Apex Legends is a free-to-play first-person shooter battle royale game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 4, 2019, without any prior announcement or marketing. A Nintendo Switch version is planned for release in late 2020, along with cross-platform play between all supported platforms.

In Apex Legends, up to 20 three-person squads land on an island and search for weapons and supplies before attempting to defeat all other players in combat. The available play area on the island shrinks over time, forcing players to keep moving or else find themselves outside the play area which can be fatal. The final team alive wins the round. The game is set in the same science fiction universe as Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall and Titanfall 2.

Work on the game began sometime around late 2016 and early 2017, though the project remained a secret right up until its launch. The game’s release in 2019 came as a surprise, as until that point it had been assumed that Respawn Entertainment was working on a third installment to the Titanfall franchise, the studio’s previous major title.

Apex Legends received positive reviews from critics, who praised its gameplay, progression system, and fusion of elements from various genres. Some considered it a worthy competitor to Fortnite Battle Royale, a similar game that had gained massive popularity in the previous year. Apex Legends surpassed over 25 million players by the end of its first week, and 50 million within its first month. According to EA, as of July 2019, the game had approximately 8 to 10 million players a week and by October 2019 it had approximately 70 million players worldwide.

Apex Legends Gameplay

Apex Legends is an online multiplayer battle royale game featuring squads of three players using pre-made characters (called “Legends”), similar to those of hero shooters. Alternate modes have been introduced allowing for single and for two-player squads since the game’s release.

Each match generally features twenty teams of three-player squads. Players can join friends in a squad or can be matched randomly with other players. Before the match, each player on the squad selects one of the 13 playable characters (as of Season 5), with the exception that no character may be selected more than once by a squad. Each character in the squad has a unique design, personality, and abilities that provide different playstyles to the team. All teams are then placed on an aircraft that passes over the game map.

One player in each squad is the jumpmaster, selecting when the squad should skydive out of the aircraft and where to land with the concurrence of the other squad members. However, players are free to deviate from the squad’s path.

Once on the ground, the squad can scavenge for weapons, armor, and other equipment that is scattered around buildings, or in crates randomly distributed around the map, while keeping an eye out for other squads. Apex Legends includes a nonverbal communication “ping system” which allows players to use their game controller to communicate to their squad certain directions, weapon locations, enemies, and suggested strategies. While the game offers movement options similar to other shooters, it includes some of the gameplay features of previous Titanfall games, such as the ability to climb over short walls, slide down inclined surfaces, and use zip-lines to traverse an area quickly.

Players who become knocked down in the course of a game can be revived by their squadmates. Should a player be killed completely, they can still be resurrected if their team member(s) collect their respawn banner, which appears at the place where they died, and bring it to one of several beacons on the island. The banner, however, must be collected within a time limit, before expiring and fully eliminating the player.

Over time, the game’s safe zone will reduce in size around a randomly-selected point on the map; players outside the safe zone take damage and may die if they do not reach the safe zone in time. This also confines squads to smaller spaces to force encounters. The last squad with any members left alive is crowned the “Apex Champions” of that match. Players are awarded in-game currency based on their squad’s placement as well as experience points.

Apex Legends is a free-to-play game, monetized through microtransactions and loot boxes, which allow the player to spend both real money and in-game currency on cosmetic items, such as outfits for the Legends and new colors for weapons.

Apex Legends Reception

Upon release, Apex Legends received generally favorable reviews according to the review aggregator Metacritic. Some publications, including Destructoid, Game Informer, GamesRadar+, and PC Gamer, called it one of the best takes on the battle royale genre thus far, and a worthy challenger to Fortnite Battle Royale‘s dominance of the genre.

Critics lauded the combat in Apex Legends. Destructoid referred to the gunplay as the best they had experienced in a battle royale thus far; however, they felt let down that some of the mechanics from the previous Titanfall games were not present. Javy Gwaltney of Game Informer, on the other hand, claimed that the omission of the Titans and other elements from previous Respawn games was not a problem and found the combat to be satisfying and the gunplay powerful. He added that the addition of heroes can make for more exciting combat than in other battle royale games.

Reviewers praised the non-verbal communication system in the game (known as the “ping system”) with most considering it to be highly innovative. Polygon‘s Khee Hoon Chan opined that it “rendered voice chat with strangers largely unnecessary”, and was emblematic of Apex Legends‘ accessibility and astuteness. Destructoid likewise enjoyed the mechanic, predicting that it would become the new norm for the video games industry in battle royale games. Rock Paper Shotgun called it the “gold standard for non-verbal communication in games” and noted that, while not an entirely new concept, Respawn Entertainment had refined the idea.

Apex Legends received critical praise for the perceived diversity of its playable characters, which include a gay man and a non-binary character, though some reviewers felt that the nature of the game did not allow for a narrative which properly highlights this diversity.[

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic PC: 88/100
PS4: 89/100
XONE: 88/100
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 8.5/10
Game Informer 9.25/10
GameSpot 9/10
GamesRadar+ PC/PS4: 5/5 stars
IGN 9/10
Jeuxvideo.com 17/20
PC Gamer (US) 93/100
The Guardian 4/5 stars
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