- A huge new game was suddenly announced and launched on Monday, and it already has more than 10 million players.
- The game is named “Apex Legends,” and it’s the latest evolution of the wildly popular Battle Royale genre.
- Even if you’ve played dozens of hours of “Fortnite,” there are a lot of new twists in “Apex Legends” that make the game feel like something entirely new.
A huge new game just launched on Monday, and it’s already got more than 10 million players. Ever heard of “Apex Legends“?
If you haven’t yet, you almost certainly will: It’s the latest evolution of the wildly popular Battle Royale game genre popularised by the likes of “Fortnite” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (or “PUBG”).
Better yet, “Apex Legends” is completely free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Even if you’ve clocked dozens of hours in “Fortnite” and/or “PUBG,” there’s a lot that’s different about “Apex Legends.” Having spent far, far too many hours playing the game this week, we’ve put together a list of everything we wish we’d known before starting:
1. What “Apex Legends” is — and what it isn’t.
If you’ve spent any time with the “Titanfall” games, you’ll feel at least some tinge of familiarity with “Apex Legends.”
There’s a simple reason for that: “Apex Legends” is made by Respawn Entertainment, the EA-owned studio that made the “Titanfall” games. In fact, “Apex Legends” is sort of a “Titanfall” game, albeit one without wall-running or giant, hulking robot suits.
What it lacks in that stuff, it keeps in excellent first-person shooting. Above all else, “Apex Legends” is a really, really great multiplayer first-person shooter.
Yes, it’s a Battle Royale game. And yes, it’s a free-to-play game, with all the baggage that phrase comes with.
But, more than any of that stuff, “Apex Legends” is a best-in-class first-person shooter.
2. “Apex Legends” is a squad-based shooter, and you should play it that way.
It’s tempting to wander off on your own in “Apex Legends.” Don’t do that. It’s a great way to die alone.
That may sound dramatic, but – unless you’re a ridiculously good FPS player – you’re likely to get flanked and outgunned on your own in “Apex Legends.” That’s because there is currently only one mode, and that mode is built around three-player, squad-based Battle Royale.
It’s crucial to have each other’s backs.
Squadmates can revive you, and even outright resurrect you (we’ll get to that in a moment). Most important of all, they can hold cover while you get to safety, or assist you in taking down someone before you’re taken out.
And if you’re out exploring on your own, you’re an easy target.
3. Stay close, but splinter off for better loot.
One of the many brilliant little details about “Apex Legends” is that squads are grouped together as they descend to the Battle Royale island.
When you leap out of the dropship – the “Apex Legends” equivalent of the flying bus in “Fortnite” – your squad leaps out as a trio, with the job of leader given to one of the three players. That person is your designated “jumpmaster,” and it’s their job to guide your trio to the island safely. You can opt to drop by yourself, and you can always split off from the trio as you land.
But what you should do is stick with your party until the very last moment. Just as you reach the island, you should opt to split off and go to, say, a separate building next to where your squadmates are. This ensures you’ll get fresh loot instead of having to fight over who takes what with your own teammates.
OF NOTE: If you see other teams descending to the same location as your team, maybe stick with your squadmates the whole time. If things turn into a slap fight on the ground, at least you’ll have teammates for help!
4. Spot everything, even if you’re using a microphone.
Another brilliant detail in “Apex Legends” is a function that occupies an entire button: The R1/RB button on consoles, and the F key on PC.
It’s the “spotting” function, which sounds far less exciting than it actually is.
Spotting operates like a “hey look!” button. See an enemy? “Hey look!” See some useful gear that you don’t need? “Hey look!” Maybe you just want to start heading in a new direction? “Hey look!”
In this simple way, “Apex Legends” offers seamless communication between disparate teammates. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to have to use a microphone with strangers. Spotting means you don’t have to, by offering a simple and detailed way to tell your squadmates the most important information instantly.
Even better, spotting is contextual. So if you’re looking at an enemy, your character says, “Enemy spotted!” (or whatever), if you’re looking at armour, she says something about armour, and so on.
Spotting is genuinely a game-changer for Battle Royale games, and I expect it will end up in other squad-based Battle Royale shooters.
5. Know your enemy.
When you shoot an enemy, the colour of the numbers that appear in the air to show how much damage you’re doing also correspond to the type of armour they have on.
If the numbers are purple, they have got on some pretty good armour! If it’s red, they have got on no armour – and you’re probably going to win the fight.
That’s just one of many little visual indicators that you can use to size up your opponents. Heavy-class enemies are easily spotted, and are often using their glowing shield. The game’s main healers are also easily spotted, as one’s a robot and the other has a large medical drone hanging out with her.
6. Run faster by putting away your weapon.
Why would you ever holster a weapon in a first-person shooter? Because sometimes you need to move fast for whatever reason. Say, for instance, a massive orange wall is closing in on you and your squadmates, and you just have to move as quickly as possible. That will happen!
Holstering your weapon offers a massive benefit in these scenarios – even more so if you combine it with the game’s all-important slide manoeuvre.
To holster your weapon: On the PS4, you hold down the triangle button; on the Xbox One, it’s the Y button; and on PC it’s the 3 key.
