Apex Legends, the review

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Aina Martin
@ainamartin
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Apex Legends is a title you will hear a lot about in the months to come, there is no doubt about that. The surprise launch of the game on PC, PS4 e Xbox One it represents something quite unprecedented in the current videogame panorama, where inevitably the productions must be announced some time before in order to create a certain expectation on the part of users. Aware that the speech would easily focus on the presence of prize funds e microtransactions, Electronic Arts has therefore thought with Respawn Entertainment of a sudden debut, leaving the game to speak and not the inevitable controversies on the model free-to-play adopted for the occasion. The choice turned out to be nothing short of apt, if we consider that in the first seven days the title totaled 25 million players, filling up with broadcasts on Twitch and going to undermine the well-established domain of Fortnite, whose authors tried to limit the damage by investing more on the marketing front. As the sages say, however, you cannot stop the water with your hands and it is now clear how Apex Legends has become the progenitor of a new generation of battle royale.



Characters and microtransactions

Apex Legends is set in the same universe as Titanfall and therefore shares its futuristic setting, even if the events depicted take place after the end of the Frontier War, within the treacherous Foreign Lands: abandoned, plundered regions, in which life is worth little and the survivors, fighters and criminals, compete within the Apex Games to get glory, money and maybe a way to leave. There are eight characters that the title makes available immediately, two of which can be unlocked only through the payment of 12.000 legend tokens or 750 Apex coins: the former represent the virtual currency, obtainable more or less quickly depending on your in-game performance, while the latter can only be purchased with a view to traditional paid packages, with a basic exchange rate of approximately 1 euro per 100 coins.



Everything else is aesthetic personalizations, obtainable from game to game or by spending real money, in a similar way to the aforementioned Fortnite: there are no objects capable of providing an advantage during the clashes, so the experience is fortunately far from a style approach pay to win. The cast of Legends appears guessed and well characterized, with each character being made unique by a different set of skills. Gibraltar, the fearsome armored Samoan, automatically activates energy shields when using the iron sight, can generate a domed barrier to protect a confined area and send a shower of fire on opponents with his special. Lifeline it is instead the traditional support unit, a fast and elusive fighter, which can manage a drone for the restoration of vital energy and recall from above the dispatch of a module full of rare resources.

Bangalore is a skilled and precise mercenary, well balanced, capable of launching smoke bombs to generate chaos during a firefight, while Bloodhound she is a mysterious and deadly warrior, equipped with devices that track the position of enemies. The android Pathfinder is the only character with a grappling hook as a reloadable skill, whereas instead Wraith he is a sort of ninja, capable of transforming himself into a shadow to escape possible sorties, hide and return fire. The two unlockable characters are instead Caustic e The Mirage,: the first is apparently slow and heavy, but it can use poisonous bombs that also allow it to barricade itself in a structure by playing waiting, while the second can create holograms-bait very useful to bring out the opponents.



Gameplay and structure

The rules of Apex Legends are the ones that battle royale fans know well, but with some interesting variations. At present the matches are open to a maximum of sixty participants, organized solely with a view to teams of three components, although the solo and duo modes may find a place in the next updates. At the start of the match, the order of selection of the character among the three companions is drawn, then in the same way one of the players is invested with the title of "jumpmaster" and decides both when to launch from the transport ship and where to land, even if the position can be ceded and teammates can eventually decide to "disengage" to go to a part of the map different.

Once on land, you have to quickly explore the surroundings in search of weaponry, ammunition, armor, medical kits and batteries for energy shields, trying to build your own setup during the game by finding increasingly performing objects, higher grade armor, accessories that improve the stability and accuracy of the rifles, as well as backpacks that allow to increase the capacity of an inventory which is necessarily very limited. Then we move on to the action, with the narrowing of the scenario that is marked by rounds of gradually shorter duration, in order to make the situation explosive very quickly and avoid dead moments during the game. The gunplay it is the same as Titanfall, solid and consistent, with a rather varied selection of instruments that allows you to choose (with a little luck, of course) the approach we think is best.



Light machine guns or a nice shotgun? A sniper rifle for long range shots or a nimble and light pistol with which to target running opponents? Or a well-equipped assault rifle that can prove effective in mid-range encounters? The goodness of the arsenal mixes with ability passive and active characters to create a mix of depth, which when exploited to the fullest can make a difference on the battlefield. The team, however, remains a fundamental factor: if you happen to be in a team in which each component runs on their own, disinterested in others, you will hardly arrive in the final stages of the match. Otherwise, organizing with friends and also looking at balance when selecting characters can produce important results. Not necessarily with the microphone open: an intelligent system of tag assigned to the back buttons allows you to quickly signal the presence of enemies in the area, indicate a point to move towards or the availability of objects and weapons for your companions.

