Tagged "Apex Legends"

Feb 14
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

The name ‘Apex Legends’ may not inspire much confidence, sounding like an amateur wrestling league or an overpriced protein shake, but Respawn would doubtlessly face a backlash had they connected this spin-off directly to Titanfall. While set in the same universe, it strips away numerous core elements, including the ability to wall run and the titular titans themselves.

Being franchise staples and all, it may initially seem like a bizarre decision. It just so happens there’s no place for colossal, rocket spewing, piloted mechs and the ability to sprint along vertical surfaces in Respawn’s take on Battle Royale. When given more than a few seconds thought, it makes perfect sense. It isn’t as if there’s nothing here to replace these elements, either.

Play just a few rounds of Apex Legends and Respawn’s vision becomes crystal clear. It’s more than evident that not only has Respawn spent a lot of time trying out the competition, taking notes about what works and what doesn’t, but they’ve also spent precious development time improving and refining the basics of the genre.

The result is nothing short of impeccable. At a time when most Battle Royale games feel as if they’re being shoved out the door while they’re the current hot thing, it’s refreshing to play something clearly held back until it was good ‘n ready.

Battles begin in a familiar fashion with players being jettisoned from a dropship, swiftly descending onto rugged terrain below. In this case, an island formed of distinct areas including a riverside shanty village, industrial complexes and a forest ravaged by fire. PUBG players will know how ‘make or break’ the initial drop can be, with some individuals immediately deserting the group. Apex Legends makes this issue a thing of the past by joining squads at the hip – so to speak – during descent.

Moreover, players can call out ideal or preferred locations using the ‘ping’ system. This is Apex Legends’ trump card – a pivotal feature allowing players to pinpoint loot, enemy locations, or provide directions using just a single button press. It works effortlessly, helping teams without mics communicate in the heat of the battle without resorting to messy radial menus. In a game where teamwork and communication are critical, this feature holds the package together single-handedly.

Once on the ground, the onus swiftly shifts. Players commence battle with no weapons, armour or health packs and so there’s a sense of urgency to grab vital loot before other players. There’s a wealth of stuff to look out for – weapons, armour, ammo, backpacks, weapon upgrades, and more – and thanks to equipment falling under different tiers, rated by rarity, looting continuously remains a focal point. It taps into that primal desire to constantly improve oneself, and although it’s possible to quickly become bulked down with reserve ammo, each new upgrade raises potential chances.

The brutally departed leave loot lockers behind

The brutally departed leave loot lockers behind too, allowing survivors to rearm and swipe upgrades from the fallen, purposely left defenceless while doing so. Fallen teammates also leave respawn beacons behind – another key feature. Carry these back to a respawn charger, and fallen squaddies (Apex Legends favours three-man squads currently) can be revived. Successfully bringing a squad back from the brink of death is satisfying, inducing another sense of urgency as you scurry to the nearest respawn point. Acting as an extra lifeline, it helps keep battles unpredictable.

Apex Legends also takes inspiration from Overwatch, introducing a cast of diverse characters. Eight in total, only two of which are locked behind a paywall – being a FTP release, there’s an in-game currency that can be either purchased or gained from battle. Characters fall into offence, defence and support classes and each has a distinct personality – with Pathfinder, a high spirited robot, being a personal favourite – along with unique abilities with cooldown timers. Most abilities benefit the whole team – Lifeline can heal the crew and summon supply pods, while others can call in mortar, toxic gas and airstrikes. Pathfinder can erect a zip line for all players to use, meanwhile.

Unlike Overwatch though, Apex Legends doesn’t allow for duplicate characters in a team – if somebody picks your ‘main’ then you’re forced to settle for your second, or possibly third, choice. This seems to be a purposeful design decision, making players become adept – and potentially master – a variety of characters, rather than just one. Of course, they each have a cubic tonne of unlockables, varying from weapon skins to finishing moves. The latter animations come across as tacked on, however, not really adding anything aside from a means to gloat.

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Feb 05
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Like something out of a Craig David song, Respawn’s Apex Legends was leaked on a Saturday, revealed on a Sunday, and launched on a Monday. Why the stealth launch? With EA’s own Anthem just weeks away, we guess this was deemed the best way to get the public’s attention.

Early impressions are positive. It’s a squad-based Battle Royale with a focus on teamwork, boasting plenty of smart design choices that ensure teammates communicate. Out of all the BR games available, it reminds us of PUGB the most, only with the slickness and polish of Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode and a cast of bold characters similar to Overwatch and Fortnite. It’s a shame there are no Titans and that wallr unning has been omitted, though – these two traits defined Titanfall, yet both are missing here.