7. Stay sliding.
One of the best things about the “Titanfall” series is its feeling of movement. The franchise pioneered wall running in shooters, and combining that wall run with a smooth slide and a pixel-perfect double jump made the “Titanfall” games into something surprisingly fresh for the first-person shooter genre.
“Apex Legends” continues that tradition with the excellent sliding mechanic. The idea is simple: Any surface that’s even remotely sloping downward instantly becomes a speed boost by running into a crouch, thus sliding across the earth like some sort of frictionless wizard.
It’s a crucial mechanic when you’re running full-speed (weapon holstered, remember?!) away from the orange wall of death.
BONUS: Do yourself a favour and time a jump for the zenith of your slide.
8. Pay attention to what the loot says.
See that little message right there, when I hover over the armour? “YOU HAVE BETTER ARMOUR” it says. Pretty straightforward!
It’s another one of the many brilliant little details in “Apex Legends.”
Instead of forcing players to sort through loot, constantly checking it against what they have already got, “Apex Legends” streamlines the process. You’ve got something better? You could either move on or, even better, spot the loot for your teammates just in case. Maybe someone has no armour at all, and this is certainly better than none.
9. Use your Hero ability!
The character I play the most thus far is Lifeline, a healer. Her main ability is healing teammates with a deployable drone. Every time I use the drone, a timer starts that shows me how long until I can use the drone again.
It’s a pretty straightforward hero ability, but it’s easy to forget that you have it if you’re used to playing games like “Fortnite” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.” That’s because “Apex Legends” is the first major Battle Royale game with “Hero” characters, along the lines of “Overwatch.”
There are different classes of character – healers and tanks and soldiers and what have you – and each of those characters within each class has their own unique abilities. Using those abilities in combat is crucial to winning, so don’t forget to actually use them!
10. Use the stuff you pick up!
Just because you can collect all the loot, doesn’t mean you necessarily should. And, even more importantly, make sure to use what you’ve got.
Perhaps you’ve got some “Ultimate Accelerant” consumables? Use them as soon as you can! Or maybe you’ve got a down moment between battles and need to heal up? Use your battery rechargers to re-fill those shields! Use a syringe to heal your health!
Like the hero abilities, it’s easy to forget that you’ve picked up whatever useful item on your rummaging quest across maniac island. Have a plan! Use those items!
11. Ziplines are extremely useful — and dangerous.
Ziplines are everywhere in “Apex Legends.” Sometimes they’re horizontal, or only slightly diagonal. And sometimes they’re attached to an air balloon and they launch you into the sky.
In every instance, it’s a lot of fun to use ziplines in “Apex Legends.” But you may want to consider the end point first, lest you zipline into a hornet’s nest of heavily-armed enemies.
As fun as they are to use, they’re loud enough that anyone nearby is sure to hear you zipping along. And any time you give enemies to prepare for your arrival in “Apex Legends” is a mistake.
12. Revive your teammates, and respawn them when possible. And don’t quit games immediately when you die!
When you’re initially “killed” by an enemy in “Apex Legends,” you’re not instantly dead. Instead, your character begins a “bleeding out” process. During this process, you can slowly crawl in any direction, and you can continue to spot things. If you’re lucky, and your teammate is able to safely do as much, you can be saved from death if someone reaches you before bleeding out ends.
When that timer runs out, a new one begins: If your squadmates are able to grab your banner, they can outright respawn you at a beacon. After that timer is over, though, you’re out of the match for good.
Since so many players are used to the permanence of dying in a Battle Royale game, I’ve seen a lot of players drop out immediately after bleeding out. Don’t be one of these people! It often takes a minute to wait for enemies to clear an area before your squadmates are able to grab your banner. There’s a strong possibility they will save you if they can, and you’ll know pretty quickly what they’re going to do, because you can see their actions live on your own screen.
OF NOTE: If you’re downed, and the rest of your squad is still up, try your best to sneak away by crawling to somewhere safe. If you don’t have a headset on, you can ping your teammates to your location by spotting on the ground in front of you.
13. Hold down the jump button to climb walls.
You might see a wall and think to yourself, “No way I could make that jump.” But you’d probably be wrong!
The characters of “Apex Legends” are all, apparently, highly-skilled climbers. I like to run at a wall, leap at it, and hold down the jump button – my character almost always lumbers up whatever wall it is, and the same goes for rocky hillsides.
OF NOTE: You don’t have to go over whatever you’re climbing right off the bat. If you let go of the jump button at the right moment, your character will hold on to the top and allow you to peak over the edge. It can be very useful when, for instance, you’re climbing over an outer wall surrounding several buildings that could potentially be full of enemies.
14. Pay attention to the type of loot region you’re in.
See how it says “High Tier Loot” in purple letters right below the region (“Watchtower South”)?
That tells you a few things:
1. Yes, there is indeed “high tier” loot in the area (that means it’s good).
2. Depending on what point in the match it is, there may be some enemies with high tier loot equipped nearby.
In so many instances with “Apex Legends,” the details are critical. Paying attention to your region has always been meaningful in Battle Royale games, but, like so many other aspects of “Apex Legends,” that detail is more important than ever before.