I am going to be on the battlefield with Josh, and I hope to see you there.