Apex Legends is a surprise addition to the battle royale genre that rewards players for team play rather than gunning for high kill counts.
The battle royale genre has grown faster than anyone could have anticipated over the past few years. Virtually unknown to players until someone by the name of PlayerUnknown invited 100 players to airdrop onto his BattleGround, developers have tried to implement their own takes on the genre by building upon their previous experiences. PUBG was built upon the framework of ARMA, Blackout and Danger Zone each bringing that faster style of gunplay to a larger map, and we still have yet to see how DICE’s Firestorm will set their Battlefield ablaze. This last week saw a surprise that’s been secretly in development by Respawn Entertainment for the past year and a half with the whole cycle of rumor, influencer leaks, and public release of Apex Legends so fast it gave us news editors whiplash. Now that Apex Legends is free for all to play, does it stand a chance at taking down the other champions of the battle royale genre?
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Apex Legends, like so many other battle royale titles before it, fits into a simple premise: airdrop into an environment, procure your weapons on site and fight your way to be the last one standing. Being built for three-person squads rather than just flying solo, Apex Legends does some smart ideas for dropping in and hitting the ground running. One player in each squad will be designated the Jumpmaster that decides on when and where to drop in order their team to their first landing point. The remaining two members are magnetically locked onto one another but can break off to cover a wider range. Each squad has a randomly selected trail that can be easy to spot on the way down, so you can easily tell on your way down whether it’s going to be a hot drop and rush to grab the first weapon you can find before you get overwhelmed by rival squads.
Respawn’s fast-paced gunplay has been brought over from the Titanfall series as well as much of the futuristic tech, but none of the mobility and traversal options that those mech pilots were known for (and, of course, no Titans to run into on the battlefield despite being set within the Titanfall universe). Each gun feels well-tuned against one another and as long as you’re working at the optimal range for each weapon, firefights can be matched up as a battle of skill rather than just rewarding whoever got the drop on their opponent. There’s a wide range of weapons to discover on the battlefield, from various levels of shotguns and assault rifles to energy weapons that get more effective the longer you fire them. I’ve won most of my matches with the loadout of a lever-action shotgun and assault rifle but it’s not uncommon to see a player with a pistol like the Wingman run and gun their way into first place if they can make their shots count.

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