Although the time-to-kill of Apex Legends is relatively long, even more so when using advanced armor, finding yourself alone facing two or three opponents is an almost certain game over. Here, however, another novelty of the game comes into play: staying on the ground does not necessarily imply the end of the game, because a teammate can help us get back on our feet or, if the elimination has been completed by the enemy, collect ours " tag "within a certain time limit and bring it to a point of respawn to get us back to the battlefield. Speaking of kills, as in Titanfall, the finisher, which can give points and satisfaction to those who perform them, but also expose them dangerously to enemy fire in the middle of the animation. Instead, as pointed out several times, the acrobatic mechanics of the Pilots are missing (wallrun e double jumps), which added an unprecedented dynamism to the gameplay; just as there are no mechs, capable of changing the cards on the table by adding further tactical depth to the action. Will we ever see them in Apex Legends?

The map

In the trial of Apex Legends published immediately after the launch of the game we had expressed some doubts about the design of the Canyon of the Kings map, necessarily derivative with respect to the assets seen in the two chapters of Titanfall. Well, there is no doubt that the authors had to make such a choice, on the one hand for a matter of narrative coherence (the game is still set in the same universe), on the other for obvious needs of budget (the creation of the scenarios has a significant impact on development costs), and the result is that of a setting built by an editor, devoid of a precise personality. Beyond the purely aesthetic issues, however, over the hours we have found the solutions adopted by Respawn Entertainment to be guessed and coherent with regard to the subdivision of the zones, the open territories that separate one district from the other, the concept of containers as a source privileged of equipment but their arrangement dangerously exposed.

There is a good balance between closed and open places, and although the latter are inevitably predominant, there is no shortage of rocks or barriers behind which to shelter in case you are targeted by an enemy team, even from a long distance. The presence of zipline allows you to quickly cover some sections, both uphill and downhill, and the very ability of the characters to slide where possible is really useful to avoid spending too much time at the mercy of potential snipers. The narrowing of the map, which as mentioned occurs at increasingly shorter intervals during the game, sees the advancement of an energy barrier that consumes vital energy if you end up over the border at the wrong time, but fortunately at a moderate speed: running at full speed towards the center of the scenario, after having laid down your weapons to be faster, you can still get away with it.

PlayStation 4 Trophies

Apex Legends currently includes only twelve Trophies, which of course are unlocked by completing certain in-game actions for the first time (heal a companion, find the complete equipment of a weapon, win a game with the various characters). Obviously there are some "numerical" achievements, such as the one that rewards 5000 damage points, the five times as a Jumpmaster and the achievement of level 50.

Graphics and sound

Apex Legends uses the same graphics engine as Titanfall 2, in this case a modified version of the source Engine: this is an obvious choice from the point of view of the speech we have already made with regard to asset management, but which also this time proves to be apt, effective and functional with respect to gameplay needs. The battle map is huge and loads within seconds, which is undoubtedly an excellent result in terms of the immediacy of the experience: long loading is the last thing you would expect from a good battle royale. , and from this point of view the guys of Respawn Entertainment have not done anything wrong. It is also interesting to note how the authors were able to characterize the scenario well, trying to enhance everything with high quality shadows, ambient occlusion and an excellent drawing distance, and avoiding repetitive panoramas or overly generic solutions.

In this regard, the cast of characters designed for Apex Legends seemed very valid to us, with several interesting ideas, an excellent visual variety (which is then also reflected in practice, which is fundamental) and a set of rather accurate animations, which manage to putting together the need to represent the movements in a convincing way and to do it within a netcode that almost always appears very robust, with very few concessions to latency. The version PlayStation 4 Pro of the game, the subject of our tests, uses a dynamic resolution which often goes from 1080p to 1440p, although in some cases it can go down further: the priority is clearly the frame rate, and on this front the performances are confirmed solid, with 60 stable frames in the vast majority of cases.

Comment

Tested version PlayStation 4 Digital Delivery Origin, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price Free Resources4Gaming.com

8.5

Readers (87)

8.2

Your vote

Apex Legends is probably the best battle royale currently on the square, an immediate and enjoyable shooter but also equipped with a certain strategic depth, which is found in the characteristics and abilities of the characters (excellent) but also in a complete equipment as regards the equipment scattered throughout the map. The scenario has its ups and downs, it appears valid in the composition but inevitably already seen in the assets, providing in any case a huge, fascinating battlefield for games of sixty players always very thrusting, engaging and fun. If this is just the debut for the Respawn Entertainment title, we are really curious to see how far Apex Legends will be able to go in the coming months.

PRO

  • Different characters, well characterized
  • Solid and immediate gameplay but not trivial
  • Huge map, well organized ...
AGAINST
  • ... but with assets already seen, a little generic
  • Too bad there are no acrobatics and Titan
  • Only one mode available at the moment
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