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Apex Legends: Respawn's Stealthy Battle Royale Release

The creators of Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment, released a free-to-play battle royale on Monday with little to no promoting prior to the release. There were substantial rumors surrounding the game based on information deduced from industry influencers but the release was ultimately a surprise, with no pre-release announcement or hype from the developer. Apex Legends is free to play on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. It's an FPS battle royale that exists in the world of Titanfall and aims to shake up the battle royale scene-- and after a few hours of playing, it's pretty solid fun.

Apex Legends takes the smooth, fast gunplay mechanics of Titanfall, mixes it with a hero-shooter class framework, and thrusts those things into a battle royale. First off, the game feels good. It's a subjective and abstract element, but to me, Apex feels really solid. There's enough of Titanfall for it to feel familiar and clean but they tweaked it to make it fit into this new genre and make it's own thing. The guns handle the same and the gunfights have the same feel but the skills and abilities are a little more pronounced than in previous Titanfall games due to the hero-shooter dynamic. There's no conventional wall-running but you can run a few steps up a wall to reach higher locations which still allows for verticality. There are no titans (which seems like the obvious call to me). I've seen many people complain about the lack of titans saying that they're the only pull of the Titanfall franchise-- those people are wrong and totally missing out on huge aspects of the games. But of course there aren't titans in Apex Legends, it's its own thing and the balancing for battle royale titans would be a massive mess.

Apex Legends also adds some great new features to battle royale as a genre that benefit the experience greatly. Interesting things like having a 'jumpmaster' that leads a squad-centered deployment at the beginning of the game, auto-equipping attachments and loot, and quite certainly the most significant-- a ping-based communication system. A simple button press can call out loot to your squad, enemy locations, potential routes to take, and more with pretty impressive specificity. This simple, non-verbal line of communication is one of the best ways Apex has shaken things up as it takes a whole host of potentially annoying things rooted in the genre and offers players a way to sidestep that tedium. Traversal options are diverse with ziplines, portals, and big red ballons from which you can launch yourself. The environments will feel very familiar to those with Titanfall experience and it's an aesthetic that I'm quite fond of though it'll take me a while to get used to not being able to wall-run across the futuristic AA guns or tight building groupings.

All in all, Apex Legends is fun to play, brings a lot of beneficial features to the battle royale table, and reignites the world of Titanfall even if in a different light than we're used to.

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