We press H to pay respects now. My good friend JohnnyBadNews, who I’ve never met, just let me know they found a level-three scope for my Longbow DMR. The selflessness: They found it in a dead player’s inventory, noted that I was using a Longbow, and let me know it was there—all without saying a word. I pick it up and a prompt appears on my screen:
Need to know
What is it? F2P battle royale FPS set in the Titanfall universe. Expect to pay Free-to-play, optional cosmetic microtransactionsDeveloper Respawn EntertainmentPublisher EAReviewed on Intel i9-9900k, GeForce 980 Ti, 16GB RAMMultiplayer? 3-player squads, 60 players totalLink Official site
We press H to pay respects now. My good friend JohnnyBadNews, who I’ve never met, just let me know they found a level-three scope for my Longbow DMR. The selflessness: They found it in a dead player’s inventory, noted that I was using a Longbow, and let me know it was there—all without saying a word. I pick it up and a prompt appears on my screen: “Press H to thank JohnnyBadNews.” My index passes over the grenade key and hits that H with the firm yet gentle assurance of a hug. I think we all know what the H stands for.
I shouldn’t be feeling this nice. Apex Legends is a lot like most battle royale games. You drop from the sky onto an island, sweep the floor for weapons and gear, and scramble to stay inside a series of ever-shrinking circles pressing 60 people towards inevitable conflict. But Apex Legends is also the product of the genre’s failures so far, a patient and refined response that makes for the most accessible, uncompromising battle royale experience yet. Drawing of the three
Apex Legends is set in the Titanfall universe, but plays nothing like it: every gun has ballistics, the titans are gone, and so is wall-running. The guns feel as responsive and peppy as they have since Modern Warfare, and taking distance and drop into account in the same split-second formerly used just to take aim makes me feel like a mathematical savant when shots connect. I’m partial to the Wingman, a hand cannon with a slow reload and magnum stopping power that makes it feel like a cowboy’s Single Action Army.
Almost every gun has a unique personality. The lever-action Peacekeeper shotgun fires individual pellets in a star-shaped pattern, while the faster EVA-8 Auto spits out a 3×3 square. The Triple Take is another highlight, a sniper rifle that throws a horizontal spread of three shots with every trigger pull, easing the pressure of landing those long-range tracking shots.
The main thing is there’s something for everyone: semi-auto rifles, auto rifles, LMGs, and SMGs. Weapon stats are improved by finding and equipping attachments scattered all over the map, which is where I thought Apex would lose me. Inventory management is still the worst part of battle royale. I hate sorting through PUBG’s perplexing assortment of scopes and stocks, but Apex auto-equips anything better than what I already have on a compatible weapon. You can dig around and swap some attachments between weapons, or opt for a lesser scope if you prefer it, but I love that I can let Apex run on autopilot and choose what’s best for me.
Pinging’s darkest magick is its ability to make playing with strangers as worthwhile as playing with friends.
If everything sounds familiar so far, that’s because Apex doesn’t deviate much from the PUBG formula. It’s Respawn’s particular interpretations of those ideas that make Apex feel so special. Besides the diverse roster of characters with unique abilities, communication is probably the best example of this. The lack of a solos mode (although a recent leak indicated it’s on the way) at launch is intentional. Apex is a shooter that encourages kinship between squadmates, whether it’s concentrating fire on a single target, coordinating abilities, or donating the Devotion LMG you just found to a friend in need.
Enter the ‘ping’ system, an ingenious, object-sensitive tool used to draw attention to locations, items, enemies, and objects that might be of interest to your squadmates. I don’t want to go back to Fortnite or PUBG or any game unless the entire industry agrees to implement something like it in all multiplayer games forever and ever, amen. It’s that simple and invigorating.
You’ll use it most often to mark where you’re headed, but if the reticle is over an enemy, the marker will turn into a red crosshair and your character will note they’ve spotted someone. Ping an open door and they’ll remark someone’s probably been there. Ping a scope in a dead player’s inventory like JohnnyBadNews, and the reticle won’t just display the color and icon of the item, but the character will call out that specific scope.

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