I admit I’m very burned out on the battle royale genre. I’ve gotten tired of spending 80% of a match looting and the other 20% engaged in actual combat. And that 20% is probably too high because more often than not, my team gets wrecked by the first squad they come across. And yes I could grind and work on getting better so those numbers become more balanced, but I just don’t enjoy the gameplay loop anymore. But like everyone else last night, I tried out the new season of Apex Legends and I have some thoughts:
Let’s start with the biggest change to the season: the new map. I’m not a huge fan of how they’ve stolen a few ideas from Fortnite (fire and ice theme, loot drones, etc), but I love the addition of the train. The train is fucking awesome. Its not a winning strategy unless you’re a sweaty ass FPS gamer (ya know, the guys and gals that are so good they probably haven’t showered in like 5 days and their fingers are coated in Flamin Hot Cheeto dust), but it’s epic as hell when you’ve got two squads battling while the train is in motion. Overall, I know the new layout will take some getting used to, but I like the visuals and new areas thus far.
Next, we’ve got the new Legend: Crypto. He’s been marketed as the answer to the hyper-aggressive meta, but from the few matches I played with him, I don’t see it. I get that the drone ability is supposed to basically mark anyone around you so that bull-rushing your team is a poor decision, but the scanning range is WAY too small. Offensively, the drone has to get very close to auto-scan an area, and defensively, you can’t see enemies until they’re shitting down your throat with the Peacekeeper. I think they need to double the auto-scanning range at a minimum. The ult is OK, but I don’t understand why it has friendly fire. I’m sure he’ll be tweaked a bit in the coming weeks, but at the moment there are better options (like the massively buffed Gibraltar).
Finally, the Anvil receiver is dogshit. I understand the idea: take the assault rifles (R-301 and Flatline) and give them a sniper rifle mode with lowered fire rate and increased damage. With the new map having more open areas than the original, the theory makes sense. But the fire rate is so damn crippling that the increased damage doesn’t matter. The target has SO much time to find cover between shots. I think the Double Tap hop-up was OK; I didn’t use it enough last night to have much of an opinion.
Last night was probably the most hyped up I’ve been to play Apex in some time, and while some of the new additions fell kinda flat for me, I think Respawn is headed in the right direction. More content at the start of the season, a greatly improved battle pass, and more mid-season events on the way will encourage the fans that have stuck with the game over the last six months. They’re still nowhere near the level of changes and content that Fortnite is releasing every season (or every week), but they’ve closed the gap just a bit. But let’s go back to the article title: did they do enough to bring people back? If we’re talking about bringing people back for a week or so, then yes I think this season will do just that. But there still aren’t enough long term incentives to make anyone outside the hardcore fans stick with this game for a whole season. The battle pass is better, but unless there’s a specific skin for your main Legend that you want, there’s no reason to buy it. And there’s still no real value in achieving the “Apex Predator” rank other than bragging rights. Where Fortnite has weekly events for players to qualify for, Apex has nothing. I’d be very interested to see how that game would grow if they implemented something similar, but at this point, I don’t think Season 3 will have a long term effect on the game.