Back in 2010, Respawn Entertainment opened its doors. After Activision largely purged “Call of Duty” developer Infinity Ward, some of the leadership and many of the development staff regrouped to start their own studio and attempt to branch out from the limits that Activision and “Call of Duty” were holding them to. They wanted to make something that was not like the bland, brown, first-person shooters largely dominating the mainstream video game market at the time.
So they developed “Titanfall,” a similarly brown multiplayer first person shooter that incorporated more elements of locomotion in its gameplay and centered around the player’s ability to call in big mech suits to help them in the battlefield. The game sold relatively well but fell short of expectations. Despite that, it received a sequel in 2016 that, while critically acclaimed, was a borderline commercial failure. Since then the studio has remained relatively quiet, with rumors of a “Titanfall 3” floating through some headlines a few weeks ago.
Then suddenly, earlier this week, Respawn took to social media to announce that they were releasing a brand new game “Apex Legends.” Though you would never know it based on the bursting personality and bright cell-shaded color pallette, “Apex” takes place in the same universe as the “Titanfall” games.
While “Titanfall” was a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter, “Apex” is tackling the new hot genre: battle royale. For those who don’t know, battle royale is a game mode in which a large amount of players all drop into a large battlefield and scramble to pick up weapons and items and be the last one to survive. As the game progresses the area of play gets smaller and smaller as a circle closes in that causes your character to take damage when you’re outside of it.The battle royale genre was popularized by the smash hit game “Fortnite: Battle Royale” last year when they launched their free addition to their game “Fortnite.”
“Apex Legends” takes this concept and adds some unique and fun gameplay spins that help it stand out in a genre that is quickly becoming crowded. The game had over 1 million unique players the day it dropped, which is a pretty amazing feat for a game that was announced the same day. What “Apex” brings to the table is a fresh, class-based system,fluid controls and great gameplay elements.
There are six main characters when you start out the game, each with their own special abilities. You and your teammates take turns picking your character to try and assemble a squad whose abilities will work well together. You drop down into the map as a squad and from that moment the action kicks off. The music that plays as the game commences is wonderfully epic and soaring as you make your descent. The different characters all have unique looks and personalities that adds some much-needed variety to the visuals and gameplay. Many other free battle royale games don’t take advantage of that and focus more on skins than actually different characters.
The game is stunning visually but there is a slight feeling of a lack of polish during some moments of play. Some technical issues with servers and menu bugs have caused problems for players and many have had games crash while Respawn works out these kinks. At the end of the day, for fans of the genre, it’s a ton of fun and for a free game it’s absolutely worth checking out.