After playing PUBG, Fortnite, Realm Royale, The Culling, and many others, the genre had started to feel stale. Yes, Fortnite had introduced buildable objects and the “everything can be destroyed” mindset, and Realm Royale played around with classes, but it all felt like video gaming’s sloppy seconds: the destructibility of Fortnite felt disappointing when compared to the adrenaline-filled bunker-busting of something like Rainbow Six, Realm Royale’s class system ended up just feeling like a rehash of old WoW PvP, and The Culling and PUBG just felt like curated ARMA servers. I had completely written off the genre as a slowly-fading fad, one that had brought some excellent studios to the forefront, but stagnant and without innovation.
Then, my friends all started playing Apex Legends. I didn’t join them at first, mainly due to some great content being released for other games I played; but with some nudges and just straight-up pestering, I installed and played a few rounds. And I was quite impressed. The characters are varied and definitely interesting, the “skiing” mechanic gives everyone the ability to pick their terrain during a gunfight, the gunplay is there but not the only feature to the game, and the addition of beacons that allow for respawns adds a wonderful comeback element that other titles lack.
Now that’s not to say it’s without its flaws, though, because it has plenty of those. Many people have issues with frequent crashes, the game often just swaps to windowed mode when set to any other display mode, and the character balance could use some tweaks (Lifeline is the undisputed strongest character in the game due to her ability to spawn defensive gear), and the whole game has that EA signature released-too-soon feel to it. But it’s really shown that maybe the battle royale mode still has room to innovate and adapt.