God Eater 3 and Monster Energy Supercross 2 are also out this week, and reviews of both are starting to trickle through. God Eater 3 is off to a good start, with the first review score being an 8.0 from IGN Japan.

Game Revolution opted for a 3.5/5 for Monster Energy Supercross 2 meanwhile, claiming that “If you’re looking for an accurate simulation of Supercross, this is going to satisfy”. They were disappointed by the lack of modes, however.

Pixel art riot simulator Riot: Civil Unrest also heads to both retail and the digital storefronts. Sadly, despite its intriguing premise, reviews are far from favourable with more than a couple of critics confused by what it actually wants to achieve.

It isn’t the only new indie release to be called “a bit of a mess” – the first-person anime-style RPG Away: Journey To The Unexpected is also apparently both messy and a bit dull, despite the appealing visuals.

Sony’s PlayLink controlled puzzler Melbits World is gaining far stronger reviews. Etrian Odyssey Nexus on 3DS is also going down a treat, being a greatest hits package of sorts. With scores as high as 9/10, it may even end up being the highest rated 3DS release of the year.

New release showcase:

Melbits World

Reviews:
8/10 – GameSpace: “Melbits World is a charming puzzle-solver for party-time. With the power of PlayLink, you will overcome obstacles with up to three friends by using cell phones and tablets to control bridges, boxes, barriers, and beyond. While some of obstacles taking advantage of motion controls can be a bit sluggish, this approach of controls means that no one is left out of the party. Melbits World is an all-ages romp of madcap mayhem for all skill levels which places a high priority on player communication”

7/10 – PlayStation Country: “With the right friends, Melbits World is a cute and clever exercise in collaboration and coordination that offers more than just a gimmicky control system and some sweet presentation but the very young and the jaded old might not get much from it and solo players aren’t catered for at all”

6/10 – Push Square: “Melbits World is a nice attempt at creating a fun, simple puzzle game suited to PlayLink’s smartphone functionality. Its visual style is very easy on the eye, while the basic, communication-based gameplay means it’s bound to be a good family game”

Etrian Odyssey Nexus

Reviews:
9.0 – God is a Geek: “Etrian Odyssey Nexus is the perfect send off for the best DRPG franchise that honestly won’t be the same without a dual screen system”

9/10 – Nintendo World Report: “Etrian Odyssey Nexus is an elegant farewell to a series and a system. If this is the last we see of the Etrian series, this is a high note to go out on”

8/10 – Destructoid: “Atlus didn’t set out to create a new, series-defining game with this entry, but rather a recap of the everything that’s come before it. Being able to replay my favorite classes from the past is a treat, but it’s really that spirit of adventure percolating through the entire package that has me hooked”

Away: Journey To The Unexpected

Reviews:
7/0 – PSU: “Magic mushroom design, endearingly wacky NPCs and visually plush environments are mixed with simple and fun gameplay countered with patience testing level repetition adding up to a fairly unique short and sweet FPS”

4/10 – Indie Game Website: “Away: Journey To The Unexpected is a game with charming moments, but they aren’t enough to save a dull experience. The highlights are the interactions with your family, but those are at the beginning, then the end of the game. Even the end boss is incredibly easy”

2/5 – TheXboxHub: “Overall, Away: Journey to the Unexpected is a bit of a mess, and what’s even more disappointing is that the trailers of the game have made it really seem like the feel-good FPS game that the developers have aimed for”

Riot: Civil Unrest

Reviews:
3/5 – TheXboxHub: “As an experience it’s completely original; a taxing and emotional rollercoaster that questions the whole process of demonstrations from both sides of the line. As a game, and well, it all comes across as a bit of a mess while playing, and it’s really hard to control or work out what is going on at any one time, whilst controlling the police feels completely wrong, as the chaos descends into utter violence”

4/10 – PlayStation Country: “It’s quite difficult to ascertain what Riot: Civil Unrest wants to be. The dull and uncontrollable action would fit quite well as a simulator with something to say. However, the title is bogged down with gamified elements that suggest that this product was built for entertainment, with its guitar laden soundtrack and high score chasing elements. Unfortunately, it becomes a mess of both worlds that fails to be either thought provoking or an enjoyable gaming experience”

3.5/10 – Culture Vultures: “Frankly, Riot communicates nothing of importance about the conflicts it bases itself on and can barely support itself as a strategy game. I don’t predict a riot, but I do predict giving this title a miss”

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