Apex Legends is a Worthy Rival to Fortnite

Jared Schmitt, Staff Writer

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“Apex Legends” released on Feb. 4 as a direct competitor to Epic Games’ “Fortnite” and has quickly amassed a sizeable player base of 25 million unique players in its first week. Similar to “Fortnite,” it is a free-to-play battle royale, but “Apex Legends” uses established characters with certain abilities instead of every player having no special abilities and being only cosmetically different. While the concept is nothing new, the characters are distinct enough from one another to make it feel refreshing. In addition, the map is cool, with many doors being destructible with various attacks and the map has cargo ships that move gear throughout the map. While a small cast limits the game’s full potential, the gameplay and map more than make up for it.

Currently, “Apex Legends” has a very small cast of just eight characters, and only six of them are initially available to players upon installing the game. While the concept of having distinct abilities for certain characters is well incorporated, it feels somewhat restrictive, as some characters have distinct advantages over others, leading to about half the cast left unused by characters. For instance, Pathfinder, who has a grapple hook that allows him to travel faster than other characters, and Lifeline, who has the ability to deploy a healing station for herself and her teammates, are examples of characters that players play more often. Another issue with the characters occurs when trying to unlock the ones that are not initially available. The only options are to either play a lot of “Apex Legends” or pay real money to unlock them. This feature is unlike “Fortnite,” where money is only needed for cosmetic purchases, which allows players to pay to unlock a character gives them an advantage over those trying to unlock them through playing. However, the only alternative would have been to not deploy a free-to-play model, so it is a compromise that players will have to accept.

While the small selection of characters has some issues, they all still feel very unique and distinct from one another because they all have different abilities that affect the way someone would play. This distinction allows squads to incorporate more strategy into their selection depending on how they want to play. The characters allow for players to either attack everyone as quickly as possible, while others allow for slower, more defensive pace. Some also have team-oriented special moves that allow for the whole team to benefit in major ways. There is plenty of flexibility in playstyle allowed. In addition to character selection requiring teamwork, “Apex Legends” focuses heavily on teamwork and does well with it by incorporating concepts like respawn points. These points allow for players to revive teammates even if they have been eliminated, allowing them to not just sit idly for the rest of the game. Unlike other battle royales, “Apex Legends” only has one mode, which is the three-member squad mode, and it benefits from this focus, as it has one excellent mode instead of a few average modes.

While “Apex Legends” is a newcomer to the battle royale genre, it is still an excellent game and, because it is free, should be tried by everyone. It has a very strong emphasis on teamwork that is not seen in other battle royale games, which makes it stand out. Even despite having a very small character roster that can feel unbalanced at times, all of the characters are all different and unique to play due to their abilities and allow players to have fun and experiment with how they want to play. “Apex Legends” was presented as a rival to “Fortnite,” and it is a very worthy competitor.