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Apex Legends: The Next Evolution of Battle Royale?

The year: 2019. The month: February. Fortnite is still top of the Battle Royale (BR) food chain with no one in sight looking to kick them off the top spot. With others like Realm Royale and PUBG in the dust, Epic Games’ release seems to be unstoppable. Then out of nowhere, much like Epic Games and Fortnite itself, Respawn entertainment (of Titanfall fame) release their take on the battle royale genre, Apex Legends. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Another one!?” and to that I reply with, hold your horses, in the words of Megara from Disney’s Hercules, “this one’s different.” So sit back, grab a drink, and let me convince you to check this BR game out!

Similarities

So let’s start with the similarities between Apex and the other BR games out there. First off, they’re both free. Let’s get that out of the way. They both take zero dollars/pounds/yen/[Insert currency here] out of your wallet; that’s always a plus in my books! No spending £10 on a decent looking game to find out it’s complete rubbish. I will say however, that whilst it is free, much like Fortnite you can use real money to purchase cosmetic items such as hero and weapon skins. Aside from that however, you don’t need to spend a dime on the game!

Next, the method of entering the ‘arena’. Instead of a cargo plane or a Battle Bus, we have a drop ship. Nothing to dissimilar from the others but it’s always nice when developers change little aspects to make it unique to their style.

If I’m honest, they are the only similarities I can find between the two games. Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are! There’s a reason people are saying it could ‘kill’ Fortnite and that’s because it does so much different to separate itself.

Differences

So let’s start with the player count. Where Fortnite has 100 players max per game, Apex lowers that to 60 players. This is down to the fact that all the players are split into 3 man squads, making the squad count at a maximum of 20. This makes for interesting plays and teamwork. In my experience, three players seem to be the most effective way of playing these Battle Royale games. I’ve had games where my squad has successfully taken out an enemy squad with one of us taking them head on and the other two flanking from behind and attacking from there. This squad system makes for fun gameplay and intense head to heads with enemy squads.

Next, we’ve got the drop system. As with any Battle Royale game, you start by moving above the map and planning a drop zone. Apex takes that idea and gives it to the responsibility of one player, typically the last player to choose their hero. Whilst the other two squad members can suggest drop locations, it’s ultimately down to the ‘Jumpmaster’, the name given to the person with this ability, to decide where the squad lands. If, however, you or another member decide you want to land somewhere different, then you have the ability to split off from the jumpmaster and land somewhere else.

This feature on its own already has me wanting to play Apex over other BR games simply because it’s all much more efficient and less time consuming to begin the game!

As mentioned above, players can choose a hero to play as. A total of eight heroes are available at this moment in time: six to choose from straight away and two you can purchase with credits earned by playing the game and in a very Overwatch fashion,

each of the eight heroes have three unique abilities. Usually, the first ability is passive, meaning there is no button needed to trigger it and it is active throughout the whole match. The second, activated by the L1/LB button, is typically an ability that can be used to help the squad. For example, Gibraltar, the tank-like hero and one of my personal favourites, has an L1 ability that deploys a shield nearby that covers a small area that your team can use to heal, revive or repair shields. The third and final ability is an ultimate. Again, like Overwatch, this builds up over time during the match and, when it becomes available, you can tap both the bumper buttons to activate. Wraith, an assault type hero, has an ultimate that allows her to place a portal, sprint to another location and place a second portal, creating a link between the two. This can be used for excellent flanking opportunities or a great way to escape the ever closing ring!

If I list every single difference we could be here a while so I’ll finish with the one everyone is talking about: the ping system. No, I don’t mean determining if your connected to a network. Apex Legends incorporates a neat little mechanic into the mix called the ping system. What this does is – well, it has multiple uses. The three main uses for it are communicating to your teammates where you want to move to next, pinpointing items, weapons and armour to your teammates who may not have them and probably the most useful of the functions and the one that will save you from many surprise attacks is the ability to ping an enemies location if spotted. On many occasions, this little mechanic has saved my life and the lives of my teammates so I thank Respawn on behalf of everyone for that little feature.

Overall, I can say without a doubt that I will absolutely be playing Apex Legends more than Fortnite in the coming months. Even though the game has no cross play yet, Respawn have said that it is coming. I get more enjoyment and good times out of Apex. Do I belive it could ‘kill’ Fortnite? Truth is I don’t care; I’ll play both of them whenever I feel like it. Why does one have to kill the other? Why can’t we just play them both?

Apex Legends is available to download now for PC, Xbox One and PS4 for free!