On February 4th, EA and Respawn, with no prior warning, released a new Battle Royale in the Titanfall universe — Apex Legends. The element of surprise worked out, and the shooter immediately overtook Fortnite on Twitch, and in the first 72 hours it surpassed ten million players.

We looked into why Apex is better than other representatives of the genre — both as a game and as a potential esports discipline.

In almost everything, Apex Legends is reminiscent of the Battle Royale mode of the last Call of Duty. A small map, arcade shooting, nice graphics and a thoughtful interface that is suitable for both PC and consoles. The inventory system is almost one to one, except that the cartridges occupy separate slots.

Now for the differences. Blackout’s portable temporary perks have been replaced by characters’ permanent abilities. Each character has passive, active and ultimate skills. This rather changes every battle and the game as a whole: some will help with a shield or shelling in battle, while others will climb the cliff or find the enemy faster. However, there are no imbalances, and it pleases us.

Unlike most other Battle Royale games, there are no vehicles in Apex. The size of the map is chosen so that everyone can get to the safe zone easily too — the location is designed for 60 people, and not for the usual 80-100 players. The characters move quickly, especially with the help of some ultimate abilities, and you can even cut with the slide’s double acceleration. And who needs useless Blackout helicopters when there are ziplines, both horizontal and vertical.

The new BR game is ideal for those who are bored of PUBG but do not want to go to Fortnite yet. Apex Legends is something between these two giants of the genre. There is no need to search for loot and opponents for a long time, but it is not necessary to compete in the speed of construction either. At the same time just shooting well here, unlike in Blackout, is not enough.

If the Battle Royale in CoD is nevertheless closer to PUBG, where reaction, accuracy and a little luck decides everything, then Apex Legends is clearly trying to offer more: like Fortnite, but within reasonable limits. The abilities of the characters give a wide choice of actions and act as an alternative to all sorts of additions by Epic Games, and the construction system is easily replaced by multi-level locations with thoughtful landscapes and the ability to climb almost any wall. All in all, not only does it speed up the gameplay, but also allows you to quickly change the course of any battle.

Apex Legends has great optimization. Even on somewhat outdated systems, the game will work and give an honest 30 FPS. At the same time, the graphics at low settings will not severely damage your experience, and serious delays will appear only in lively combat operations. A dated station with Intel i5-2500 and NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti does an excellent job with average graphics without a drawdown below 60 FPS. 

In my first five hours of play, I only had connection problems twice, and one of them was connected with the Origin side (and not with Apex Legends servers), and the second simply did not allow the match to start and decided to go out to the lobby.

No desynchronization of opponents’ movements, no missed shots or teammates with a huge ping. At the same time, there were some glitches along the way — on the game forums, there are enough complaints about crashes. So far this can be forgiven: the developers certainly did not expect such an influx of users, and there is still time for operational patches — not even a week has passed since the release.

In Apex Legends it is very easy to negotiate with unfamiliar teammates. At the moment, this Battle Royale can only be played by teams of three people. If you start the match alone — Apex will surely find you mates, and you will have to communicate with them.

Respawn has made sure that the game is not interfered by the language barrier or the absence of a microphone: you can transfer any necessary information using the wheel of instructions. All teams are tied to marks on the map from the first person. To offer a further way to the location, highlight the position of the enemy, or even talk about excess body armor, just click on the mouse wheel. In the same way, you can indicate where the opponents have just been or what position is worth watching — any proposal of teammates can be accepted or rejected by the same pressure on the wheel.

Of course, it’s impossible to quickly discuss the exact landing place before disembarking, therefore in Apex Legends the whole team falls from the plane with a single jump. The direction is chosen by a randomly determined jumpmaster. And although teammates can disconnect at any time and go to the place they liked, it seems that the developers see Apex Legends as a team game … or a discipline.

Apex Legends can be the best esports battle royale game. Neither EA nor Respawn have yet talked about the competitive component of the game — companies did not even announce it, fearing to create a negative attitude to the project before the release. It is possible that in a month matchmaking will appear in Apex, and in another month — a full-fledged competitive system.

Unlike other representatives of the genre, in Apex Legends everything initially works on team interaction. It is convenient to communicate in the game, you can experiment with meta when choosing characters and resurrect allies. If during the battle the player does not have time to save, teammates will be able to collect his flag to one of the stations and bring their partner back to life. These little things already give a minimal basis for a more spectacular esports experience.

In addition, Apex Legends may be more attractive to the viewer. Matches usually last up to twenty minutes, and the dynamic gameplay does not get bored in the early stages. If in PUBG there is really nothing to look at until the third or fourth zone, then in Apex Legends, where the map is much smaller, the battles can begin after only a few minutes. The only problem is the observation of individual players — there are still a lot of them on the map, but Apex has fewer participants in the units, and this can be useful for broadcasting.

Respawn and EA unexpectedly released a really good game. The battle royale boom has already exhausted everyone, but the release of Apex Legends was a great success — Titanfall fans didn’t even complain too much that the studio did not release the third part of the series.

The developers managed to make a comfortable and unusual BR with cool mechanics. In the store with paid currency, you can purchase both additional chests with skins, as well as certain skins that were in the temporary rotation. Prices are almost two times higher than in Fortnite. All the rest is given only for Legends Point and Crafting Metals — the first is credited for success in the game, and the second is compensated for repetitive skins.

Apex Legends has gathered a huge audience for the release and has every chance to overshadow even Fortnite, at least for a while.

If Respawn Entertainment takes up the game and keeps it up to date with updates no worse than Epic Games, the new battle royale will break all records. Otherwise, Apex Legends will soon be forgotten, as happened with Blackout.

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