While I can’t say I’ve been focused on the battle royale genre, I can at least appreciate the impact it has on games. I dabble in one or the other, from Call of Duty: Warzone to Hyper Scape, but none really grasp my attention for too long. Despite this, one of my favorite titles in the genre happens to be Apex Legends. I can’t say I actively follow the game, but I did play it when it launched, and I do jump in from time to time. When I was invited to get an early look at the upcoming Apex Legends: Legacy, especially after hearing some rumblings about a Titanfall connection, my interest piqued, taking the opportunity to experience the thrill of the title once again. Thankfully, it appears that the upcoming season will definitely deliver.
Like all seasons of Apex Legends, Legacy will introduce a new legend to the Apex Games. In comes Kairi Imahara, better known as Valkyrie, the daughter of Titanfall 2’s Viper. After getting a nice introduction last week, fans were excited to see what she brings to the table. Let’s just say that Valkyrie is quite the game changer. Adding a jetpack to the mix, Valkyrie can fly for a limited amount of time in the game with VTOL jets. She also has a Missile Swarm that she can launch from her jetpack, which makes a great tool for drawing out opponents. Finally, her ultimate is her Skyward Dive, allowing her (and her teammates) to launch up in the air and essentially redeploy.
Valkyrie adds a lot of gameplay potential, and also updates the strategy necessary for playing competitively. Of course, Respawn had to make it fair, so there are some drawbacks to Valkyries skill set. Her jetpack may help her for traversal, but it also exposes her quite a bit. Not only does it make noise for enemies to hear, but it also makes her pretty vulnerable. Without cover, you’re a sitting duck, and to make matters worse, you can’t shoot while flying. You can make use of Valkyrie’s Missile Swarm, but that’s about it. Despite these weaknesses, she’s a lot of fun to play, and she really does make change up the balance of the game.
While Valkyrie is the star of Apex Legends: Legacy, this season brings us perhaps the biggest update ever: Arenas. Ever evolving, Apex Legends is adding a new permanent mode with the Arena, delivering a competitive 3-on-3 mode. Taking place over the course of several rounds, Arenas give players a chance to adapt to their opponents unlike ever before. With a minimum of three rounds, the winning team must win by two rounds to claim the match. This gives potential for complete turnarounds and can even take matches to the ninth round in sudden death. While playing myself, I never quite reached sudden death, as my matches never surpassed six rounds.
The mode currently takes place on five maps: Party Crasher, Phase Runner, Thermal Station, Golden Gardens, and Artillery. Most of these arenas are based on popular parts of the existing maps, giving a sense of familiarity while also offering new strategies. Party Crasher and Phase Runner also offer brand new surroundings for players to enjoy. With a new mode, logically that means new rules too. While you’re able to revive an incapacitated teammate, there are no respawns. If you’re eliminated in a round, you can’t come back until the next one. Thankfully, the rounds have some added incentives, as doing well can earn more materials to buy weapons and upgrades. Between each round, there will be a shopping period where players can buy ideal weapons, supplies, and even skill charges. You’ll start with pocket change, but over a few rounds, you’ll have enough to upgrade weapons to their maximum potential.
The arena mode offers a nice change of pace, especially for a battle royale game. In these types of games, the risk of being eliminated early in a battle royale match is extremely high. You can jump back in and try it all over again, but now you have another option. Arenas add a great new dynamic to Apex Legends, giving you a mode that can consistently last much longer. If you’re having a losing streak with your squad with 60 players, it might be worthwhile to even the playing field. No RNG to worry about, as this mode is reliant entirely on skill, strategy, and of course, teamwork. There’s also still a ring that decreases the playing field, making these smaller maps much more intimate.
Of course, Respawn didn’t stop with Valkyrie and Arenas. Players can now experience a brand new weapon and new areas on the Olympus battle royale map. The new weapon, the “Bocek” compound bow, adds a unique armament to the game. This weapon is mostly quiet, but oh so deadly, especially with some practice. It not only works well at medium range, but it also has a close range option with the shatter cap upgrade. With this hop-up, the Bocek can effectively be like a shotgun with a spread of arrows. There’s also the Deadeye’s Tempo, which allows for faster draws when firing at a perfect tempo. Finally, the arrows you shoot can be picked up to resupply, even from a defeated enemy where it shows up in their inventory.
Getting to the map updates, Olympus has some new changes for fans to discover. The most notable change is the arrival of the Icarus dropship. This ship comes after going on a galactic voyage, bringing with it a parasitic plant that starts to take root on Psamathe. With an alteration of the map on this scale, some strategies will no longer work, requiring players to find new options. The arrival of the Icarus also gives access to treasure troves of loot. Should a player discover a scientist corpse, they can get a keycard, allowing access to the rare valuables inside. Seeing the effects from the parasitic vines, it makes one wonder what danger lies in wait.
Overall, Apex Legends: Legacy brings a lot to the table. I’ll admit, I’m not very good at the battle royale mode, only getting second place by avoiding conflict. Despite this, fans of the game will likely enjoy exploring the Icarus and the secrets it holds. Thankfully, the Arena mode provides something perfect for me, giving me a fighting chance in a new mode. Even if I get utterly destroyed in one round, there’s a chance to adjust my strategy against the same opponents. While I won’t say I ever carried my squad, there were some great rounds where we came out victorious. Having a mode like this should increase the appeal of the game, and will likely draw in new players.
We’ll be getting more information on Apex Legends: Legacy throughout the week, so keep your eyes peeled. Apex Legends: Legacy will launch on May 4th, 2021 (perhaps we’ll get some Star Wars news from EA as well?). Apex Legends is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Are you looking forward to Legacy? Let us know in the comments below!
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